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BITE: Super Sushi
Pay Chen: You won't find any fake crab sticks at JaBistro

“I’m sick of sushi.” — words I will never say.

“More fake crab stick!” — also words I will never say.

Thankfully you won’t find any crab stick at JaBistro. It’s the new Japanese baby belonging to James HyunSoo Kim, who also opened the Guu restaurants and Kinton Ramen. If you’ve dined at Guu or Kinton Ramen, you will understand when I say that JaBistro is the quieter sibling in the family. Located in the Entertainment District, JaBistro is a modern Japanese restaurant with a short and simple menu. Don’t go in expecting an 8-page menu of endless sushi rolls. The focus is on high-quality fresh fish and they do excellent aburi sushi (fish that is quickly blowtorched on top but remains mostly raw) and oshizushi (sushi pressed into a mold to form a perfectly rectangular or other shape.)

Describing themselves as a “cozy hideaway”, JaBistro had their soft opening in November 2012, but only introduced their lunch menu last week. The JaBistro platter ($30) is a truly beautiful plate. On the day of my visit, it includes: a small salad with herb-marinated salmon, two little bites of battered, fried chicken with tartar sauce, Angus beef tartar, a tiny piece of pan-fried black cod, three pieces of the JaBistro roll, 3 pieces of aburi sushi (salmon, mackerel, and shrimp), and a small cup of rich, and perfectly salty lobster bisque. For someone who loves to try a bite of everything, this gives you a bite of everything. It also includes dessert. The dessert offerings are nothing outrageous. Tiramisu, ice cream, or the dessert of the day: a traditional Japanese dessert called, anmitsu. If you’re in a Japanese restaurant, why would you order the tiramisu? The anmitsu, though perhaps not something that will wow your taste buds, is a nice way to end a meal. It’s a cold ginger milk pudding with cubes of green tea jelly and a small scoop of green tea jelly with some mandarin orange slices and strawberries.

JaBistro is a nice lunch or dinner treat if you’re looking for a unique Japanese dining experience.

Follow JaBistro on Twitter: @JaBistro222


Pay Chen is a TV host, writer, and producer who puts a lot of things in her mouth. If you have a favourite spot in the city to share, follow her on Twitter at @PayChen.

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