Although known for its lavish bars and clubs, Crescent Street also offers a plethora of restaurants. Sept. 8 marked the opening of Kyozon, a new Asian fusion restaurant and bar, which aims to bring authentic Asian flavours into an urban setting.
According to general manager Phil Chang, the idea behind Kyozon has been in the works for over a decade.
“This concept has been in the making since the ’90s, and has finally been realized by a group of [six] owners this year,” he said. The restaurant was finally established after the owners had a chance to travel the world to gain a better understanding of both the culture and finesse of Asian cusine.
Upon stepping inside, patrons are greeted with a large, dimly lit space that is divided in the middle by a uniquely staged bar. Both the tables and booths leave guests sitting in close proximity to one another. Wooden beams provide structure to the open venue, genuine hardened brick is left exposed, and the furnishings are reminiscent of early 1920s steampunk. Even the accommodating unisex washrooms convey the easy-going, yet tasteful feel that is evident throughout the restaurant.
The tables are made from the wood of repurposed bowling alleys, and a grand sunroof directly overlooks the bar. To complement the setting, a mix of different electronic instrumentals play in the background, creating a relaxed and comfortable ambiance.
Kyozon’s menu is far from conventional; the owners wanted to feature the communal eating of traditional Asian cultures by creating dishes in shareable sizes. Upstairs, there is also a kaiten-zushi, where guests sit at a conveyor belt that carries plates of food. The prices are generally all student-friendly, ranging from $3.50-$9.00 for small plates and $10.00-$19.00 for larger plates, with a few exceptions.
Kyozon boasts an assortment of small, à-la-carte dishes: Crab and chicken Sui Mai, Tom Kha soup, and Japanese noodle lobster rolls. The Sui Mai’s filling is light and balanced, while the soup is laden with delicious vegetables and squid. With the savoury rolls, the meal is a perfect combination of tastes. Also highly recommended are the baby back ribs in the house sticky black bean sauce and the exotic green papaya and mango salad.
The restaurant’s cocktail menu is composed of bold twists on classic drinks, including notable names such as Monkey Juice and 6 MAI 2014. The Leche de Geisha, a fruity alchoholic beverage infused with black tea, is decorated similar to a geisha’s hairstyle.
The salmon teriyaki main dish includes a green pea purée, combined with a surprisingly tangy sauce that offers a unique palate with the salmon. The dish is further complemented by eringi mushrooms. Another noteworthy suggestion is the Korean beef flank with homemade kimchi.
The overall service of the restaurant is remarkable. The bartenders and servers appear to genuinely enjoy their work, and are enthusiastic advocates for Kyozon. They are friendly without being intruding, extremely helpful, and knowledgeable about the menu.
However, the waiting time for the food is quite long. Kyozon is better suited for a date or a small group of friends who are planning on sitting down and having a long meal. If that is not the plan for the night, the bar and its adventurous concoctions offer a casual alternative.
Kyozon will entice a younger and livelier clientele to Crescent. It is an interesting experience, and the food is exceptional for the price. Weekly specials such as Tuesday’s Open Deck––where guests can choose the music––and Thursday’s 5 à 7 are great opportunities to visit Kyozon.
According to Chang, the fundamental idea behind the style of dining at Kyozon is to bring an innovative fusion of flavours together.
“The Japanese word Kyozon means to coexist,” Chang said. “[Patrons have the opportunity to] throw everything together, [and] everyone can have a bite.”