55 Eglinton Ave E
Toronto, ON M4P1G8
Whenever I think about going to an izakaya, there really is only one place that consistently pops up in my head: Guu Izakaya. And so when someone suggested Fin Izakaya (@FinIzakaya) in the Mount Pleasant area of Eglington as an alternative, I was delighted when I finally went with Carmen (@carmenhungry), Justine (@foodigatorJ), and Vickie (@kiki_BFF).
Despite both being izakayas, the environment at Fin Izakaya is quite different from Guu . It's a lot more spacious and absent of communal tables. It's also a bit less rowdy than at Guu where all the servers are cheering and hollering every other second.
I thought it was pretty cute how they included and explanation :)
So the four of us famished girls sat down, and basically ordered anything that jumped out at us without even thinking twice. This ended up being a lot of food, but we ate it all anyway. Who says tiny asian girls can't eat?
Takowasa ($3.50) - Fresh raw octopus marinated with chopped wasabi roots
Blowtorch Saba ($8)-Vinegar-pickled mackerel
This dish was just as delightful to watch being made as it was delicious. I'm normally not a big fan of saba (aka mackerel), but this Blowtorch Saba was actually pretty tasty. I think the quick flame over really took away the strong sour flavours which is usually why I avoid this fish.
Takoyaki Octopus Balls ($5.75)-Crispy deep fried octopus balls with bonito flakes
I love when anything comes with bonito flakes on top because the heat underneath it makes them flicker, almost as if they are waiving "hello" at me. After I said my hellos, I dug in and tasted one the Taokoyaki balls. The squid inside is almost non-existent, but the rest of it is spot on how I like my takoyaki: cripsy, hot, and not overly salty.
Tuna Tataki ($7) -Seared tuna served with galirc ponzu vinaigrette
Fin's Ebi Chilli Mayo ($7.50) - Tempura wild prawns, tossed in a Fin's spicy mayonnaise sauce
For me, anything deep fried, or anything with shrimp is a done deal. And usually the combination of the two equates to tempura shrimps. You'd think those would be the holy grail but I'm actually not a big fan of them. They are often over battered and under-flavoured. Enter Fin's Ebi Chilli Mayo. Five peices of lightly battered prawns with a tangy spicy mayonnaise sauce. I wanted to eat the whole plate if I didn't run the risk of the other girls ripping my head off to repudiate. But seeing how much they enjoyed it as well, not likely.
Mentai Carbonara Udon ($8.95) -Sauteed udon noodle with pollock roe and pink creamy sauce amd seaweed
I was a little underwhelmed with this Mentai Cabonara Udon because it tasted a little bit like Kraft Dinner. A little too synthetically flavoured for my liking, but I can see that some people who would enjoy the thick and creamy cheese characteristics.
Beef Tongue Miso Zuke ($8) - Juicy sizzling beef tongue, marinated in miso sauce
If you're a big fan of beef tongue, I wouldn't recommend ordering this. Maybe because of the way that it was cooked, but the beef tongue was mushy and over powered with sauce. As a result, it Tasted tmore like sliced beef than beef tongue.
Beef Tataki ($11.95) - Seared angus beef steak ponzu sauce with garlic chips
Pork Belly Kushi (Sea salt (left) and Teriyaki (right)) ($3 / skewer) - Fin's famous grilled meat on bamboo skewers
Pork belly really is all the craze now a day. I can't even begin to count how many places I've been recently that have it on the menu. Most of the time it comes as a chunk of layered tender pork, melty fat, and crispy skin, but the Pork Belly Kushi was more of a marbled strip. This allowed for a very firm and crisp texture, almost like biting into soft cartilage. I loved the nice clean taste of the sea salt, but the teriyaki also gave a nice smokey flavour. A highly recommended order!
Crispy Rock Salt Wings ($3.50 for 5)-Cripsy fried chicken wings seasoned with rock salt or shichimi spicy salt
When the menu said that this Crispy Rock Salt Wings came with 5 peices, I was expecting 5 wings. Instead, they came as these slender half wing peices which only had one bone in them. I guess it makes them easier to eat. Decent as fried chicken, but nothing overly special.
Salmon Sashimi Namareba ($6) -Salmon Sashimi with salted sesame dipping oil
Pressed Colourful Sushi ($10) - Pressed sushi with diced sashimi and assorted fresh vegetables
By far this was the most interesting order of the night. When it first came, we were all so confused, because the server literally brought out a box on a plate. It was only when he lifted the wooden box that we saw a block of pressed rice and fish on the inside. Even comes with a wooden paddle for you to chop up the block to the size of your liking. Was kind of like cutting cake. Pretty neat way to eat sushi!