As the province of Ontario entered Stage 2 and patio dining became permissible, I had flocked to the websites and social media accounts of many of my favourites to confirm their re-opening process. Much to my excitement, JaBistro's patio had reopened just in time for the annual celebratory event of summer babies.
Inside, the hostess greeted us immediately. The interior dining hall had been closed off, with a small desk positioned by the entrance, a plexiglass barrier uprighted for staff protection. Constituting a member of the Kinka family, JaBistro required the completion of a Health Declaration Form, much like Kinton. Affixing one's signature on the sheet was synonymous to conformation of coronavirus-free conditions and safe health practices, where applicable. An aspect that surprised me was the deviation from website policy: safe body temperature was not verified for any member of our party.
The second level featured two single stall bathrooms, one per gender, and were cleaned once during our three-hour-ish stay.
Eventually, the final lineup emerged: Sashimi Platter, Hamachi Kama, and Aburicious.
Hotate with ikura (scallop wish fish roe), chu-toro (mid fatty tuna belly), and sake (salmon) upheld the restaurant's freshness guarantee. Akami (tuna loin) was pinker than it was red, yet supple nonetheless. Zuwaigani (snow crab) sections were less starchy and less synthetic than than the supermarket-grade kanikama to which many are accustomed; texture-wise, there wasn't a noticeable departure though. Botanebi (spot prawn) and tai (sea bream) were not sampled on this endeavour.
Condiments included togarashi, a Japanese spice powder blend, grated daikon, a soy dipping sauce, and a wedge of lemon. Due to the content of fine bones and minimal priability, pouring the sauce on top assumed a more reasonable approach than dipping. To the best of my memory, the Hamachi Kama proved as equally delectable as the Gindara.
Hitachino Nest White Ale was refreshing, invigorating, and slightly fruity - a wonderful complement to seafood, in particular scallop and tuna.
Far from an Aburicious novice, I shall profess that my fascination towards the signature set prevails each time.
- JaBistroll: Delicious with a plentiful coating of tobiko
- Ebi: Normally not a fan of shrimp, this was, hands down, my favourite of the evening - silky and succulent prompting instant dissolution.
- Saba: - A standard aburi item, the torched nigiri was slightly fishy but otherwise tasty. However, the best rendition probably lies in Vancouver.
- Sake/Salmon - Disappearing in a matter of two bites, the classic item was thoroughly delightful and definitely did not disappoint.
Succeeding both experiences was JaBistro, whose presentation of the beverage was anything but ordinary. Served in a tilted glass alongside a mini pitcher of club soda, it was the most refined manner to luxuriate in umeshu.
The restaurant's kind gesture materialized in the form of a cheesecake slice plated with fresh fruit, coarse azuki paste, and an adorable matcha heart. A thin graham cracker crust was an unexpected twist; dampness exceeded crunchiness, though I minded not as my cheesecake preference lies with thin-crust or no crust at all. The unlikely incorporation of cucumbers as decorative elements was also amusing.