May 23, 2012

ND Sushi & Grill is so nondescript that you could easily miss if just passing by the restaurant-rich section of Baldwin Street upon which it’s located. But great sushi is worth seeking out, and ND Sushi & Grill did not disappoint me in my quest for a terrific meal.

The space is small but not cramped, and the spartan decorations keep with the minimalist cuisine. I made an unnecessary reservation as only a few other patrons trickled in while we ate. The hostess acted as our server, presenting each dish and offering commentary on the menu. Despite the lack of guests, service was slow that night. We had to call the server over to take our orders and she seemed nervous about our food choices which made us hesitant as well. She seemed concerned that we didn’t know what we were in for.

She dissuaded me from ordering the Maguro Tataki ($8), and instead recommended the Albacore Tuna Salad ($12). I took her suggestion, while a friend went with the Tataki. That dish was lovely and understated while mine offered an artful presentation. Both featured thick slices of raw albacore, flash-seared and lightly seasoned. The Tataki was served in a simple sesame and soy dressing, while the salad was piled high with greens and crispy noodles that were a light touch but packed a lot of flavour and texture. Both dishes were wonderful, though I must claim a preference for mine.

For my main, I ordered an assortment of sushi ($19) and was amazed when it was brought out. The maki rolls were sliced into massive pieces that fell apart on the first bite. I had the Dynamite roll and I couldn’t decide between using chopsticks or my hands because neither could get a piece to my mouth intact. The nigiri were topped with some of the freshest sashimi I’ve had in Ontario.

One guest ordered the full Dragon Roll ($12), and for the price, she got her money’s worth. The roll was the length of my forearm. That, coupled with the width, made it a challenge to finish.

Despite being stuffed after all that sushi I could not resist the dessert menu. I was very disappointed that they were out of the green tea panna cotta, but I rallied and ordered the Banana Red Bean Spring Roll ($6.50). Banana came wrapped in crisp pastry and surrounded by adzuki beans and warm chocolate sauce. Served with some vanilla bean ice cream, it was a heavenly finish to an intensely satisfying meal.

Writing and photos by Angelina Purpura