Showing posts with label Japanese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Japanese. Show all posts
A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a media tasting at JaBistro. I have been here on three occasions, and it has remained one of my favorite sushi spots in Toronto. JaBistro is a modern Japanese restaurant known for their beautifully presented sashimi platters, and blowtorched sushi. Established in November 2012, JaBistro has remained a popular choice for many when it comes to choosing a premier sushi restaurant to dine at. Additionally, the restaurant is part of the Kinka Family, who also owns other establishments in the city, including Kinton Ramen, Yakitori Kintori, and Kinka Izakaya.  

Both of my previous dinners took place during the winter time (third experience was lunch), so I was not aware that JaBistro had a rooftop patio. The patio is open every summer until it gets too cold, as they don't have any overhead heat system. JaBistro's Rooftop Patio was tastefully designed with its sleek use of wood, and string lights. It provided a more zen ambiance compared to their dining space downstairs. The patio seats 40 guests, with the possibility of using the eastern (direction) side of 20 seats for private functions.

JaBistro offers a more elevated dining experience by offering both classic and contemporary dishes that are sourced using the finest, and freshest dish from coastal waters around the world. We started off our menu tasting with the first course, a beautifully plated sashimi platter accompanied with a glass of wine. JaBistro did not disappoint me with their selection, and the sashimi platter was a great indication of the rest of the meal. The sashimi was silky, buttery, and fresh.

Course 1 - Sashimi Platter + Cava Sampling

Akami - blue fin tuna loin (Japan), Tai - sea bream (Japan), Wagyu Beef (US), and Salmon (Canada)

Course 2 - Appetizer Platter

Kanpachi Kama (fish collar), Ebi Nanban (battered tiger shrimp), Ika (calamari), and lobster miso soup

The kanpachi kama (fish collar) was a great introductory course, and we both enjoyed the fish head very much. To be honest, we didn't expect the head to contain so much meat, so it was a welcomed surprise.

The platter also came with 2 jumbo pieces of ebi nanban (battered tiger shrimp), which I quickly ate. I liked that the tartar sauce was available on the side instead of glazed on the shrimp as they were on my previous visit, as the shrimps are already sweet in flavor. You can order the ebi nanban from the bistro menu for $14, and it comes with 6 pieces.

Course 3 - Nigiri & Aburi (blowtorced)

Hamachi (yellowtail) from Japan, Chu Toro (medium fatty tuna belly) from Japan, Lobster from Halifax, Salmon Oshizushi, Saba Oshizushi (mackerel), Ebi (tiger shrimp), and JaBistroll (salmon, snow crab, uni, cucumber, tobiko).

Up next was a platter containing chef’s choice of 3 nigiri, and 4 oshizushi, including one of my favorites, the JaBistro Roll. The JaBistro Roll is a signature roll filled with salmon, snow crab, uni, cucumber, tobiko, mayo, and then lightly torched. Additionally, the uni provided a nice creamy texture to the roll, which I really enjoyed.

Oshizushi is pressed sushi, and is made by pressing sushi rice and fish into a mould to create a rectangular shape, and then lightly seared with a blowtorch. The oshizushi sushi are topped off with different toppings to give each one a distinct taste. For example, the salmon was topped off with thin slices of jalapeño, while the mackerel was topped with scallion and daikon radish. Additionally, all the aburi are already seasoned with their in-house soy sauce, and wasabi. My favorite was the salmon oshizushi, and it is one of my must-have dishes.

Course 4 - Dessert

Mousse cake with vanilla ice-cream

We ended the night off with dessert; a delectable green tea flavored mousse cake with vanilla ice-cream. The chocolate sponge cake was layered with creamy and light green tea mousse, and topped off with strawberries. This combination created a very airy cake with subtle sweetness. Perfect for those who aren't into super sweet desserts. If you like sweets, then the accompanied ice-cream should satisfied that craving.

JaBistro is a great place for business meals, dates, or special occasions. Overall, JaBistro is a great place to dine for its quality food, attentive service, and we had an enjoyable dining experience up on their rooftop patio. They are open for lunch Monday-Fri from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, and dinner from Sun-Thurs (5 pm to 11 pm), and Fri-Sat (5 pm to 12 am).

