If one would ask me what cuisine I would choose other than Filipino, my impromptu response would be Japanese. I have always love the elegant simplicity of their food. Clean to the palette and very photogenic to the eye. Every plated dish was always an art in itself. One of the most trending Japanese places lately was JaBistro. For months, I have heard consistently good things about it. Last Thursday, I finally had my chance to sample it.
Ten minutes late for our reservation, I rushed as I tried to find parking at Simcoe and Richmond. I went with my friend Diona Joyce, aka TitaFlips and I just received text that she was already in JaBistro. As it was twilight, I could see the minimalistic curb appeal of the restaurant. Simple black glass and a black door with the logo in the middle, its simplicity and clean lines set it apart to the other businesses right beside it. Walking indoors, the restaurant’s receptionist ushered me with a smile. Upon learning my name, she told me that Diona was only ahead of me a few minutes, now seated in front of the sushi bar. Scanning the room, I saw that it was a narrow long restaurant. One side lined the bar, sushi kitchen and the rest of the length, hidden from view was the hot kitchen. Opposite this wall was long upholstered banquet sitting with handsome finished wood tables right in front of it. Despite the narrow orientation of the space, it didn’t feel congested. The design of the interiors was very well thought of, using every bit of space to suggest coziness.
As I settled in, the server approached us and we asked for Green Tea. There were actually three different kinds of green tea and I am not sure which one I enjoyed. Diona and I have different ones and mine was more robust in taste than hers. I guessed they cater to different levels of steepness too. Scanning through the menu, we opted for Aburi (7 blow-torched sushi) and from the bistro menu, we chose Ika and Ebi Nanban. As I didn’t have a clear understanding of how much food that was going to be, we stopped at this three choices. Loving Japanese food for a long time taught me that their food looked deceptively small, light and airy. I was glad we had that restraint as these three was enough and was really filling.
The food arrived plated in long platters meant for sharing. As I expected, plating was aesthetically pleasing to the eye. All of what we chose were utterly satisfying. The Ika plate was generous, the breading on the calamari gave a textured crunch and the sauce that coated it has a good balance of salty, sweet and tartness. The Ebi Nanban plate totally blew me away with how supple and moist each piece of shrimp that I tasted. The sweetness of each shrimp complemented the richness of the creamy tartar sauce that came along with it. Finishing the two dishes, our server came and changed our plates. I appreciate that kind of service, where the restaurant cared of what piled on the plate. The swiftness of the cleanup showed how efficient the crew were. It went so well with the minimalist theme of JaBistro.
Finally the Aburi came plated in a black granite plate. Sushi plated so beautifully, I expected an experience after finishing the first two plates. And it was exactly what I enjoyed when I started sampling. Each morsel was fresh, clean in taste and flavorful. Even the rice have the pleasant layer of taste. I cannot really put my finger on it what it was. Maybe the rice was steamed with dashi stock or expertly cooked with rice vinegar, I don’t really know. Whatever it was, it made it such a delightful impression with me.
Now I know why JaBistro have been trending at Urbanspoon. This restaurant surely made it in my list of restaurants in downtown Toronto I’d recommend in a heartbeat. Such a special place with beautiful food.