Little Tokyo 199 Augusta, 416-921-1328 Rating: NNNNN
Two decades ago, sushi was pretty much limited to the palates of the cultural elite. But now, with Toronto's Japanophilia ballooning to sumo-size proportions, it's no wonder Kentaro Hoshimi decided to morph the family-owned bookselling business into an emporium of culinary delights.
With an abundance of Kensington Market square-footage and the importer contacts to fill it, Hoshimi launched a new shop in 2003 that allows the tastes of Japan to be recreated at home. Not that he's left books and magazines behind. Those are still an integral component, but the stock has shifted to accommodate evolving taste buds. From pickled plums to paper-thin seaweed, endless varieties of noodle bowls, traditional ceramic tableware, teas and seasonings, there's everything you need to prepare your favourite dishes. Or, if your kitchen time - or skill level - is limited, you can hit the shop on a weekend, when premade onigiri seaweed/rice snacks and sushi are available for takeout. Hoshimi's picks: Japanese fashion mags such as Smart (men's), and Anan (women's), $6 each; deluxe chocolate-strawberry Decorer Pocky, $3.48; rice bowls starting at $3; disposable eyebrow razors, $2.48/three-pack; and ice-cube-fuelled cold sake sets, $25 each.
Look for: Samurai sword letter openers, calligraphy ink cartridges, ginger ice cream, books on origami and the occasional appearance of Sala Conditioning Hair Packs.
Hours: Monday to Saturday 11 am to 7 pm, Sunday noon to 6 pm.