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Mar 17, 2010 07:42 PM

Kazu izakaya: OISHIII!!!

There is a new izakaya in town and it's good. Conveniently located in the heart of the Concordia Ghetto (aka Chinatown 2) this very small yet very cozy and japanese izakaya look restaurant offers authentic japanese izakaya meals (ie finger food to go with beer, like brochettes, sashimi salads, edekame etc). The place is run by a very sympathetic and "chaleureux" (the english word escapes me right now) japanese couple with their sous chef (i don't think he's japanese). The place is TINY (max 20 people) with 4 tables and seats at the bar. Do yourself a favor, if you get the chance, go eat at the bar, you'll get to chat with a very funny chef and get to see him prepare the magic.

My buddy and I ordered the following:

1) old fashion sashimi: 4 pieces of tuna sashimi, tossed in a japanese vinaigrette topped with cut lettuce. The fish was REALLY fresh and flavorful, almost melted in your mouth.

2) Next up is the 48 hour pork salad. We decided to make it as a meal so we added rice in it with the salad. The pork was to DIE FOR. Soft tender melts in your mouth, but it's not falling apart. Sauted with a bit of ginger, and onions, it was really something.

3) Salmon and tuna bowl. That was definitely the best meal of the evening. Cubes of salmon and tuna sashimi, in a spicy sauce, with sushi rice and salad in a huge bowl with pieces of spinach and fresh shitake mushroom. It was a PARTY in my mouth!!

4) for dessert we had a homemade soft serve milky ice cream with coffee powder. It was a very light and refreshing dessert, helped digest the entire meal. Great way to end the night

We had a little bottle of sake for 2 (Nigori sake), a milky sweetish tasting sake. Went very well with the meal

All in all, it was a great experience. I'm going back there since there were alot of items which i have been recommended (the Ramen is really good, they make their own noodle) which i didn't get the chance to try. The whole meal cost about 70 dollars (wiht the sake) taxes and tips included. Since i was using my horrible cell phone camera, the pork and salmon/tuna looks very small in terms of portion but the bowl are very deep (a bit deeper than a bowl of pho). I think this is a very good price/quantity ratio

It's a great addition to the area, and since it's very packed, you might have to wait a bit, but the wait is worth it though.

1862 Saint Catherine Ouest (corner st-marc)

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  1. Damn, this is why I love Chowhound.

    I read this post yesterday before lunch and decided I'd give Kazu a try. The crazy thing is, I'm sure I could have easily walked by it a bunch of times on my way to Thali based on its unassuming storefront, but was I glad I searched it out!

    Like mak2k mentioned, the place is small and somewhat unlike anything else I'd experienced in Montreal. A small laminated card features lunch specials but there are all kinds of 8"x11" yellow sheets taped to the walls featuring different specials written in marker - I would assume these will ultimately be updated with printed menus, but who knows... It's kind of a charming touch in its own way. I sat at the bar for lunch next to a girl who was eating a very fresh-looking sushi sampler; sitting in a huge metal bowl at the end of the bar were large chunks of whole tuna and salmon (heads included), marinating in a dressing filled with cross-sections of sliced oranges. In front of me were a variety of dressings and garnishes to the various meals; I was also impressed by a bowl filled with shaved Himalayan salt and the large piece of pink salt that was presumably the source of said shavings.

    At mak2k's suggestion I tried the salmon and tuna bowl ($14.95), which came with either a small soup or salad - the salad I had seemed to be a type of cold potato mash perfumed with garlic and topped with some sprouts. It was gone in a few bites, but delicious. Watching the chef prepare the salmon and tuna bowl was a delight in itself - the dish features a mix of fresh, marinated tuna and salmon with shitake mushrooms and spinach placed atop rice, then capped with some chopped red oak lettuce and light crispy tempura. A light sauce is drizzled over everything and toasted sesame seeds are added, and the end result is, indeed, delicious. The chef/owner (Kazu?) is a very happy man who delights in calling out "See you tomorrow?" to every departing customer and breaking out in peals of laughter, as if it was the first time he heard the joke.

    Simply an awesome meal and place, and I will indeed be back soon.

    1 Reply
    1. re: liquidrawhide

      «I'm sure I could have easily walked by it a bunch of times on my way to Thali based on its unassuming storefront»

      Probably not, since this is only its second week in operation.

      As reported in the Restaurant Openings thread, I enjoyed my meal there, too.

      Good to hear Kazu's not flagging. And good to see it getting some online love. Am looking forward to returning.

