Kappo and Omakase cuisines offer patrons a captivating, multi-course dining experience orchestrated by the chef. While both share the essence of culinary artistry, Kappo distinguishes itself with a broader array of dishes and a slightly more relaxed ambiance compared to Kaiseki. At Kappo Sato, a recently awarded Michelin star gem, and Air Canada’s enRoute magazine’s top pick for 2023, Chef Takeshi Sato crafts a Japanese dining experience using the finest seasonal produce and top-tier ingredients.
With two decades of culinary expertise, Chef Sato’s journey began at a Michelin-starred Tokyo establishment before making his mark as the official chef for the Japanese Consul General of Canada. His culinary prowess, was further showcased at Zen, a distinguished Markham restaurant where it earned a high recommendation in one of my previous reviews. Now venturing out on his own under the Zen Group umbrella, Chef Sato’s latest venture at 575 Mt. Pleasant Road, reveals a contemporary designed, relaxed, chic space. The intimate setting boasts appropriately 10 seats opposite a pristine, fully exposed kitchen, allowing diners to witness the chef’s creative mastery firsthand.
The thoughtfully curated experience begins with a visual feast of carefully chosen dishware, combining vintage and modern crystal and handmade ceramics. Our evening commenced with a yellowtail dish, with daikon radish and dashi, leading to an exquisite appetizer platter featuring crown daisy, Ikura in dashi, and dashi broth served in vintage crystal topped with salmon roe, accompanied by a decadent abalone and shiitake mushrooms, served with fresh uni in a starchy seaweed sauce. The sashimi course showcased the chef’s flexibility in substituting selections due to allergies, allowing for an uninterrupted culinary journey.
A highlight of the evening was the sweet shrimp adorned with Osetra caviar, and fluke with engawa, or a tuna selection with soy sauce and egg yolk, all expertly paired with freshly grated wasabi. Next matsutake mushrooms,(the world’s most expensive mushrooms) tilefish, and mitsuba with sudachi. The chef’s soups revealed a meticulous attention to detail and a harmonious blend of flavors.
The attention to detail continued with our transition to our tempura course, where each piece, was prepared one at a time for optimum freshness. A standout was the scallop tempura delicately wrapped in a shiso leaf, adding a flavour bomb to the crispy perfection.
The broiled smoked dish is followed by two varieties of thinly sliced fish: A tuna and a mackerel accompanied by a deep-fried chestnut. A steamed custard dish, offering a velvety texture and complemented with chunks of Canadian queen’s crab, Uba, and yuzu in a ginan starchy sauce.
One of the highlights of the evening was the cold soba soup, where we witnessed the chef expertly hand-cutting noodles directly in front of us. The aromatic broth and slices of rare duck meat elevated the dish to another level.
The seasonal sushi course deviated from the norm, presenting a warm fish, a rosy seabass with green onions and myoga, and then a cold sushi of bbq eel with nori and shiso. We then enjoyed a grilled belt fish with salt, daikon radish, and ponzu sauce topped with a ginkgo nut. The waygu course was a symphony of indulgence, with thinly sliced marbled Miyazaki beef with yellow chives, green onions, and matsutake mushrooms, presented with a certificate indicating the A5 pedigree, ensuring a melt-in-your-mouth experience.
Our savoury journey concluded with a seasonal rice hotpot featuring fresh ocean trout, usage tofu, shiso, and ginger, topped with salmon caviar and accompanied by comforting miso soup. For those seeking libations, a thoughtful selection of sake pairings and an extensive list by the bottle or glass.
Dessert commenced with the sweetest Japanese musk melon, paired with seasonal muscat grape and a roasted, nutty-flavored Japanese tea. The finale was a delightful array, including soy milk creamy ice cream, red bean paste, a delicious matcha cookie, and an extraordinary brown sugar Kuzumochi, a chestnut arrowroot custard, accompanied by a creamy matcha tea personally prepared by the chef.
Chef Sato’s staff, characterized by friendliness, knowledge, and attentiveness, ensures that every aspect of the dining experience is truly remarkable. Kappo Sato is a testament to the chef’s commitment to premium ingredients, traditional culinary art, and an unwavering dedication to delivering an extraordinary and unforgettable dining experience.