The best is unexpected: Tiki Sushi

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Tiki Ted Dimoglou is a face familiar to those who read this paper already, as he was voted one of the best three chefs in the city in our annual best-of roundup. His restaurant, Tiki Sushi, located on the northeast corner of Erie and Parent is, as the name implies, a sushi and raw seafood bar. And it’s a damn good one.

But for as good as the sushi is, it sells him short. What makes Tiki so great isn’t what’s in the name. It’s everything else.

Saddling up at the bar at Tiki, you find yourself fortunate to have occasional one-on-one exchanges with chef Ted. I remember the first time I ate there, Ted was brimming with excitement. Not because he had just opened his own restaurant, but because squirrel season was coming, and it’s one of his favourite meats when it’s in season. That unexpected sort of tendency is part of his greatest asset: his culinary creativity.

The best items at Tiki are their non-sushi items, in my opinion, because they’re more unique and creative, without compromising any sort of satisfaction. The menu has changed many times and there are frequently daily features from an outdoor grill when the weather permits, but here are some of my favourites from over the years that showcase his range.

When they first opened a little over two years ago, they had a small selection of housemade ramen. The noodles were hand-pulled, and the mushroom version, veggie friendly, was just as good as the duck ramen. His original menu also had one of my all-time favourites: a salad with lobster, which was poached in butter and rum.

His tacos have changed over time as well, but they’ve always been terrific. The smoked trout tacos and the pork belly tacos were my favourite. They’re double-wrapped in tortillas, the way tacos should be.

With respect to seafood other than sushi, the ceviche and oysters have always been excellent options. The ceviche is tight and tense with little liquid in the mix, and the Thai oysters are a fresh and colourful twist on the naked classic. They consist of raw oysters topped with toasted coconut shavings, scallions and finely chopped peppers. Very refreshing.

The drink menu is small but suitable for the menu. Some light whites that go well with the food offerings – I skew Cava – as well as a few local taps. Or just do shots of Canadian Club 100 per cent rye if you want to impress Ted.

The space is one of the most beautiful you will see in Windsor. Intimate in size but flooded with natural light in all corners, it never feels like a small restaurant. The butchers block bar seating is where you want to be, unless it’s summer time. Then, they have a picnic table or two set up outside, which is beautiful especially as it starts to get dark.

The music and TV screen are exactly the eccentricities you would expect given everything else. The music is quirky but not intrusive and the TV reminds me of Villain’s. You never know what sort of alt Sci-fi B-movie from the 1980s might be streaming.

Even for non-sushi fans, it’s one of the best restaurants in the city. The sushi is enough to go anyway, though. Let Ted tell you what to order that day, but I’ve never been disappointed by the salmon. Or, get the best friend salad, which basically has all the fish and vegetables on the menu.

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