Japas Japanese Tapas and Oyster Bar 647.748.8847 Open daily lunch & dinner http://japasoysterbar.com
The feeling takes you out of Toronto and into a tavern somewhere in-between Korea and Japan. Korean music videos play on television screens scattered throughout the restaurant. The bar is nice; large benches and wood dominate the room. Think serene tavern more than crazy restaurant. The menu is a mix of Japanese and Korean with a splash of French. The portion sizes are small and meant to be shared, however, are pricy. Servers, though sweet, crack under pressure.
Clean tasting smooth Ozeki Sake fills the palate with citrus notes (excellent beginner’s sake). The menu is busy with classic and modern dishes – a few I had never heard of. Oysters of the day include Kushi (low brininess, watermelon finish), Shigoku (earthy, creamy ending with cucumber), French Kiss (salty, clean finish), Gooseberry (high salinity, short finish) and Pickle Point (umami). Uni Sashimi is creamy and silky, one of the freshest I’ve had in the city, but a little pricy at $18.
Salmon tartar served on a baguette confusing the palate. The dish isn’t a failure, just an interesting combination. Scallop sashimi is buttery and subtle. The baked oyster takes 15 minutes to make and arrives in Ramekin with baked egg whites, earthy mushrooms, sliced oyster, and fatty bits of fried bacon.
Ankou Karaage (lightly battered deep fried monk fish) served with a vinegary salad is one of my favourites on the menu. Crispy wild jumbo shrimp tempura, hot and buttery inside, topped with green tea salt or Japas special wasabi mayo is a delight.