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Just Good Sushi Please.

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I know there a a couple of threads about this already, but none that are particularly recent. After reading reviews of Kaizen, I went there with some friends with the intention of ordering a LOT of sushi. We ordered the "Sushi Phile" platter which had about 40 pieces for something like $120. Because this was opposed to "Sushi Virgin" I assume we would be getting REAL, UNUSUAL, JAPANESE items like sea urchin, butterfish, roe, abalone, tuna belly, etc.

Instead, it was an enormous platter of stupid Americanized maki, one of which contained beef. They weren't bad tasting, but that isn't the point. What I have yet to find in Montreal is a traditional Japanese sushi place with a good selection of fresh fish. Please do not suggest places based on the quality of the spicy mayo in the Dragon roll, or the crispyness of deep-fried tempura maki. These things are yummy, don't get me wrong. But there is no lack of them in Montreal. I have been to tons of places (Royal, Ocean, Kanda, Odaki, Oishi) that have a huge assortment of tasty maki, but a "Chef's Choice" sushi plate that is lacklustre, not very fresh and NEVER contains anything other than the ubiquitous salmon/tuna/hamachi/ebi/kani/etc. I want a place I can go to for tobiko with quail egg, perfect salmon sashimi and fatty tuna. And a good Agadashi Dofu and Chawanmushi doesn't hurt. Does anyone know of such a place???

The closest I've found is Mikado, but it;s quite expensive. Is there anything more low-key? Authentic but casual?

Thank you!!

987 Boul Saint-Jean, Pointe-Claire, QC H9R5M3, CA

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  1. Have you tried Tri Express on Laurier? It may not be the most authentic, but the fish is fresh, and they offer, among other things, tobiko and quail egg, swordfish, and toro.

    Tri Express
    1650 Av Laurier E, Montreal, QC H2J1J2, CA

    1. 1- Montreal is not a sushi town.
      2- If you want quality, you have to pay for it.

      My picks :
      Jun I (Laurier st w.)
      Tri Express (Laurier st. e.)
      Mikado (Laurier st. w) I've had one the best meal there a few years ago (with lobster and scallops in the shell)
      Myamoto (Japanses store that offet take out on Victoria st. in Westmount), only take out, but it's the best take out in town.

      For Agadashi Dofu and Chawanmushi. maybe you can try Kazu ? I don't think I've seen them at the above places.

      goto 1;


      Tri Express
      1650 Av Laurier E, Montreal, QC H2J1J2, CA

      1862 Sainte-Catherine St W, Montreal, QC H3H 1M1, CA

      7 Replies
      1. re: Maximilien

        Kazu doesn't serve agedashi dofu or chawanmushi. Agedashi dofu is served at most serious sushi places. Chawanmushi is available at Furusato, but the sushi there is just so-so.

        1862 Sainte-Catherine St W, Montreal, QC H3H 1M1, CA

        1. re: SnackHappy

          I second SnackHappy - agedashi is served at most non-fast-food sushi joints. The freshest silkiest tofu I've had was at Takara at Cours Mt-Royal, but it was not nearly as good the second time around.

          While I'm still looking in vain for authenticity, I like Oishii Sushi on Bernard and Parc for creativity. And their agedashi tofu is not bad at all. Isakaya on Parc (just north of Sherbrooke) probably serves the most authentic stuff - with the freshest mackerel carpaccio in January - but you'd have to ask for the Japanese menu.

          Oishii Sushi
          277 Rue Bernard W, Montreal, QC H2V1T5, CA

        2. re: Maximilien

          I agree with Max for Mikado - by Montreal standards, it's good.

          1. re: VinnyRW

            Agreed. I went at the location in Laval, and they had some of the real japanese items like uni (sea urchin), raw scallops etc...

            PS: uni is the most disgusting sushi i've ever tasted, and i had it in japan. Just thinking about it is bringing up my breakfast.

            1. re: SourberryLily

              Uni can be amazing just as much as it can be disgusting. It's always a coin toss. when you order it. I've had some earth-shatteringly good uni and some that tasted like the bottom of a garbage can. I wouldn't give up on it just because you had a bad experience. When it's good, it's fantastic.

              1. re: SnackHappy

                I think it was good quality, i just think i hate it. It's the texture.... urgh i can't stand it.

                1. re: SnackHappy

                  I have had the same experience and I thought i was nuts. Sometimes I love it and sometimes it's icky! Thanks for clearing that up for me.

          2. I third Tri Express. I have yet go to Jun I or Mikado, but Tri Express is really great.

            Tri Express
            1650 Av Laurier E, Montreal, QC H2J1J2, CA

            5 Replies
            1. re: looosia

              Actually I would have to recommend against Tri Express. The sushi is good, and inventive, but not traditional in any sense. Also the way they operate is really unnerving.

              1. No liquor license which really undercuts the purpose of going out for a "nice" meal. I usually will want wine/sake or perhaps a cocktail with my sushi. Tea just doesn't cut it for me.
              2. Its a small space.
              3. Staff have been quite unfriendly when I've been there. Not responsive, made sure we knew they were closing at 20h30 SHARP when we arrived at 19h15 for dinner and just generally have made me feel unwelcome. A caveat - Tri himself is great and none of the above applies to him.

              I think Jun I could be your best bet in Montreal, but really its just not something that's available here... and that's OK...