Address: 222 Richmond St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1W4

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Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

JaBistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Dinner @ JaBistro's Rooftop Patio

by on Thursday, August 04, 2016
A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a media tasting at  JaBistro . I have been here on three occasions, and it has remai...
Tsujiri is a renowned green tea brand that is known throughout Asia for their matcha-based drinks and desserts. The company was first established in 1860 by Riemon Tsuji in Uji, Kyoto, who pioneered the improvement of the tea industry by using a method that enhanced the flavor of the tea. Tsuji’s method and philosophy still remain true today as the company prides themselves in offering the best quality green tea to their customers.

Tsujiri Toronto's first North American outpost opened earlier this week near Bay and Dundas amid much fanfare. This is their first foray into a market outside Asia, but they are planning on expanding to other cities in North America in the future. I had the pleasure of getting a sneak peek of some of the products that Tsujiri Toronto has to offer a day before its soft opening, and got the chance to chat with one of the managers, Tylor Shek. The first Toronto location is at 147 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON, which is right in the heart of downtown. The shop primarily serves as a take-out area, as it is small with only a few high seat tables, and a traditional tatami room in the back of the shop. The tatami was contracted and built by a Japanese company in Vancouver, and is reminiscent of the space in Kyoto.

Tsujiri Toronto's menu is extensive, as there is a great variety of matcha-oriented desserts, hot and cold beverages, and pastries. According to Tylor, Tsujiri Toronto stays true to its Kyoto outpost, as their ingredients are sourced directly from Japan. This way, they maintain the standard consistency that the Tsujiri brand is known for. The menu is definitely on a higher price point, but they do make up for it by producing higher quality products.

(menu courtesy of
We started off with a demonstration on how the O-Matcha drink is made in-store by one of the staff members. 

I started off with the O-Macha (traditional green tea), and chose the hot version. Note that there is a 3-degree (matcha) scale at Tsujiri Toronto (mild, medium, and strong) indicated by the number of leaf icons, and this drink is listed as a 3. If you're new to matcha, then I wouldn't recommend this drink as it has a very strong bitter taste to it. I would probably start light with one of the matcha lattes. Speaking of leaves, the founder discovered a way to transport tea by inventing a tea cabinet that keeps them fresh longer. This resulted in the revive of the popularity of Uji tea, and made the company what it is today. 

3-degree (matcha) scale at Tsujiri
The O-Matcha Black Sesame Latte is part of their hot drinks series, and is well-crafted. The matcha and black sesame blended nicely with one another, without one being overpowering over the other. Compared to other large chains that also offer matcha lattes, the one at Tsujiri isn't too sweet.

For me, the highlight of the evening was the Tsujiri Sundae, as I loved how well the ingredients are layered with one another. The contrasting texture was most welcomed with the layering of the matcha soft serve, brown rice cracker, red bean paste, mochi, and topped off with a sakura cookie. The matcha and red bean flavors seem the most dominant of all, but the crunch of the cracker adds to the texture.

I enjoyed the sundae, but the Tsujiri Soft Serve on its own is sure to be a crowd pleaser. The soft serve comes in three flavors; matcha, vanilla or mix (cone or cup). I opted for their matcha cone, and found it to be rich, full of matcha flavor, and wasn't overly sweet. It should be noted that it had a nice thick consistency, as it wasn't watered down.

The Tsujiri Float is their variation of an ice-cream float with matcha ice blend topped off with soft serve. Perfect for a warm summer day!

The Houjicha Latte consists of a vibrant tea blend that has a nice subtle roasted flavor.

 Tsujiri Latte (cold)

Tsujiri Shaved Ice

Uji Kintoki

Yuzu O-Matcha

Chiffon Cake Sundae

Additionally, they also have drinks made exclusively for the Toronto location with the infusion of matcha and maple syrup into their hot drink series (not pictured). 

Tsujiri Toronto is a wonderful addition to the Yonge/Dundas area where there has been several Japanese businesses as of late. They have an extensive list of matcha items on their menu, and I truly believe there's something for everyone here (especially those who have sweet tooths). As a fan of matcha and Japanese culture, I am excited to return to Tsujiri again when I am in the area next. Thank you to the management team and staff at Tsujiri Toronto for the invitation and warm hospitality.

