Hidden Gems in Mississauga: Hinote Sushi
1st Impression: Cozy
Dress Code: Casual
Unique for: Unagi Don Dinner Entree
Value: Bang On
Hinote Sushi is, so far, the best Japanese restaurant that I have eaten at in Mississauga. I have yet to find one that is parallel to it -combining great ratings on value, atmosphere, service, and quality.
Hinote Sushi is another one of those restaurants that we can subcategorize as a hidden gem. It is located in a small residential strip mall located at the corner of Mavis Rd. and Bristol Rd. It is literally hidden, being camouflaged in between brightly lit retailers, including a Vietnamese restaurant, a drycleaner, and the remains of what once was a Price Chopper.
It's the sleeper of Japanese restaurant locations, and you can barely tell it is even open because it is so dimly lit and the window coverings prevent you from getting a preview of what to expect inside.
Once you walk in, you are greeted by the friendly staff in a cozy restaurant designed with typical Japanese decor. There are tables, booths, and a sushi bar where you can watch your sushi being prepared fresh.
The jazz tunes helped set the mood and pushed me further into a state of relaxation before my meal. A song by Harry Connick Jr. was playing in the background. The small details, such as the music, cleanliness, and attentive service, show that they really care to make your experience at Hinote an enjoyable one.
Every Japanese restaurant experience of mine usually starts with a spicy salmon roll and the shrimp tempura. These dishes give me an idea of the quality of the food and serve as an indicator for what to expect from the rest of my experience.
Hinote's Spicy Salmon Roll ($7.95) is beautifully presented and perfectly rolled. It is the best spicy salmon roll by far with its smoky, spicy flavour profile, and one that has me craving it as I write this. The Shrimp Tempura was freshly made, piping hot and equally delicious. The lightly tempura batter dusted shrimps and assorted vegetables are a great starter for yourself or to share with one other person ($9.95), especially if you have more dishes to come.
Next up was the Hinote Sushi dinner entree which includes 16 pieces of assorted sushi, and your choice of 6 pieces of California or salmon roll. All dinner entrees at Hinote include miso soup, green salad and rice. At $22.95, this dinner entree was more than enough to eat on its own without any starters. The quality of fish is well-noted especially in this dish. Simple garnishes such as super finely sliced green onions randomly placed on selected sashimi are another extension to their attention to detail.
The Unagi Don ($14.95) - BBQ eel with special sauce over rice is served traditionally in a Japanese bento box, simple and aesthetically pretty with my ginger layered in a way that it looks like a pink rose. The unagi seasoning is a very different flavour profile than I am used to and it took me some time to decide whether I liked it or not. It had a smoky, sweet, spicy flavour with hints of cinnamon in it. I'd have to say that this is a dish unique to Hinote and one that I would order again.
Lastly, I tried the Seafood Yaki Udon - stir fried thick udon noodles with mixed seafood and vegetables ($14.95). This dish was somewhat lacking in the presentation category, but made up for it in flavour. I was surprised to feel the intense savory flavour from a simple udon noodle.
Hinote Sushi is about the quality of your experience and food, unlike the many Japanese restaurants which focus on volume and pump out sub-par sushi and Japanese dishes. One thing that I noticed, which I didn't actually miss all that much, were the free bite-sized trays of Japanese appetizers that included sweet red beans, kimchee (which is actually a Korean dish), sauteed bean sprouts, etc. I'm kind of glad that I didn't get these freebies or I would not have been able to enjoy my meal from being too full.
The one complimentary dish that I did receive was a dessert of panko-crusted ripe banana pieces dressed in a light maple syrup. A sweet size to finish off my meal.
720 Bristol Rd. W.
Hinote's Spicy Salmon Roll
Seafood Yaki Udon
The Unagi Don
Hinote Sushi dinner entree