Any omakase experiance possible in MTL?
- porker Nov 6, 2008 08:40 PM
I've often times watched with envy as sushi chefs gushed with creativity and served guests what THEY thought was best (but only on foodnetwork...).
Omakase style where you put your trust in the chef and he decides what you're gonna eat.
I've eaten sushi at a dozen or so 'mainstream' restaurants in Montreal (the likes of Sho-Dan, Tokira (formerly Koji's), Bishoku, Miyako, Sakura, Kaizan, etc etc), but I feel if I asked about this, their chef will simply put together "Sushi/Sashimi plate, 29 pieces" or something like that.
I might have had more confidence in Sho-dan a few years ago, but with their 'star' chefs scattered to the wind, I dunno.
Any thoughts? emerilcantcook mentioned Tri Express back in February, but was somewhat vague.
Or do I wait for Manhatten?
ECC reporting here. Tri Express omakase experience was odd. Firstly, it was a little too raw fish heavy; I would have preferred some old school cooked dishes to balance things out. But hey, I don't think cooked dishes were their speciality. Second, lets be honest, it is not really omakase. I would call it a "chefs tasting menu" with a fixed price. Third and worst, the execution lacks the grace one would expect from an omakase dinner. Even though we had reservations (so we weren't taking up someone else's table), the whole experience lasted like 40 minutes before we were kicked out. Our new dishes were coming before the former were finished. It was rather unpleasant, even though the raw fish was the best ever I have tasted on this side of the border. I always refer to this meal as "my most expensive dinner per minute". Perhaps the "express" in the name should have tipped me. Will I go there again? Sure, but perhaps for takeout.
We also had a much more pleasant tasting menu experience at Jun i (though warning: some hounds have reported horrible service there). I liked that there were cooked/braised dishes in addition to raw fish in this menu, but in the end it was a pre-set tasting menu.
Long story short, I am not even sure omakase, the way I know it, exists in this town. The closest you can get is a tasting menu with a pre-set progression of dishes.
Porker, I'd say wait for Manhattan if what you want is omakase sushi/sashimi. Montreal isn't the best place for sushi.
But if you want to have the chef choose your food, I did report a while back on Takara:
Very fun meal. Sushi was not the strength, but the selection of dishes was very reasonable, and we got things that we would not have ordered otherwise, and we really enjoyed them.
Tomo in Rosemère offers omakase.. Tell the waiter your preferences and budget, and they will prepare something for you. Our omakase only included sushi/sashimi and maki dishes, but we really enjoyed it. I had the chance of trying Urasawa in Los Angeles last week, lets say that its very hard to compare the two places but for the price I've never been deceived with the omakase at Tomo.
I had great experiences at Jun i. Fantastic and original food and service wasn't a problem, albeit I was seated at the bar.
I have heard great things about Kaizen recently. The new chef is ex-Masa in NYC.
Best bet in Montreal is Jun I. Just make it clear that you want omakase (and that for you that doesn't mean the table d'hote).
Obviously New York (or L.A. or even, wait for it, Tokyo) would offer a range of better experiences, but you probably know that already. And if it wasn't obvious, you need to sit at the bar. You can't really be taken seriously if you ask for omakase and you're sitting at a table.
re: The Chemist
Budget at least $60 per person for an omakase experience at Jun-I, but it's well worth it. You can speak to one of the co-owners/managers (Jonathan) and they can custom-tailor something to fit your budget if you prefer to not order from the menu. They do a very good job with it. That being said though, as thelonious777 mentions, Montreal does pale in comparison to NYC and LA.