Now you know I am a picky eater in terms of quality food, it comes with the name. But every now and then I come across something that is just so good, even I am left speechless.
For sure, this restaurant did not hit me on the blindside, I’ve read, I’ve heard, I’ve even tasted a small sample (check out my post from Taste of Toronto), but today I was going to embrace the wonder that is the modern sushi and taste how Aburi and oshizushi should be done.
For a dinner potentially this grand, I had to make sure my dining mate was up for the challenge and as passionate about food as I am – behold the lovely lady from Tooch’s Kitchen (Daniella).
Now a quick rundown of the different specialties that JaBistro has other than really high quality fish.
Aburi Sushi – Think of normal sushi but having the raw fish or beef seared with a blow torch. At the thinness that the meat or fish is cut, this creates a very interesting contrast in taste and in texture. All the sushi at JaBistro were finished with their house special soy sauce.
Oshizushi – Pressed Sushi, where the rice of the sushi is compressed into a small block. The texture of the sushi rice changes slightly and changes the overall eating experience when paired with the fish or meat.
House special soy sauce– Something that they finish all of their sushi with is a house-made soy sauce. The flavour profile of the soy sauce is sweeter and much rounder in flavour with no sharp salty notes at all. This was definitely custom made to go with sushi which tends to need something on the sweeter end of the flavour profiles than the salt. Excellent touch!
Tonight we were going to spend, so on the menu we tried:
Uni (sea urchin) sashimi $11 a serving
Creamy orange butter bits from the sea. Sea urchins are echinoids which look like spiny balls living in the sea. Crack one open and you find this super delicate orange flesh that tastes like the sea (but isn’t fishy in a bad way) and super creamy. I had amazing uni once Basho Sushi and I didn’t think I was going to experience again in that short of a time frame. I devoured the garnishes too in case you were wondering, $11 is way too much for the uni on its own, but it was amazing.
Kyukyoku, Chef’s Sushi Tasting, $55
Now this was definitely pricey, but oh so good. This is a Chef’s tasting plate of all the freshest sushi they have for the night. We did end up splitting the plate so I didn’t get to try all of the pieces, but needless to say, every piece was divine and a piece of art on its own. One of the more interesting pieces that I’ve never tried before is the geoduck sushi (pronounce goo-ey duck) which was fresh and crunchy. It’s a relative in the clam family but it’s texture is unlike any clam that I’ve tried and quite refreshing to have something with textural differences in the bite compared to the common soft fish.
JaBistro Roll, $22
This was everything I remembered from the Taste of Toronto booth from last year and more. Here you have a delicate roll filled with salmon, snow crab, uni, cucumber covered tobiko and topped with mayo that was torched. The overall roll had a very soft texture with the cucumber providing a very refreshing light crunch. The smokey torched mayo added a very nice contrast to the sweetness of the mayo and all the seafood in the roll which made it oh so more decadent.
Wagyu Oshizushi (torched), $24
As Daniella so poignantly put it, “if I was a guy, I would have a hard-on right now”. I dissected one sushi piece to try the beef on its own and it was so delicate that it started melting in my mouth. A true culinary experience that you should aim to have. A bite into a piece of wagyu oshizushi literally washed all my problems of the week away and probably gave me enough of a boost to take on some of next week’s problems too.
Seeing as the menu changes seasonally, I can definitely predict that I’ll be back here again. In terms of other interesting things I noticed while coming here, sitting by the sushi bar is way more fun and there are A LOT of Asian couples dining here. Won’t lie, this would be one of my top picks to take any foodie for a nice dinner. The dinner bill ended up being about $85 per person after taxes and tip, so for most of you, this would be something you’d have to save up for – I definitely did.
As always, I hope you’ve learned about another highlight of Toronto and your tummies are grumbling.
Until we dine again,
-The Piquey Eater