Kingyo Japanese Izakaya

Kingyo is a new-ish place in Cabbagetown, close to Parliament and Carlton. It’s an izakaya, serving lots of little plates and larger mains - mostly designed to share with others. We had a whole host of dishes - deep fried and juicy chicken, shrimp battered and fried (they do fried food really well here), tuna sashimi garnished with an umami-filled ponzu jelly, sea urchin shooters, and salmon poke (too small of a portion).

One of the best dishes of the night was the udon with shaved beef shortrib. It’s a bit of a production, with the udon served in a massive bowl and topped with raw shortrib; the server then pours a boiling beef broth into the bowl, and it cooks the beef on the spot. It’s salty, beefy, and swimming with little nuggets of delicious fat.

Kingyo does tend to get fancy with some dishes, and turn them into a spectacle. We spotted a serving hauling a giant covered wooden bento box and opening it up at the table to reveal a dozen compartments of food. There were blow torches brought out to caramelize meat, and hot black stones which customers were using to sizzle thin slices of beef. It can come across as a bit gimmicky, except that the food is actually delicious and the service was great. Kingyo is a fun spot overall, with a great menu of inventive and creative dishes.