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Voyages: Kitsune Food Co

Voyages: Kitsune Food Co

Let’s be real – I love Japanese food, and I like it quick, so when Kitsune Food Co. opened its doors a few weeks ago, I knew I had to go.

Brought to you by Ami Goto (formerly of Dharma Sushi) and her partner Eric McIntyre, this new Izakaya-style gastropub on the corner of Agricola and Young will have you savouring every last bite. Although certain ingredients just can’t be sourced from Nova Scotia, the duo does their best to ensure that they are using local products as much as possible. The two long-time sushi chefs pour their hearts into every detail of every recipe in order to create a menu that is just as diverse as the community around them. This means vegetarian and gluten-free options, and making everything from scratch.


When they first opened, the two weren’t quite sure what to expect, but to their surprise they have consistently had to close up shop early due to everything being sold out. Despite the grab-and-go nature of this new joint, Kitsune has managed to draw in a steady stream of customers to sit down and enjoy the food and atmosphere. Here I am, sitting in front of Ami and Eric, ready to fill my stomach with what I have heard is some of the best Japanese food this city has ever seen.

It’s a cozy spot: black hexagonal tiles and rustic wood textures envelop the space. Behind the two seats at a marble counter top, garage doors frame the interior and a blackboard menu covers the back of the space. With a serious lack of Izakayas in Hali, the concept is pretty new to the city and this is a place that screams young, trendy, and hip. Speaking of noises, the sound of frying dumplings is the first thing I hear when I come in and I can feel my stomach starting to rumble already.


There are both pork and veggie dumplings on offer and Ami hooks me up with a few of each to start off my meal. In the pork recipe, the meat is marinated for 24 hours with all the ingredients. The veggie option comes with tofu, bok choy, green onion, ginger, sesame oil, salt, pepper, shitake mushrooms, tamari soy sauce, and garlic chives. All dumplings are served alongside a house-made gyoza sauce that consists of tamari, vinegar, mirin, lime, and yuzu. I take a bite of its crispy golden exterior and while the edges are firm, the rest of the wrapping is pleasantly chewy. The gyoza sauce has a playful kick of citrus that contrasts beautifully with the saltiness of the soy sauce.

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According to Ami, the Chicken Kara-aghe is one of the most popular dishes here, and for good reason. Looking at this plate of goodness, I already know that I’m in for a treat. The crispy batter, edible flowers, and microgreens create a landscape for both the eyes and the taste buds. After boneless chicken thighs are marinated for at least 24 hours in tamari gluten-free soy sauce, garlic, mirin, sake, and sesame oil, they are fried to perfection and served with house-made ponzu dip similar to the gyoza sauce but without the chili oil. On the whole, this is some seriously delicious chicken. The cornstarch used for the breading does a great job of sealing in all the juicy goodness that the chicken retains from the sweet and savoury marinade. On top of it all, a sprinkling of shiso leaves adds some interesting flavor and texture, and since they use boneless chicken thigh, it means that you get an unadulterated chicken munching experience.


The Dragon Roll is a grab bag of flavour consisting of deep-fried shrimp tempura, BBQ eel, and house-made spicy sauce (chili paste and kewpie mayonnaise) that comes wrapped in avocado and salmon. But wait, there’s more – the roll is finished off with a dusting of flying fish roe, micro greens, and a squirt of barbecue sauce. When this kaleidoscope of flavour spins in your mouth, it commands attention.


The Amaebi is a gluten-free option. Served nigiri style, this flavour bomb consists of a sushi rice patty topped with sweet shrimp and wrapped in a thin belt of seaweed to keep it all together in your mouth. To bring this dish to the next level, Ami also includes the head (yes, it’s edible), which is deep-fried in cornstarch batter. If you want an explosion of the shrimpiest flavor you have ever tasted, go straight for this – it will make you wonder why you’ve been eating shrimps the wrong way your entire life.

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Throughout my dining experience, I’ve had the pleasure of sipping on a Kirin Ichiban – one of Japan’s most acclaimed and best-selling beers since 1990. It’s an import beer that you won’t find at the NSLC, and while they do have Sapporo, I definitely recommend this drink for the occasion. It’s nice and light, and pairs famously with any type of sushi or sashimi.

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While the concept of takeout is for one to dip into a place, order food, and then go about the rest of their busy day, Kitsune Food Co really is a restaurant that you should take the time to enjoy. Order some food, savour the flavour, and enjoy the easy-going company of Ami and Eric for lunch or dinner – you will not regret it.



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