Toronto’s sole two-Michelin-starred chef, Masaki Saito’s new restaurant, MSSM Yorkville, is a labour of love, aimed to introduce Toronto’s foodies to his cherished Edomae sushi traditions.
“Most sushi in North America — not only Toronto— is not considered Edomae style,” says chef Saito. “The majority of sushi being served in North America you would not be able to find in Japan.”
Promoting Edomae-style sushi has been chef Saito’s core mission since he relocated to Toronto five years ago and established Sushi Masaki Saito as a premier destination for high-end omakase dining. However, given the cost of the experience at $680 per person, chef Saito recognized the limitations it posed to many Toronto residents and tourists.
“Given the high price point at Sushi Masaki Saito and the limited amount of seating, many individuals don’t get the opportunity to experience a traditional Edomae offering,” says chef Saito. “Although it has been rewarding to share my passion and knowledge with select customers, this style of execution has not allowed me to broadly educate the general public, which is why I created MSSM.”
The new restaurant offers a unique 14-course omakase menu incorporating appetizers, nigiri, soup and desserts for a fraction of the price at $98 per person. In contrast to Sushi Masaki Saito, which imports all its ingredients from top-tier sources in Japan, MSSM Yorkville adopts a different approach. By incorporating local and European ingredients along-side Japanese ones, the restaurant aims to provide a more accessible price point. Chef Saito guarantees that the utilization of Edomae style and technique brings out the “best in each piece of fish.”
Sporting a sleek, minimalistic, white and black interior, MSSM is much larger than chef Saito’s previous endeavour. The expansion allows the restaurant to accommodate a larger number of customers while offering a quicker dining experience.
MSSM will also function as a platform for chef Saito to educate Toronto’s next generation of chefs in the art of sushi making.
“I want to lead more students in Toronto on their culinary journey,” he says, “Hopefully leading the way for future Michelin-starred chefs like me.”
The opening of MSSM Yorkville is one of several new dining establishments chef Saito will launch by year-end.