Volume 95, Issue 43

Friday, November 16, 2001
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How you say "N-Ah-So" good?

'Chindogus' now on sale at Multimart

Stagnant Swamp finds new life

And the boots go marching 10 by 10, hurrah! Hurrah!

Shits and Giggles

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Gazette Comics

How you say "N-Ah-So" good?

Ah-So Gardens
201 Wharncliffe Rd. S
Three stars
(out of five)

By Andrea Chiu
Gazette Staff

Few foods connect with the soul the way fresh sushi does.

Seafood and rice complemented by soy sauce is a heavenly treat and Ah-So Gardens provides a suitable setting to enjoy an authentic Japanese meal.

The interior decor of the restaurant nicely demonstrates Asian design: simple, yet elegant. For those in search of privacy during a date with that special someone, the ta ta mi rooms are a great way to enhance conversation without the distraction of other patrons.

For a typical dinner at Ah-So Gardens, the combinations provide the best value for your money and please most appetites. They include soup, salad, choice of main course and dessert.

The gyoza beef dumplings are a great way to begin a meal. Guests have the option of pan frying or deep frying their dumplings. The latter is recommended by the staff, as dumplings are best crunchy. Dipped in soy sauce, hot gyoza gets the taste buds excited and ready for more.

Yakitori chicken, which is basically grilled chicken on a skewer drizzled with teriyaki sauce, is unfortunately less satisfying. The chicken comes with non-sushi dinners such as the teriyaki or tempura meals.

Shabu-Shabu also comes with the non-sushi meals.

This beef broth with mushroom is well-flavoured, but comes off too strong and over-salty. The Miso soup that preceeds the sushi dinners is a much better choice. Made of soy bean paste with fresh green onion and tofu, the hot soup is perfect for the cold nights of winter.

The small appetizer salad is a stark contrast to the soups. Coated in Ah-So's very own light house lemon dressing, the refreshing salad is a cool reminder of those happy summer days that seem so long ago.

The Ume Sushi Dinner is one of the smaller sushi meals offered at Ah-So Gardens. It includes six pieces of salmon roll and an additional nine pieces of sushi, including Ebi (shrimp), Tako (octopus) and Ika (squid).

Although the sushi was thoroughly satisfying, the yokohama tempura – vegetables and prawns in a light batter – was not.

Served with a bowl of Japanese rice, the tempura dish is plentiful, but disappointing. Not only is the dish oily, but the batter it's deep fried in, is too thick. It resembles batter used for fish and chips, rather than the traditionally light batter used for tempura.

To Ah-So Gardens' credit, the variety of vegetables is diverse – the course included potatoes, yams, broccoli and cauliflower.

Unfortunately, for diners with a sweet tooth in search of new and interesting desserts, Ah-So Gardens has minimal choice. Besides the orange sherbert, green tea ice cream and mandarin oranges, there is nothing on the dessert menu.

The wait staff are friendly and accommodating, which added to the overall dining experience.

The establishment has great potential as a fine place for fans of Japanese cuisine. The prices on the menu may seem high to some, but it is important to remember all dinner's come with at least a soup, salad and dessert.

A multi-course dinner for two costs approximately $50, which is not bad for a solid meal with Asian flare.

Dave Van Dyck/Gazette
CULTURE 101: It's important to remember when entering a Japanese restaurant tht the traditional Japanese greeting "ah-so" is not to be confused with them calling you "asshole."

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Copyright The Gazette 2001