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It’s not often you arrive at a restaurant and find out your server has been with the group for over 6 years. This was the case at Sushi Taxi, a restaurant group that has been around since the dawn of Quebec sushi
Kyo is the newest and perhaps boldest offering to come out of the Antonopoulos Group’s restaurant making machine. With hot spots like Auberge du Vieux-Port, Verses, Mechant Boeuf, Taverne Gaspar, Bevo and a handful of others under their belt, creating a restaurant concept, setting it up and running it successfully is something that the Antonopoulos Group can do seemingly blindfolded. It is worthy to note that Kyo is their first venture in serving up ethnic food.
Tsukiji Fish Market is the central hub for the buying and selling of fish and seafood in Tokyo. Anything that lives in the sea can be found here – from above average quality to the most premium sashimi grade kind of stuff that is not only hard to find but costs an arm and a leg too. There are also fish auctions that are held here. If you’ve seen Jiro Dreams of Sushi, the scene where Jiro’s son attends the tuna auction at the market is pretty spot on.
Aikawa is not what it used to be. Once a shining beacon of light in the West Island sushi scene (okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration), Aikawa brought a sort of sophistication to the Japanese cuisine relative to the other places around here. Serving primarily Japanese fusion, the place definitely does not stick to the rules and has no qualms about serving items such as
Yuukai has been one of my favourite restaurants in Montreal since I moved here 6 or 7 years ago. What brought me there initially was the elusive search for a bring your own wine sushi restaurant with good sushi and affordable prices. Restaurants with all of these properties are quite a rare breed in Montreal and Yuukai quickly became one of my go to restaurants.
Mikasa has locations across the city, including Laval, the Rive-Sud, Marche Centrale and downtown Montreal. The latter spot is probably the most well known among Montrealers as it was the scene of a fatal freak accident back in 2009. The restaurant is relatively low key and offers decent sushi for a little above average sushi prices. We headed to the spot by Marche Centrale on Acadie which is a little trickier to find as the entrance is tucked around the back of a compound mini strip mall. We’ve been here a few times before but mostly for the lunch special.
I passed by ShuRaku quite a few times during my last few trips to Vancouver and it didn’t stand out to me from the outside. When I travel for work I always have to stay downtown and so my options for restaurants are somewhat limited. ShuRaku came up on a Friday night when I was looking for a really great sushi dinner and a few Japanese beers.
As soon as I walked in I was immediately impressed with the interior and ambiance. I have to go out of my way to say that the service at ShuRaku was probably the best and most friendly I’ve had in years. Even more charming was that it appeared that the entire staff spoke Japanese quite well – even those who looked born and bred Canadian. Orders were authentically shouted to the kitchen and I had a chat with one of the sushi chefs who made excellent suggestions.
I started with the Chef’s Choice Sashimi along with a Mackerel Roll and the Volcano Roll. I was really hungry so I followed that with a Salmon Tartar with Crispy Seaweed Tempura and the coveted Toro Sashimi, a specialty cut of Tuna Belly (the fattiest part). Vancouver magazine described the sashimi at ShuRaku as “achingly fresh” and I can say this is no hyperbole, it really is. Great choice for lunch or dinner.
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Aziatik is a pan-asian restaurant located just off McGill Street on the western edge of Old Montreal. The vibe they are trying to establish is upscale and the interior is well decorated. The menu was recently expanded to offer an even broader representation of Asian cuisine. My favorite dish at this spot is the thai duck which is served sizzling on a plate. This time, we ordered Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura, Crispy fried Squids with salt, pepper, onions and bell peppers, Cantonese Chow Mein, Red Curry and Coconut Milk Vegetables and Spicy Tuna / Spicy Salmon rolls.
For lunch, we went to the Yamato restaurant for some Japanese cuisine. Whetting our appetites with a plate of crunchy marinated burdock roots, we eagerly waited for the the deluxe sashimi assortment. It was a nice mix of different elements that are harder to find as fresh in places like Montreal. The squid was very tender and chewy, the tuna and salmon melted in your mouth. As for the tempura shrimp, mushrooms, sweet potatoes and asparagus, each item was deep fried to perfection. The tea kettle soup was one of my favorites of the entire meal – it was tasty and full of nutrients, being composed of the juices of clams and mushrooms and a hint of lemon. Served piping hot, the tea kettle is served with a miniature cup that rests on top – you flip it down and use it to drink the broth out of. I thought it was a compact way to serve the dish and an aesthetically pleasing one too.