Address: 147 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5G 1P5

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Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

TSUJIRI Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tsujiri Toronto

by on Friday, March 11, 2016
Tsujiri is a renowned green tea brand that is known throughout Asia for their matcha-based drinks and desserts. The company was first esta...
Aka Teppan is a take on popular Hong Kong chain, Pepper Lunch, where meat dishes are cooked on tabletop hot plates. I went to the newly opened location on Bloor St W to meet up with some friends for lunch. Aka Teppan is currently running some lunch specials (ends September 15), where dishes range from $7.99 to $10.49. My friends, and I were the first customers during the lunch hour on a warm Saturday afternoon. However, service started picking up once we were in the middle of our lunch, and more people arrived. The overall ambiance was clean, minimalist, and bright with wooden tables.  

Since pictures of this particular dish has flooded my Instagram feed, I opted for the Supreme Beef Teppanyaki Rice ($7.99). It arrived in a personal-sized teppan that was steaming hot at 300°F, and came with raw beef, corn, green onions, sauce, and steamed white rice. All you have to do is mix everything together, and cook the beef to your liking. The heat from the teppan will thoroughly cook the raw meat, and ingredients. Our server asked if we wanted him to mix our teppanyaki rice for us, which we appreciated. I thought that the sauce mixture blended quite well with all of the ingredients including the black pepper, and the beef slices were tender enough. I also added an extra raw egg (+$1) to the mix, and it added a nice texture to the rice.

I have read several reviews that have mentioned the poor service up at the Markham location, as they are often quite busy. However, I thought that the service at the downtown location was attentive, and good. I liked that our server mixed our dishes for us, and quickly took our dishes away when we finished our lunch. My friends, and I were able to continue our conversation after our meal, and never once felt rushed. Overall, Aka Teppan was a pretty solid option for a quick lunch, and I would definitely return.

Address: 394 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1X4

Aka Teppan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Aka Teppan (Now Closed)

by on Wednesday, September 09, 2015
Aka Teppan is a take on popular Hong Kong chain, Pepper Lunch, where meat dishes are cooked on tabletop hot plates. I went to the newly ope...
 Chung Gi Wa is a hidden gem located in Mississauga at the corner of Haines Rd & Dundas St East. The restaurant itself is pretty tucked away, as we only found the restaurant randomly while driving to Popeyes one night. We walked in and was greeted by a very cheerful server, and quickly seated in one of the available booths. Chung Gi Wa serves both Japanese and Korean dishes.

Similarly to all Korean restaurants, we were served several dishes of complimentary bachan which were refillable. The bachan that were available were kimchi, bean sprouts, radish with carrots, and glass noodles. 

On my first visit, I opted for the Kam Ja Tang ($7.99) - pork bone soup with potato and vegetables in hot broth served with rice. First off, I'd have to say that the pork bone soup was priced well (at least according to Mississauga standards) for what you get. The order arrived in a hot bowl with three large pieces of pork bone and potatoes. The dish was flavorful, and perfectly spiced for my liking.

Soon Tofu ($8.99) - soft tofu soup (pork) served with rice.

The two of us enjoyed the Salmon Maki ($4.99) that we got another order after finishing up the first one. There was a generous portion of fish and the right amount of rice making it quite tasty.

Sashimi Tempura Bento - sashimi (9 pcs), shrimp (3 pcs) with vegetables tempura, California roll (6 pcs), rice, miso, and green salad ($17.99).

On my second visit, I decided to try out one of the Japanese dishes on the menu. I opted for the Teriyaki Dinner - broiled beef teriyaki, rice, miso, and green salad ($15.99). The price was relatively comparable to downtown pricing (maybe $1 more), but overall it wasn't too expensive. I enjoyed the thinly sliced and tender beef, and there was a generous portion of beef. 

On both occasions, we had the same cheerful server who was friendly, and attentive. She came into the booth from time to time to check up on us, without being super intrusive.

Chung Gi Wa Japanese & Korean Restaurant on Urbanspoon