Among my circle of friends, there are a few sushi enthusiasts. Consequently, whenever a new sushi restaurant opens, a number of them are inclined to go. On the other hand, I am usually more sceptical; I tend to sit back and await the responses from these intrepid foodies. And so, I have been reluctant to dine at  JaBistro for the longest time as I associate the restaurant with expensive fusion cuisine. I am a sushi traditionalist and abhor avant-garde creations like dragon rolls and Philadelphia rolls (cream cheese, the audacity!)

However, my recent visit to JaBistro has made me re-evaluate my assumptions. In summary, the sashimi and sushi were reasonably fresh and the service was good. I will likely return but will make a point not to order any items from their à la carte sushi menu due to its outrageous price.

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The sake selection was acceptable, but the Riedel tumbler was an inspired change from the traditional sake cup as it allows for better aromatic delivery of the rice wine.

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We paid $130 for the large lobster platter (a smaller version is available for $80). The name lobster platter was a bit misleading; apart from a few pieces of lobster sashimi, the platter consisted of assorted pieces of fish, scallops, jumbo shrimps, squid, octopus, and wagyu beef sashimi. For the price and the quality, it was a reasonably good deal.

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The lobster head from our platter was used to make lobster miso soup, which was more flavourful relative to a regular miso soup.

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Kama is grilled fish collar, typically seasoned with sea salt. The flesh (especially the piece from the fish’s cheek) was soft and juicy.

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Kyukyoku for $55 is the chef’s selection of 11 pieces of premium sushi. Our order came with wagyu beef, lobster, cuttlefish (ika), giant clam (mirugai), crab (kani) and a few other types of fish. I enjoyed them thoroughly as they were all very fresh. However, as I used my hand to pick up a piece (which is the traditional Japanese way to eat sushi), the rice began to fall apart. Apprentices typically aren’t allowed to touch the fish until they’ve mastered the art of cooking the rice. For a trained and seasoned sushi chef who should be well-versed in the art of sushi, this is unacceptable.

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Most recommended: Lobster platter

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Suggestions for improvements:

1. Re-evaluate the markup of the à la carte sushi menu (special of the day). For example, one piece of ika nigiri for $7 is highly de-motivating, regardless from where it is imported.

2. Ensure that the rice stays intact when the nigiri is picked up.

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