A 45min-1hr drive to Newmarket depending on where you are in Toronto, Solo Sushi Ya is this little Japanese restaurant tucked in an area not known for Japanese cuisine.
I went here because of raving reviews from Joanne Kate’s Top 100 in the City where this one is ranked 18, which is the highest among Japanese restaurants she ranked.
Experience at Solo Sushi Ya
Well, what can I say… the entire omakase experience at Solo Sushi Ya was a letdown.
The food was unremarkable. Fish selection was horrible, especially for omakase. It seems like their best fish here is Salmon.
The staff didn’t introduce each course. We had to ask what the items were.
Solo Sushi Ya’s Owner Chef Jyo Gao was at the restaurant but he wasn’t even the one who did the sushi and sashimi for our Omakase.
He hid inside the kitchen most of the time. And he wasn’t even friendly to us as he should be from other reviews I’ve read. He didn’t speak to us but spoke to other tables.
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Omakase at Solo Sushi Ya
Trio appetizer of sweet squash, pickled veggie and tuna tartare
I didn’t even know this was a course already so I didn’t take a picture. The portions were like the banchan side dishes that come in any Korean Restaurant.
The sweet squash was surprisingly good especially for someone who doesn’t like vegetables. It doesn’t taste like squash at all.
The tuna tartare was great. It tasted very fresh and delicious.
Chef’s Choice Sashimi
This was where the disappointment at Solo Sushi Ya starts. I love sashimi and it’s my basis for good Japanese places.
The plate came with big pieces of salmon (2), hamachi (2), tuna (2), scallop (1) and ebi (1).
The scallop and ebi were great: both big and fresh. The hamachi didn’t have any taste.
Both Salmon and tuna were good. But seriously? Salmon and Tuna are the Chef’s choices?!
It’s bad enough that there were only 5 types of sashimi here, but why were half of them basic fish selection. Oh well, maybe sushi will be better.
The Chawanmushi was a custard soup with seaweed, salmon and shrimp. For someone who’s not into chawanmushi, this was very good.
Sadly, there was a piece of shrimp skin on mine that they didn’t peel or remove properly. This was definitely something I didn’t expect from supposedly one of the top Japanese restaurants in Toronto.
This was the best dish in the omakase. The Mackerel is fresh and cooked perfectly, and didn’t have the usual fishy taste.
The miso sauce was good too although it was quite sweet.
Chef’s Choice Sushi
This sealed my disappointment for Solo Sushi Ya. The Chef’s Choice Sushi came with 4 pieces of Nigiri: Salmon, Tuna, Hamachi and Scallop.
I heard that the sizing of sushi is important. I’m used to bite-sized sushi that fits perfectly when you put it in your mouth.
The sushi here were very big pieces that you either had to bite twice or stuff in your mouth uncomfortably.
My hamachi had a bone in it. What’s going on here! First, the shrimp in the chawanmushi and, now, this?
And, seriously? These are the exact same fish selection we had for the Chef’s Choice Sashimi. Apparently, Salmon and Tuna are the best they have at Solo Sushi Ya.
I felt sad, ripped off even. What kind of Japanese restaurant offers mostly basic fish selection for Omakase. The best Japanese restaurants in Toronto for me are Japango and Zen.
At Japango, although their sushi and sashimi moriawase had basic fish selection, it was not the majority and it has seasonal and high-end fishes.
I’ve been spoiled by Zen Japanese restaurant where an omakase will never have salmon or basic tuna in them. Zen always gives seasonal or higher-end selections like aji, otoro, uni and amberjack.
This coffee pudding was the cherry on top of the disappointment. What a very unremarkable dessert.
It didn’t even taste like real coffee but more like coffee flavouring. It’s like the kind of desserts you’d expect to have at a buffet.
Verdict of Solo Sushi Ya
Solo Sushi Ya is not worth the trip (from Toronto) nor the price. How this got into Joanne Kate’s Top 100 (and highest-ranked Japanese too), I’ll never know. Maybe she gets the Critic’s Omakase special.
Solo Sushi Ya
Address: 291 Davis Dr, Newmarket, Ontario L3Y 2N7