Ramen and izakaya (Japanese pub or tavern) restaurants are popping up across Toronto lately, like shiitake mushrooms on a damp log. Many, including Kingyo, are eastern outposts of Vancouver landmarks. This branch is clad in brick and warm wood, with brightly lit pachinko machines studding the walls like secular stained glass windows. The menu features familiar izakaya classics with a modern twist. My favorite was a dish of grilled mackerel that goes through an extensive marinating process: first in salt, and then rice vinegar, salt, sugar and konbu (dried kelp) followed by another hour communing with more konbu. The marinated mackerel is quickly seared and then topped with a mixture of grated daikon radish, bonito shavings, shiso and a house-made ponzu sauce spiked with garlic and lime. Check out the cocktails, too. In the Japanese style they skew toward the light and refreshing, especially the citrusy yuzu orange mojito.