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[Richmond Hill] Inatei

Cities outside of Toronto are filled with mediocre all-you-can-eat (AYCE) Japanese restaurants. Sadly, I am a frequent patron of AYCE restaurants, simply because I love having varieties when I dine out. When I crave for good quality Japanese food, I then go to restaurants with only à la carte menus.

Having lived in the suburbs for almost a year, I finally gathered the courage to try a local Japanese restaurant. I was under the impression that majority of good Japanese restuarants are in the downtown core… but Inatei has really good reviews online and I figured it would a good place to start.

The decor in Inatei is modern and chic. The laminate posts resembled reclaimed wood divided up the space and also added some flair to the decor.

Inatei also serves fresh Virginia and Kumamoto oysters. I think the price was a little steep though.

They also has a nice collection of sake, or so it seems…

We ordered the Gindara Saikyo Yaki. It’s grilled cod in a miso paste. The cod was delicious and full of miso flavour. It was grilled with slight charr on the outside but the fish was still very moist and flaky. It is a shame that the portion was so small. Having paid $9.99 for this tiny piece of cod makes me feel like the cod should be at least twice the size. :( 

Charles ordered the chirashi. The variety of fish was pretty good and all the fish tasted really fresh. The rice was seasoned and cooked perfectly. It was garnished with “ふりかけ” or “furikake,” which is basically seasoning for rice, usually consists of seaweed flakes, bonito flakes, and sesame seeds. Charles was impressed that the chef also used thinly sliced cucumber separate different finds of fish. Additionally, there was some “漬物” or “tsukemono,” meaning “pickled things” on the rice to add more flavour.  I think this chirashi is definitely worth the $18.99.

I ordered the spider roll for myself. The softshell crab was cooked very nicely. The exterior was crispy and the crab itself was soft and tasty. The spider roll came with some spicy mayo and I liked the spicy touch! However, the spider roll was very small, consisting of only 5 pieces. The roll cost $7.99 and I don’t think it was worth the value.

We ordered the unagi (eel) okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) to share. I had to order it because Charles seemed so excited when I told him this dish exists. I am not a huge fan of unagi myself. The okonomiyaki is pan fried till it was crispy on both sides. It was very thin compared to the okonomiyaki we’ve had in the past and it also did not contain much ingredients other than flour. However, it was generously topped with 6 big pieces of unagi and a big helping of bonito flakes. Charles really enjoyed this dish and I think any unagi lovers would!

We finished our dinner with some complimentry Earl Grey pudding. The pudding was sweetened with milk and sugar (or possibly sweet condensed milk?) and it was very creamy! It was topped with some caramel sauce and overall it kind of tasted like Taiwanese milk tea. We both enjoyed the dessert.

Our dinner at Inatei was quite enjoyable. I find the portion a bit tiny and the food was hit and miss. The chirashi was excellent for its value, with lots of fresh fish and great attention to detail. The cod was pricy but so delicious. The spider roll was tasty but not the best I’ve had and also very small in portion. The amount of unagi on the okonomiyaki made the $10.99 price tag somewhat justifiable. I think I will give this restaurant another try!

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