We were given the heads up about a new Japanese buffet restaurant in Pickering, and, since my beautiful Bride likes Japanese food, we decided to check it out the other Sunday. Makimono Japanese Restaurant has several locations, one in Ajax and several downtown Toronto, the only one that has a buffet is the one at Pickering. Located at 1790 Liverpool Road, where the Pizza Hut used to be, west of Durham Centre Mall and just north of the 401, on the west side of Liverpool Road; walking inside you can see that they have transformed the place from when it used to serve pizza, there is Japanese decor all around, including the large screen beside our table that hid the entranceway from our view (and prevented us seeing her brother and friends arrive just before we left ourselves - it was her brother that told us about this restaurant, ironic...). The restaurant appears to be owned by Japanese; at least there are no Korean dishes available indicating it was owned by Koreans. The buffet is not traditional in the sense that there are no buffet tables, instead you order a la carte, and they make the dishes fresh as per your order and bring it to your table; if you want more, then you order more. I think this is good in a number of ways; there is little wastage for the restaurant and the restaurant can get feedback as to what people prefer; you don't order as much as you would take from a buffet table and thus you don't eat as much; food is fresher and hotter as opposed to waiting under a heat lamp; and you can sample a greater variety of dishes as opposed to eating what they have out on the buffet table for that day. Weekdays lunch is $14 and dinner is $21; weekends (Friday-Saturday-Sunday) it's $15 and $23 respectively).
How was the food? Good, very freshly made and hot, but there were some misses - I thought the Katsu Don (deep fried pork cutlet with onion and egg served on a bed of rice) was a little too runny for my tastes, the Gyoza were okay, and the Chicken Udon was also not that tasty, mostly because of a weak broth. There were some great dishes, I especially liked the Dynamite Roll (shrimp tempura, tobiko, avocado and cucumber) and the Salmon Teryaki, Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura was good. You can also order take-out, I went back and bought some sushi, Dynamite Rolls again, and Spider Rolls (soft shell crab, tobiko, avocado and cucumber), some vegetable spring rolls and gyoza, all of which suffered from the trip home across the city. I wish this restaurant were much closer, driving close to an hour to get there is on the border of not worth the drive, but I would recommend it to lovers of Japanese food.