As much as I enjoy restaurants that provide good sushi at a reasonable price, like Sushi Nomi and O Sushi, there are times when I want to splurge. At JaBistro, you get what you pay for.

We started with Lobster Carpaccio: raw lobster tail with a mix of red onion, fresh peppers, greens and a soy vinaigrette. The sweet lobster contrasted with the sourness of the vinaigrette, and the raw vegetables bridged the two flavours. The result was refreshing, and surprisingly subtle.

My significant other ordered the Kyukyoku, which provided a steady parade of the freshest sushi of the day. They were eaten so quickly that we did not have time to photograph the dish. However, we fondly remember the buttery fatty tuna, the sweet and tender squid, and the most flavourful yellowtail that we have ever had.

I noticed a whole section of the menu featuring blowtorched dishes, so I order the Aburi: chef’s choice of blowtorched nigiri and oshizushi. I was provided with shrimp, salmon, mackerel, and other fresh fish. The blowtorching added a nuttiness, and brought out the sauces used to marinate the fish, while the small garnishes on top, like a dollop of wasabi and a sliver of jalapeno pepper, provided the finishing touch. Of course, the rice was at a perfect temperature. The results were unbelievably rich, multilayered flavours.

Throughout our meal, we attempted to surreptitiously divide each piece so that both of us could sample everything. One of us used our teeth, and the other wielded chopsticks like knives, but we were both an embarrassment. So, when we decided to order another dish, we were drawn to the Aburicious, in which every blowtorched oshizushi came in twos.

The service was very attentive, though our server tried hard to sell us on the drinks. The restaurant decor was warm and intimate, making up for the absence of windows, and the washroom had an unexpected playful touch: the music was a barely noticeable instrumental in the dining room, but in the washroom, some sort of traditional Japanese opera played from speakers mounted on the ceiling.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

JaBistro, 222 Richmond St. W., Toronto

Dined September 2014 – Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다 

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