Ai Sushi

Every year over the holidays, The Hubby and I stay with my in-laws in Markham for a few days while his siblings visit from out of town. During that time, we are always well fed with great home-cooked meals and visits to some of their favourite restaurants. This past holiday season, I heard about Ai Sushi, a new Japanese restaurant that opened just a few blocks from my in laws that was receiving great reviews. I mentioned the restaurant a few times during conversations and my mother-in-law was very much on board with picking up sushi platters for one of our lunches.

Atmosphere: Ai Sushi was located in a strip mall on the north east corner of 16th Ave. and Markham Rd. The restaurant was small with half of the space inside devoted to a sushi counter and the other half set up with 5 tables, each seating 4. Decor was modern with pot lights and bar stools. One wall was decorated with adorable chalk drawings of sushi and a lucky cat enjoying some nigiri. There were also a handful of lucky cat statues watching over the sushi counter. When we stopped by, there were only a few customers eating in but a queue of platters to be picked up.

Service: Based only on the pick-up experience, service was pretty straight forward. We called to place our order around 11:30am, asking to pick-up 30 minutes later. When we arrived, our order was prepped and packed on time and we checked out smoothly. The trays were packed securely with plenty of utensils, soy sauce and wasabi. I liked that the wasabi and soy sauce were in separate small containers, not on the tray themselves and not soy sauce packets. I would have like more pickled ginger, and will be asking for extra next time.

Food: To feed 5 people, we ordered two platters, 50 pieces of assorted sashimi ($48) and 60 pieces of assorted rolls ($38). There are also platters of assorted sashimi, sushi and rolls together in various sizes. I loved the sashimi platter for both the variety of fish included and quality. Making up the 50 pieces included 5 pieces of scallop and sweet shrimp, my two favourite types of sashimi. This was the first time I’ve seen both included in an assorted platter by default and so generously. There was also octopus, herring roe, tuna, yellowtail, surf clam and salmon. All of the fish was fresh and sweet. The octopus was tender and the salmon fatty. I was also happy with the size of each piece of sashimi, generous but still one (big) bite.

Moving onto the platter of assorted rolls, while good, couldn’t compare to the sashimi. I think the platter was necessary to make sure everyone was full, but in hindsight I would have ordered more sashimi. All of the rolls also used great quality fish and had an excellent rice to filling ratio. Included were rainbow rolls, a salmon avocado roll, a cucumber roll, california topped with tobiko, a shrimp roll topped with mayo, another topped with spicy mayo and one topped with tempura bits. For the price, it was a great deal and a decent variety. My favourite was the one topped with tempura bits and the unagi and cucumber one. I did feel like the cucumber roll was bit of a filler, but even then, the platter was a good value.

Overall, I really enjoyed our meal from Ai Sushi and am looking forward to trying out their chirashi bowls in the near future. I have high hopes for them maintaining their current level of quality and value. Note that when I visited, only cash was accepted.

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Ai Sushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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