JaBistro

JaBistro is a modern Japanese restaurant known for their beautifully presented sashimi platters, and blowtorch sushi. It sits right in the Entertainment District of downtown Toronto; making it very accessible by both TTC and car. Additionally,  JaBistro is run by the Kinka Family who also owns Guu Izakaya, Guu Sakabar, Kinton Ramen, and the newly opened Yakitori Kintori. 


 The restaurant is easily recognizable for its logo of the fish with the luminescence in front of its face. Walking into the establishment, you'd be greeted by a hostess, and most likely be asked to sit at the bar while you wait for your table. The interior was tastefully designed with its sleek use of wood, and it's also windowless. Due to the nature of having no windows; there is no natural lighting (even during lunch time).


Normally, we would have dinner around 6-7 pm, but on this Sunday, the earliest available slot was 8:30 pm. I usually have dinner slightly about 1-2 hours earlier than our reserved time, so I made myself a sandwich at home. Probably not the best idea as I immediately regretted not waiting as I saw our neighbor's sashimi platter (oh well, there's always next time!). The bf prefers nigiri to sashimi, so I guess I'll need to bring in some reinforcements who loves sashimi to get the platter. Anyways, JaBistro doesn't offer a plethora of traditional sushi dishes; rather they have opted to have both tradition and innovative dishes.


Started the evening off with the usual drinks; coke and green tea. The green tea arrived in a large mug with a bigger-than-norm tea bag that was reusable at least twice. 


The both of us got our own order of salad (cucumber, greens) ($8 x 2). I enjoyed the salad very much as the dressing was light, and the thinly sliced cucumbers added a nice refreshing touch. 


We also got an order each of miso soup [lobster broth] ($5 x 2). I believe that the miso soup used to come with a lobster claw, but I guess they have changed it up since they first opened. It's now presented in a mug sans claw.


 The ika [calamari, tosazu vinegar] ($10) was lightly coated in batter, and wasn't too overly greasy. Although, the sauce might be a little sweeter than one might expect for calamari. It was still rather tasty nonetheless, and the portion was more than enough for two people.


One of JaBistro's signature roll is their JaBistroll (blowtorched aburi) [salmon, snow crab, uni, cucumber, tobiko] ($22), which we ordered. Apparently, by blow-torching the sushi, it helps seal in the flavor of the ingredients. I absolutely loved the smoky flavor, and how the creamy texture of the uni went well together with the salmon and snow crab. This particular dish is highly recommended!
creamy uni and delicately sweetness of the salmon and crab balanced out by the salty roe. - See more at: http://www.abbeyskitchen.com/blog/jabistro-toronto-restaurant-review/#sthash.debtwZ0S.dpuf


The bf wanted to try out the kyukyoku that night, but our server informed him that they didn't have exactly 12 different kind of fish that night (so it was unavailable). He ended up getting the sushi (nama) [classic nigri 7 pieces] ($27) instead. This board arrived with a selection of 7 different nigri, and they all just melt in your mouth. I loved how the nigri are already flavored with both wasabi and soy sauce underneath the pieces of fish.


 The ebi nanban [battered tiger shrimp, tartar sauce] ($14) was six pieces of battered shrimp coated in tartar sauce. The shrimps themselves are very sweet in flavor, so the tartar sauce actually made them a lot sweeter than I would have liked. In all, the shrimps were crispy and well made.


The bf forgo dessert, but since I love sweets, I got the choco cream puff [choux pastry filled with chocolate whipped cream] ($8) for myself. As you can see from the image, it was beautifully presented and tasted wonderfully creamy and chocolatey.

As for service; it didn't start off very strong as we had to wait well over 25 minutes past our reservation. Apparently, the customers at the table were finishing up their desserts, and just called for the bill. Anyways, they paid for their bill but resumed chatting. I am assuming that JaBistro prides themselves for great service, so they didn't want to ask the customers to leave until they're ready. I am not too sure how I feel about this, as service is important, but we were just sitting at the front waiting ... and waiting. Eventually, another table freed up, and we were seated around 9 pm. I know that the staff are mainly from Japan, so they might follow the customary of always being polite (aka not kicking someone out).

However, once we were seated, the service was rather quite professional and really good. Our server(s) were friendly, knowledgeable of the menu, and courteous. The food also came out at a reasonable time, and spaced apart well. They also refold your napkin when you're away from your table (washroom, phone calls, etc ...) so I thought that was nice. Overall, JaBistro is a great place to dine for its quality food, good service, and I had an enjoyable dining experience.

RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 4.5/5
Service: 4/5
Overall Dining Experience: 4.5/5
Price: $$$$
 
Address: 222 Richmond Street W, Toronto, ON, M5V 1W4