    2. I first went for lunch and had the tuna bowl. Sushi rice, fresh tuna pieces, a small chopped lettuce salad with black sesame and a miso dressing. It was a great dish for 15$. I also ordered the soup of the day, a simple tomato and barley/rice concoction (5$). They didn't charge me for a pot of green tea.

      I went again tonight for dinner and made further progress in the menu.
      Soup of the day was some broth with ginger and egg "drops". It was unique and I like it a lot. I followed with the tomato salad (5$), a whole tomato sliced and the same chopped lettuce with a simple dressing. I tried the yakitori (4$) and duck brochette (7$) which was a bit too chewy. there is a lot more flavor in the yakitori compared to Furusato.

      Halfway thru my dinner a couple of japanese women sat next to me at the bar and one of them works at Furusato during the lunch shift.

      I finished my dinner with the gyoza (5$) and trio of japanese pickles (5$). The pickles included pickled cucumbers, slow cooked okra in a sundried tomato sauce, pickled daikon with yuzu and something I haven't seen since my days in Nothern California, 1-week-marinated salmon bones.

      I tried the soft serve but I didn't like it so much because of the coffee powder on top.

      Some of the items in the menu weren't available for dinner so I will return on Sunday lunch to try the home-made ramen. You have to come to this place!

      1 Reply
      1. re: marblebag

        Well I've been to Kazu three times now so I figured I'd give an overview since I've tried many things now.

        A must-have which is one of the wall specials is the salmon and tuna rice bowl which seems to vary since the 2nd time I had it it came with some black mushrooms and eggplant. I'll agree with above posters and say it is absolutely delicious. First time had some crystalline crispy noodles over the top which were a nice touch

        I've have had the yakitori which was perfect and the bacon and tomato brochette which was simple (bacon wrapped cherry tomato on a stick) but tasty.

        The rice pancake salad had the same miso dressing as the tuna salmon rice bowl but their dressings and marinades make their dishes so it was satisfying.

        Gyoza dumplings weren't over cooked like many other places with a good wrapper to meat ratio.

        We had the Onigri twice first time it had carrot mixed in, the second time with tuna which was the better of the two.

        Teryaki burger was grilled perfectly and had a lot of lettuce, tomato and onion in it. I wasn't drenched in sticky sweet sauce so it was perfect.

        48 hour pork salad (now rice) bowl had some of the tastiest pork I've had and a miso dressing.

        Now more wall specials which are not always available ... fish head, was a half salmon head which was grilled and enjoyed.

        BBQ chicken which ended up to be a bowl of grilled chicken wings that weren't heavily sauced but tender and juicy.

        Finally calcium salmon which is salmon cooked with the bones in a pressure cooker till it becomes a paste and served on grilled (not surprising :P) bread ... very very tasty.

        Drinkwise I've had the yuzu and fresh fruit cocktails which are carbonated and mixed with soju (korean distilled alcohol) yuzu is like gin and tonic, fresh fruit had tangerine and raspberry pieces floating in it. Very refreshing.

      2. Tried Kazu for lunch today and really enjoyed it. I had the salmon chirashizushi and my lunchmate had the bbq chicken ramen. We were both pleased by the quality and freshness of the ingredients. The rice it absolutely top notch. The service was super friendly and inviting. Can't wait to go back for dinner.

        I was intrigued by the shrimp burger. Has anyone tried it?

        1 Reply
        1. re: mainsqueeze

          I tried the shrimp burger today for lunch and it was amazing! Delicious fresh homemade shrimp patty on a kaiser-type roll with lettuce, tomato, garlicky mayo, and sesame oil, and and sprinkle of two different colours of sesame seeds. It was beautiful!

        2. sat at the bar with a friend and we didnt stop eating. amazing! great hot pot and pork dish. also had an heirloom tomato salad with kimchi. so good

          1. I tried Kazu last night with a friend and we loved it! I'm glad to have japanese food in montreal finally, instead of sushi all the time. I always end up going to NYC to get good stuff and I can finally have a fix at home!

            We ordered the Gyozas, grilled asparagus, BBQ pork neck and as per the many recommendations here, the Salmon & Tuna salad. Along with Asahi beer cause they ran out of Kirin (too bad).

            The Gyozas were pretty good, excellent sauce. It was strange that they were all connected together by a thin crispy layer of something, I couldn't figure out what. Still the better ones I've had in the city (not that they're easy to find). The grilled asparagus was delicious but it's hard to mess that up to be honest. The Tune & Salmon salad. I'd say if you're looking for a good meal, have that. If you're starving and have a healthy appetite, get something else with it. I liked all the flavours in it, enjoyed it thoroughly. The BBQ pork necks were great! Next time i think i'll try the 48 hours pork but I'm definetly going back.