A relatively new, casual Japanese sushi joint on The Drive, Juno Provisions is the latest restaurant venture from restaurateur/Chef Jun Okamura and Head Sushi Chef Ken Kodama. It opened at 2247 Commercial Drive in December 2021 (in the space across from Jamjar Canteen, on the same block as City Avenue Market) but just recently came onto our radar.
After sizing up and sampling some of the menu, it’s obvious to us that this is not your average “Grab n’ Go” establishment. Yes, it’s small (850sqft). Yes, it’s convenient (the coolers are stocked with pre-packaged and ready-to-eat options). But the quality of the ingredients and attention to detail put into every item is top-notch – much like Okamura (previously Juno Sushi Bistro, Ramenman) and Kodama (Ramenman) themselves. This is grab-and-go fare that you’d actually rather slow down and savour. For those who have the time to do that, there are currently six seats available for dine-in, divided between a short, wall-facing bar and a few coveted window-facing spots perfect for people-watching.
As for the menu: like the space it’s tight, and a good portion of the options are made to order, including the vegetable inari trio ($11, pictured above), and custom donburi bowls (Regular 3 Toppings on 200g of Sushi Rice, or Large 4 Toppings on 260g Sushi Rice), assembled from the daily toppings selection, written in erasable marker on a whiteboard in order to keep up with availability. For the hungry and indecisive bunch (like myself) other main offerings include two kinds of oishi sushi (regular or spicy, 6 pieces for $15), a Bara Chirashi donburi ($15), and a Wagyu beef donburi ($20, available in limited quantities). The latter is a standout, and features a pinwheel of slender slices of 72-hour brined sous vide Wagyu Brisket atop a layer of garlicky Napa cabbage and sushi rice. Accompaniments/snacks include some Japanese standards (spinach gomae, seaweed salad, sashimi), and an unexpected Kani Su option ($8) – three bite-sized cucumber-wrapped sushi pieces alongside vinegar-doused kombu, radish and lemon slices.
For dessert, the mason jars of Grandma’s Custard Pudding ($6) may not look like much on the shelf, but the standards here are set so high that the contents must be excellent. “Grandma” is Chizuko (“Chiz”) Uehara (no relation) and, with her bubbly hospitality (she also works behind the counter) and bright multi-coloured hair, she is an absolute treat in of herself. “She has been feeding us her home made sweets ever since our ramen time, so I wanted her skills recognized as well,” says Okamura, “Cooking dessert at home is her serious hobby.”
So order food from these guys, but make sure you pick it up, if you can. Not only are they great to meet in-person – always a bonus and flavour enhancer, in our books – but delivery apps are really hard on the small businesses that are more or less strong-armed into using them. Make sure your money goes where it matters – not to third party companies who don’t give a shit.
Juno Provisions is open 7 days a week, from 11am to 8pm, except on Statutory Holidays.
Why We Care: Opening a restaurant is a big deal under any circumstances, never mind the recent/current extraordinary ones. The persistence of the team at Juno is admirable. They have stuck to their guns, and they have a great little operation going that we think deserves the community’s support.