*UPDATE MAY 2014 – District Bistro is now Mazz Bistro which is still serving up Japanese fare. Not sure if it’s the same owner*
As an Asian, most of my sushi-eating experiences have been at Chinese-owned AYCE (all-you-can-eat) buffet restaurants where the sushi is not bad, but not great either. Since 2 years ago when I decided to take the oath of non-allegiance (mostly for the sake of my waist line) I’ve been labelled by some friends as the sushi nazi. They can call me whatever they want – I’m just glad that I no longer walk out of an AYCE wishing I had worn my stretchy pants, or feeling way beyond uncomfortably full.I purchased a Groupon to District Bistro in Leslieville which included an appetizer (Miso soup or edamame), 2 maki rolls and sake pairings (with each course). The Groupon was $39. We were a group of 3, so we also ordered some items à la carte.
The restaurant reminds me loosely of a high-end sushi joint you’d find somewhere in the middle of Manhattan. It’s more of a resto-bar in terms of the look and feel. It isn’t a huge restaurant (probably seats around 40) and the little nook we were tucked into would make a heavier person feel uncomfortable. Luckily, we were able to squeeze into the booth without having body parts ooze off the table.
We opted for the edamame as starters (choice of spicy is also available). We ordered one of each. I must say the spicy one was neither here nor there and I would’ve been perfectly happy with the usual salt-sprinkled edamame.
The Assorted Sashimi (18 pieces, $20) is quite a good deal and there was a healthy variety of fish that graced our plate. Some of their fusion rolls were not so good, such as the District Roll ($13) which incorporated cream cheese among its ingredients. Mayo is probably the only welcome intrusion in Japanese dishes that I willingly accept and embrace. Cream cheese belongs on a bagel, not in my sushi. Maki rolls ranged from $6 (for plain old cucumber and rice) to $18 (if you want soft shell crab).
After we asked for our bill, our server came out and told us that she actually forgot that the voucher entitled us to a sake pairing with each course, so the night ended with us pounding back shots of sake. We had tried the pear and plum one (with a bias towards the plum), so I guess you can say things ended on a sweet note?
I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to dine at District again. While nothing was bad and the service was pretty good; nothing really stood out or wowed us.