222 Richmond St. W.
I finally had some time today to sort through my photos from JaBistro. I’ve eaten dinner at this popular sushi restaurant twice now, and that resulted in a collection of over 60 photographs! I hate sorting through that many photos, which is why I haven’t shared many of my vacation pics on this blog. I just don’t have the patience for it.
But considering that I visited this restaurant back in June and August, I thought it was time to get this done.
JaBistro has been around for a couple of years now, and I had heard all kinds of good things about it from fellow bloggers. This summer I finally made it to Richmond St. in Toronto, and was able to try their delicious food for myself.
My first visit was actually kind of awkward… Mandy and I struggled to order from the menu, because we didn’t understand what many of the words meant. Thanks to Google, we were able to make some educated decisions on what we wanted to eat.
As we ate our dinner, we noticed a few interesting plates going to a group behind us. When we asked what they had ordered, we were told that they ordered something from a different menu. We assume that regular customers get special treatment, which is nice but we felt kind of left out.
Although… I’m not sure how many more menus I would have wanted. We already had two menus and a drink list to choose from.
Our second visit was much smoother, since we knew what most of the menu items were. After two visits, I can safely say that there are some dishes that JaBistro does very well. Those are the dishes that make me want to visit this restaurant over and over again. There are also a few dishes that I will avoid from now on.
First, let’s talk about JaBistro’s best dishes.
I absolutely adore the Oshizushi sushi from the Aburi menu. Oshizushi is a pressed sushi, which gives you this neat rectangular shape. Aburi means that the top of the fish (or meat) has been seared with a blowtorch. This is my favourite variation of sushi! I find that it’s less chewy than regular sushi because the protein has been flattened out, and the torching adds a wonderful smoky flavour.
The Oshizushi at JaBistro is extra special because they have come up with some great flavour combinations. For example, the Salmon Oshizushi is topped with thin slices of jalapeno, and the Ebi Oshizushi (tiger shrimp) is topped with a basil mayonnaise. The Gyu Oshizushi, made with pressed Angus beef, is different but also very tasty. Almost like a tartare.
These sushi are so rich, soft and flavourful that you won’t need to dip them in soy or wasabi.
Another clever dish from JaBistro is the Lobster Carpaccio with soy vinaigrette (see first photo). This dish is beautiful, and very fresh. I will say that the texture of the raw lobster takes some getting use to though.
I also really like the Miso Soup, which is made from a lobster miso broth. The first time I ordered this dish, the portion was small and there wasn’t any large pieces of lobster in it. The second time, the portion was much larger and there was a generous piece of lobster in the bowl. I’m not sure why I didn’t have the same experience both times, but the flavour was consistently good.
The Classic Nigiri sushi is also a good choice. The fish is fresh (no stinky fish smell here) and the rice seems to be more flavourful than other sushi rice that I’ve eaten. Again, you don’t need soy sauce or wasabi to eat these.
JaBistro has some nice cocktails, along with an extensive sake list (which I haven’t had). I enjoyed a virgin lychee cocktail during my first visit. I’m always glad to see some fun non-alcoholic drinks on a menu.
Now we’ll look at some of the weaker dishes from JaBistro. I won’t spend a lot of time talking about these, as they’re not as interesting to me.
First up is the Grilled Salmon Belly. I really didn’t care for the presentation of this dish – it looks like a snake. The salmon was cooked nicely, but it wasn’t anything special and I wouldn’t order it again.
I haven’t had much success with the fried dishes at JaBistro either. This is the Ebi Nanban (battered tiger shrimp with tartar sauce). I was hoping for a crunchy shrimp dish with a dipping sauce on the side. Instead, we were served a soggy fried mess slathered in a thick (strongly flavoured) tartar sauce.
This restaurant likes to serve fried dishes in broth, which destroys every hint of crispiness that you would expect in a fried dish.
The Agedashi suffers from the same problem. The fried oysters quickly lose their crunchy texture as they sit in the kombu dashi broth. I wish you could pour the broth over yourself, which would help preserve the fried texture until the last-minute. It’s possible (and very likely) that these are traditional dishes that are meant to be served this way, I’m just not a fan of them.
Desserts at JaBistro are hit and miss. I enjoyed my chocolate cake roll, and I thought the presentation of the dish was pretty. However…
Mandy’s matcha tiramisu looked like a mess, and it didn’t taste very good either. If you love eating raw matcha (powdered green tea), then you might enjoy this dish. We found that it was just too strongly flavoured, which made it difficult to eat.
So that’s my thoughts on JaBistro. Even though we encountered some dishes that we didn’t enjoy, it’s not enough to keep us away from this restaurant. I love their Oshizushi so much, that I often find other sushi to be bland in comparison. I’m ruined for life, but that’s ok. JaBistro just needs to stick around and keep making delicious pressed & blowtorched bites.
This is not a sponsored post.