Omakase is a Japanese term that translates to “I’ll leave it up to you” or “chef’s choice”. It refers to a dining experience in which the customer entrusts the chef to select and prepares a series of dishes, typically in a multi-course meal. This culinary concept emphasizes the expertise, creativity, and seasonal ingredients chosen by the chef, resulting in a unique and personalized dining experience. It showcases the chef’s skills and knowledge. Traditionally sushi, sashimi, and other delicacies are served. It allows you to explore the full range of a chef’s abilities to try new and interesting flavours and appreciate the artistry of Japanese cuisine. You put your trust in the chef’s hands and enjoy a meal that reflects his culinary mastery and creativity. This kind of meal can be very expensive, especially if created by a master sushi chef. Such is the case at Sushi Saito, a two-Michelin star restaurant in Toronto, where a meal can set you back by at least $1,000 per person or more depending on what you are drinking.

So for sushi enthusiasts, I have some exciting news! A new Omakase restaurant called MSSM will be opening in September 2023 at 154 Cumberland Street in Toronto. It will be under the helm of sushi master Masaki Saito of the two-star Michelin restaurant I mentioned earlier. He will be teaching and training chefs for this new venture, but the difference is this restaurant will pride itself on offering excellent value for the quality of sushi you will receive. While the sushi may not reach the heights of exceptional, it still will deliver a fine and enjoyable dining experience for the very fair price of $98.

I had the honour and privilege of being hosted by entrepreneur William Cheng, (who was the man to bring Masaki Saito to Toronto from his two Michelin star restaurant in New York, to open Sushi Saito on Avenue Road, as well as the opening the one-star restaurant Shousin), to a pre-opening dinner and was quite impressed. He wants to bring Omakase to the masses tastefully.

You reach the restaurant by ascending a narrow staircase into a minimalist room, with a long counter. It serves about 30 customers. Some shelves with pinkish backlighting hold glassware and sake. In the back is a glassed-in exhibition kitchen where you see the chefs fanning the rice.

MSSM, which stands for Masaki Saito Sushi Master, has a commitment to providing good value, and excellent service, an attractive option for those looking for a well-rounded Omakase adventure without breaking the bank. The ambiance and attentive service add to an overall satisfying time.

We began with a toro hand roll, and they toasted the nori wraps right before serving, so they were nice and crunchy. Next, we had a bonito fish topped with finely chopped onion and apple sauce, which was delicious. This was followed by a series of seasonal sushi, about 9 pieces, and the rice was warm and seasoned. In between we were served a warm egg custard with daikon oroshi. We finished with an excellent torched sea eel. Miso soup was then served, and we ended the meal with sweet, seasonal strawberries wrapped in a red bean paste and then wrapped in mochi. The menu might change with the season but you can appreciate the value of this meal.

There are a few sakes on offer by the glass or bottle, as well as a very limited selection of white and red wines and a trio of Japanese beers.

While our dinner may not have had the same level of intricacy or rare ingredients of Sushi Saito, it was still a gratifying dining evening and a great choice for those who want to explore Omakase without going broke. Believe me, this is a wonderful option, in the heart of Yorkville, where you can savour the craftsmanship of sushi and still appreciate the balance of flavours in a chic atmosphere. It may just become my go-to spot for an enjoyable Omakase meal. Plans are to be open for lunch and dinner, where the experience should take about 90 minutes.


Happy dining,



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