Teara Lab made a grand entrance on National Burger Day, with their restaurant’s soft opening. This marks Toronto’s very first Japanese-fusion sandwich shop located in the heart of Downtown; situated next to University of Toronto’s St. George Campus.
This cozy take-out diner has more than meets the eye. You may already be familiar with Kaka Sushi’s culinary work, but this time they are piling up the best of their signature cooked dishes into one convenient burger. Their copious amounts of experimentation have led to the creation of five signature sandwiches, currently including their Red Wine Braised Beef Sandwich ($13.99) and Kalbi Shortrib Sandwich ($9.49). They are constructed with the same level of perfection – notably their premium cuts of meat – as with their sushi. Not only is there plenty of space within Teara Lab to enjoy their juicy combos, but the polished marbled tables add a minimalistic pristine ambiance.
What caught my attention the most was their Teppanyaki Teriyaki Chicken Burger. The mouthful of a title is equivalent to their piled-high toppings of shredded lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions, and a thick cut of teriyaki-marinated and teriyaki-dipped tender chicken. What seals the deal is the addition of wasabi mayo sauce which also happens to go well with the fries.
Teara Lab’s most popular sandwich is the Soy Glazed Pork Belly Sandwich, and for good reason too. Served with a double hit of fried and raw onions, the fattiness of both the belly and avocado is complimented with kimchi and crisp seaweed.
Fear not, the black burger isn’t charred, but is the apex of Teara Lab’s experimentation! The sesame bun is dyed with a tasteless squid ink and infused with a plummy Yuzu aroma. Matched with a succulent fried fish fillet, this sweet burger is definitely an experience.
If not for a filling meal, I can imagine myself coming back solely for their drinks. The taste is on par with many bubble tea places closeby. I mean, how often does one come across fresh watermelon juice? Definitely also give these two a try: Matcha Red Bean Slush ($4.70) or ask for a mix of Okinawa (vanilla) & Hokkaido (brown sugar) milk tea ($4.50).
It is so refreshing to see the reinvention of Japanese fast-food that isn’t just limited to bento boxes and teriyaki. The combination of Japanese flavours with American’s popular take-out food satisfies multiple cravings all in one go.
Photos by Nick Lee & Janey Tso