Sometimes in life you find something as close to perfection as you could imagine. Our visit to Jatoba was beyond our wildest imaginations and served up a perfect meal. A delicious menu of steak and seafood influenced by an Asian flare, Chef Olivier Vigneault presents patrons with a modern take on both traditional and not so traditional dishes.
Located on Place Phillips, Jatoba borders both the downtown shopping district and the opening to the old port of Montreal. The establishment has a very modern feel, with open spaces and a high ceilings. A good sized patio is available for summer dining, but for us it was decorated for the holiday season. The staff was attentive and accommodating and made sure all of our needs were attended to. From the coat check, to the waitstaff to Chef Olivier Vigneault himself, everyone at Jatoba make sure all guests have the best dining experience in Montreal.
It was decided we would dine at the bar, this gave us the opportunity to observe the restaurant from afar and absorb the ambiance in full. Since we were already seated at the bar, cocktails were requited. We started with a five spice old fashioned and a maracuya martini, both endorsed by our attentive host for the evening Shima.
Drinks in hand it was time to dive into the menu. With so many choices and decisions, we wanted to try everything. Graciously Shima took the reigns and chose the dishes for us. To enhance our refreshments we sampled the spiced brussels sprout chips, crispy and tasty it was a nice start to our meal.
Once we had our appetites awakened, we eagerly awaited the rest of our meal. Glass of wine in hand, having finished the cocktails, before us was placed a dish of kampachi sashimi. For the first time ever, we have no words to describe a dish, simply put this is something you have to try as words cannot do it justice.
Unsure how Jatoba would top this offering we waited anxiously, we were not disappointed. The 1855 beef tataki seared in sesame oil, was perfectly complemented with mini green beans, puffed black quinoa, truffle peaches and a sonomono sauce. Between courses we enjoyed a hearty bowl of edamame sprinkled with yuzu powder, nanami togarashi and fleur de sel. As we all know the best accompaniment to any Asian meal is edamame.
The dumplings arrived as two separate dishes. the spiced oxtail was served after being braised for 12 hours, and attended by granny-smith apple, caramelized onions, jalapeno and micro cilantro, with yuzu beef stock. We wholeheartedly agree that this was the best oxtail we have ever tasted. The more traditional Gyoza dumplings, stuffed with pork, shrimp, Chinese chives, served with a side of Chinese vinegar and sambal oelek soya sauce for dipping, were almost too beautiful to eat.
The dumplings were quickly followed by the oysters au gratin and rabbit congee. Being fans of raw bars in the past we tended to avoid cooked oysters, but this will no longer be the case. These oysters were perfectly prepared and thoroughly enjoyed. The rabbit was served atop a crispy youtiao and topped with puffed rice, green onions, uzura and micro cilantro. We think it would be safe to say the rabbit never tasted so good.
Our final dinner dish was a combination of three separate plates but went together as if they were destined to do so, Jatoba black cod, king oyster mushrooms and fried rice with duck confit. The cod served over sauteed vegetables and celery root puree melted in our mouths as each bite. The fried rice with duck confit was ideally seasoned and was a wonderful twist on the traditional chicken fried rice. Finally the king oyster mushrooms in a sweet miso gratin, this was beyond any doubt our favorite dish of the night. We guess Chef Vigneault saved the best for last.
No meal can ever be complete without a sampling of afters. We were so pleased Shima was designing our menu, because there was no way we were going to be able to decide on one dessert. What a delight to be served the chocolate bomb with passion fruit sorbet on the side. The bomb is served as a sphere and covered with a generous portion of hot chocolate. As the bomb melts away it reveals orange yogurt cake with white chocolate mousse. Just for the record, yes it tastes as good as it sounds.
We would like to thank the entire Jatoba team for sharing their delightful menu with us. It is a remarkable establishment serving Montreal a most memorable experience.