Summerlicious 2014 Restaurant #3: Shibui Robata Bar

Located at the lower level of 230 Adelaide St W in Toronto

Just before we went out to Beyoncé and Jay Z’s phenomenal concert, On the Run Tour, 6 of us dined out at Shibui Robata Bar, a Japanese restaurant that has a fun twist with the way its food is cooked — they are apparently the only restaurant in Toronto that uses live fire cooking.  They are located at the downstairs level of the Copacabana Restaurant (serving all-you-can-eat Brazilian meats).  

Ume Yuzu Mojito. $10
rum, yuzu, plum syrup, shiso leaf

As our reservation was for 6pm, we were early enough to avoid the crowd as the night wore on.  This was the first downtown restaurant I’ve seen in a long time where every single table was filled and the place was bustling.  There was even people waiting to be called for a table when we left.  Despite the full house, the service was great and every course was delivered quickly one after the other.

We started off with drinks where the majority of us ordered the Ume Yuzu Mojito.  I tried to ask the server for recommendations but her limited English wasn’t able to inform me of very much.  My first sip of the mojito made me feel the alcohol immediately but none of the other girls said they felt the drink was very strong-flavoured.  It was all right.

Chilean Sea Bass Dumplings

We started off with the appetizers.  Most of us ordered the Chilean Sea Bass Dumplings.  On their regular menu, these dumplins come at a price of $12!  What!  Considering that our summerlicious prix fixe meal was $35, I thought that this was a steal.

We all fell in love with how crispy the outside of the dumpling was fried and how soft and thin the dumpling skin was (you can see it for yourself in the picture).  We couldn’t really distinguish the taste of the sea bass in the dumpling and it reminded me more of pork instead of fish.  The little cup of sauce that accompanied the 4 dumplings also was delicious.  It was peanut butter-y and a little salty.  It was a great accompaniment to the dish.

I tried a bit of the Kinoko Salad that Betty ordered and found it crisp and refreshing.

I didn’t try the Crispy Rice with Salmon/Tuna appetizer, but they all said good things about it.  Here’s the picture regardless, haha:

Crispy Rice with Salmon/Tuna
pan seared sushi rice

Next up was the main course.  Compared to all other prix fixe restaurants where you choose a single item from a list of 3-6 items, Shibui Robata Bar offered you three choices in three separate lists: one for a maki/sashimi, one for a robata protein, and one for a robata vegetable.

This meant that our table all got different variations of the combinations of choices.  I ordered the Shibui salmon maki roll, lamb chop, and cremini mushrooms.

Shibui Salmon Maki
spicy salmon, tempura flakes, salmon on top

Pirikara Ebi Maki
crispy fried shrimp, asparagus, cucumber, chili mayo sauce

The salmon maki roll was delicious!!  It arrived beautifully on a long plate and each piece was the perfect fit in your mouth.  I tried a piece of the ebi shrimp roll from Anna too but other than the little fried shrimp that was pierced through with a toothpick, I didn’t distinguish anything else different about the flavour.

Lamb Chops (spicy Korean miso glaze) 
Cremini Mushrooms (teriyaki sauce)

Mmm, I loved this next part of the meal!  I chose lamp chops that were perfectly cooked by fire.  They were so juicy and flavourful.  It was a little charred on one side, but other than that, the meat was a little fatty which made it tender.  Yum!  I love perfectly cooked lamb chops!  😀  They only gave us one piece as I heard that on their regular menu, they provide you with two pieces; makes sense since Summerlicious allows you to try higher-end restaurants at a lower price.

The cremini mushrooms were big, plump, and fresh.  I also tried the asparagus which were flavourful.  The eggplant had pickled carrots on top of it which was a nice finish to the meal.  As well, there was a small carefully carved piece of radish that was a little sour and spicy.  It was very unique!

Black Cod (miso marinated)
Cremini Mushrooms (teriyaki sauce)

Lamb Chops (spicy Korean miso glaze)
Asparagus (sesame teriyaki)

Pork Belly (shichimi pepper)
Sweet Potato (red miso sauce)

Black Cod (miso marinated)
Asparagus (sesame teriyaki)

Zach really enjoyed the prime rib (it was already pre-cut up for him on his plate) and Betty got full on the pork belly very quickly (she said there was very little fat on it and mostly meat).  I’m not sure how Winnie and Anna liked their black cods.

Prime Rib Eye (smoked salt, lemon salt, in a garlic brown butter)
Sweet Potato (red miso sauce)

Passion Fruit Mousse

For dessert, I was the only one who ordered the passion fruit mousse.  Usually I order cake, but the mousse sounded unique and I’m glad I ordered it.  It was very smooth and creamy.  Loved it!  The matcha green tea powder on the side of the plate added a nice touch to the dessert.

Everyone else ordered the ‘petite gateau’.  Instead of a soft chocolate cake, it ended up being more of a chocolate bar.  It tasted more rich and hard textured than a cake would taste.  I’m glad I ordered the mousse. 🙂  On this night, they had run out of the mango gelato which disappointed Zach.

Petit Gateau

Very rarely do I want to visit a restaurant for a second visit immediately after dining there

All in all, this was an amazing restaurant.  I loved the food offerings and all the choices!  The dumplings were mouth-wateringly delicious, the maki rolls were perfect, and that lamb chop was exquisite.  I’ve never said that I would visit a Aummerlicious restaurant for a second time since I feel that once is enough for most restaurants, but I truly think I can try out even more on a second visit.  I would order the rice appetizer next time for sure and try out the black cod or prime rib. 🙂

Thanks for reading my review of Shibui Robata Bar!!

Shibui Robata Bar on Urbanspoon

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About stenoodie

I'm a stenographer, foodie, avid traveller, and a really silly person if you get to know me well enough. =)
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