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Posts Tagged ‘Japanese’

A comforting sign on the sidewalk bears the image of a cartoon sumo wrestler. Diners walk up a flight of stairs to the hole in a wall on the second floor. Multiple portable air conditioners and fans occupy every available window and at least one other one by the cash register, which displays a few Japanese snacks for sale, keeping the place reasonably cool during the summer. Diners sit at tables covered in plastic and peruse a menu with items ranging from the promised ramen (replete with helpful picture and labels), to edamame or eel appetizers and mochi ice cream dessert. I got #8, the beef ramen, the both times we’ve dined here. The large, satisfying bowl includes house-made ramen noodles (not the squiggly instant noodles, in case anyone was wondering), bean sprouts, half a medium-boiled egg, thinly sliced beef, corn, scallions, dried garlic stems. The miso broth was a tad salty and the soya broth less so. Prices are reasonable. The clientele seems to be mostly young people and families.

Metro: Place d’Armes

1007 Boulevard Saint-Laurent and Rue de la Gauchetiere Ouest

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This used to be Hanashima in 2009 – I don’t know what the story is behind the name change, but the menu, decor, and servers stayed the same.

Minimalistic modern shabu shabu hole in the wall, seated communally around a long u-shaped table. Affordable yet satisfying. Diners select their main course – chicken, pork, beef, or vegetable – and their broth – traditional, spicy, or chicken. Spicy seemed to be the most popular, though I enjoy chicken broth. You get a small bowl of rice, a large wok of broth and two plates – one with thin raw slices of your meat or veggie entrée and one full of sliced napa, greens, carrot, daikon, mushroom, and udon. I enjoy playing with my food (looove mushu pork and those Vietnamese rice tortillas that you roll yourselves at the table), and I get a kick out of placing each item into the broth just before I eat it. The meat slices cook within seconds. My husband enjoys the food, though is sometimes frustrated at the effort involved with dipping things into the broth and then scooping them out – it does tend to get a little messy and I’m not sure I’d recommend it for those unused to using chopsticks or for small children who might not be trusted near a hot pot. This might be a good date place.

Service is hit or miss; one to two servers take care of the entire restaurant (and possibly everything in the kitchen, too, from what we’ve seen). Sometimes there’s green tea or red bean ice cream, sometimes not.

75 Rue de la Gauchetière Ouest at Rue St. Urbain

metro: Place d’Armes

See my September 2009 review here.

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It was a cold, rainy week night when I decided to go out for sushi instead of cook for myself after a long, grueling day. I entered this sushi resto with low expectations, thinking that due to its location on the corner of the Notre Dame Basilica it would be a dingy tourist trap. The experience, repeated a few days later, turned out to be quite pleasant.

Many of the tables in this small resto are actually perched on top of individual fish tanks. As one dines, one can observe the brightly colored fish hang out mere inches below the plates. Although dining alone, I was sufficiently amused with observing my own personal fish during my meal.

Sushi and sashimi were beautifully presented on charming dishes with fresh, ripe fruit – strawberries, blueberries, oranges, and a single ground cherry. The sushi rice was just above room temperature, which greatly added to the culinary experience. So many low-end sushi joints don’t understand that such rice should never be served chilled. This was more of a mid-range resto, though snobs might complain that it isn’t “authentic” sushi (the resto is mostly Chinese-run).  The cooked fish were hot and freshly seared, and one can hear the sizzle and smell the savory, smokey odors emanating from the nearby kitchen. Ice cream portions were generous. Service was personable and efficient.

metro: Place d’Armes

140 Rue Notre Dame O. and Rue de Callière

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Minimalistic modern shabu shabu hole in the wall, seated communally around a long u-shaped table. Affordable yet satisfying. Diners select their main course – chicken, pork, beef, or vegetable – and their broth – traditional, spicy, or chicken. Spicy seemed to be the most popular, though I enjoyed my chicken broth. You get a small bowl of rice, a large wok of broth and two plates – one with thin raw slices of your meat or veggie entre and one full of sliced napa, carrot, daikon, mushroom, and udon. I enjoy playing with my food (looove mushu pork and those Vietnamese rice tortillas that you roll yourselves at the table), and got a kick out of placing each item into the broth just before I was to eat it. My husband enjoyed the food, though was sometimes frustrated at the effort involved with dipping things into the broth and then scooping them out – it does tend to get a little messy and I’m not sure I’d recommend it for those unused to using chopsticks or for small children who might not be trusted near a hot pot.

Service was hot or miss; one server took care of the entire restaurant (and possibly everything in the kitchen, too, from what we could see). It took her twenty minutes to give us tea (it comes with) and we didn’t get a daikon amuse bouche like the rest of the diners and though she told us there was no more green tea ice cream, we heard her then offer it to the people sitting next to us. Perhaps we looked too scruffy to be bothered with; perhaps we should dress like high rollers next time.

75 Rue de la Gauchetiere O at Rue St. Urbain

metro: Place d’Armes

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The best sushi I’ve had in a while, countered by truly terrible service. I had put my name down one busy Friday evening, and when my husband walked in first they basically told him to go away and they couldn’t find my name. Anyways, we did manage to get space at the sushi bar, though the service was extremely slow and you basically had to grab a server in order to get anything.

The sushi and non-sushi appetizers were inspired – even the sushi combo, which is usually a generic assortment of tuna, salmon, and shrimp had a caviar piece, octopus, and some kind of mix of crunchy tempura bits. Eel pastry with dragon sauce was excellent, as was the fried eggplant served in broth. I ordered sake for the hell of it, and saw them microwave the decanter before serving it to me. I’ve only tasted sake a couple of times, and wasn’t impressed this time, either, though I will say that the decanter kept the watery sake warm like tea for an impressive amount of time.

There were many screaming, partying college students out for a good time on the street outside and the interior decor doesn’t even make an attempt at ambiance. Note the small selection of Japanese snacks available for purchase at the register.

3469 Ave. du Parc at Rue Milton

Metro: Place des Arts

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