              Now if anyone has a great sushi delivery place on the Plateau to recommend I'm all ears.... and I am perfectly willing to order in a meal of dragon roll and some maguro and sake nigiri as long as its good quality.

              Tri Express
              1650 Av Laurier E, Montreal, QC H2J1J2, CA

              1. re: buspirone

                You know what, I have ordered takeout from Royal Sushi on Parc a couple of times and it really isn't bad for the price. Sake sashimi was fresh and tasty, rolls are all pretty good. Some of the better sushi I've had in Montreal.

                Royal Sushi
                5011 Av Du Parc, Montreal, QC H2V4E9, CA

                1. re: kellyhay

                  Ordered in last night - basic stuff - salmon sashimi, some nigiri and basic rolls (i.e. California). Decent for the price and what we were looking for. Only complaint is the presence of carrots in the miso were not really something I appreciated, but this is nitpicking.

                  Thanks for the tip.

                  1. re: buspirone

                    Yeah that is weird huh! carrots and shallots? must be some kind of non-Japanese idiosyncrasy. Glad you enjoyed it though, sounds like you had the same impression I did.

                    I also ordered a green salad from there once and it was pretty strange...mandarins and pineapple!?

                  2. re: kellyhay

                    I haven't tried it myself but I also heard from a friend that Royal Sushi is one of the better cheap sushi places.

                    Royal Sushi
                    5011 Av Du Parc, Montreal, QC H2V4E9, CA

              2. Go for Jun-I. It's the best in town. Maybe not 100% traditional / authentic Japanese, but they are the classiest and progressive, modern Japanese. And the chefs know how to properly cut and prepare sushi fish unlike most places in Montreal.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Jasper1

                  I have thought about trying Jun I, it just looks so expensive and French influenced!! But i'll definitely give it a shot at some point. Tri as well.

                  1. re: kellyhay

                    See my initial answer; for quality, you have to pay for it.

                    I went last friday and it was as good as I remembered (after a 2 or 3 years hiatus ); they have the same waiters, so it is a sign of quality and stability iMO.

                    Ordered an appetizer from the menu, the "gravlax", 6 cubes of salmon with 3 different seasoning and a savory whipped cream to balance it out; it was very good.

                    After that, I ordered the day's fish (can't remember the specifics) in sashimi, a pair of nigiri and a couple of rolls; all were very good and fresh.

                    As for the "french" remarks; I remember that the first time I went to Jun I, I did not even order sushi, I ordered what was a french meal with a subtle japanese twist.

                    The regular menu contains a few well done dishes that are not fish or full-fledged japanese.

                    So, if you want to have a meal with friends and they don't eat sushi or fish, they can have a very satisfying meal there as well.

                    But it's not cheap (as I had forgotten).


                2. While Tri is by far the best in the vaguely-Vietnamese innovative maki category, Azuma on St-Laurent and Maguire has long been our go-to place for authentic Japanese. It's a family-run operation that privately imports its fish. There's a constantly-changing whiteboard with the sushi and sashimi specials of that day. Reasonably-priced, very solid agedashi tofu. Do it.

                  Restaurant Azuma
                  5263 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2T1S4, CA

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: deevee

                    Hey thanks, that sounds perfect. In my area too.

                    1. re: deevee

                      Thanks for the recommendation. Tried Azuma tonight and loved it! I can't believe I've never noticed this place before. We didn't end up having much sushi - just a dynamite roll (I'm not very adventurous when it comes to sushi) but it was excellent. The tempura was also very good, and hubby tried unagi-don for the first time and really liked it. I've always been told to avoid Japanese restaurants that do too many different things but Azuma seems to be an exception. I think this will become a favourite for sure.

                    2. Sho Dan On Metcalf - this place is seriously great for sushi. I know you're not looking for specialty rolls per say, but you got to try them here, you will also be able to get sashimi and other exotic different types of sushi here. Just Make sure you get a seat at the sushi bar - ask for the chefs/ specialty menu, once you see it you know what I mean. chat with the sushi chefs and let them know what you are interested in and I guarantee you that they will serve you what you want. It is by no means cheap, but how could it be if you want fresh, exotic not everyday type sushi?
                      Well worth a try.

                      1. Furusato is what you are looking for. It's basic Japanese food, prepared correctly. Not that it should matter, but it is run by recently immigrated Japanese who adhere to traditional preparations. They do very decent sushi without the frills, just basic nigiri, maki and handrolls. The fish is as fresh as can be expected in Montreal and the rice is correctly made. I recommend the Haiwa roll and the Yellow tail nigiri. It's also very affordable. Beware, the rolls are HUGE, a half roll is the same volume as a full roll elsewhere. I have been to Jun i and the rest, and while I think that they can be a bit more ethereal than Furusato, somehow, Furusato satisfies me more. Easily the best option in Montreal for affordable sushi.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: The Chemist

                          Try Fushi on Sherbrooke near McGill University. Head straight to the bar in the back and skip all the fusion stuff they have going when you order.

                          I've dined at some good sushi restos like Yasuda in NYC and while the preparation here is not traditional (although very artistic) the quality of the fish is really the best I've had in Montreal. I spoke to the owner and apparently they are sparing no expense when it comes to ingredients -- which makes no sense because the place is empty most of the time.

                          I was really skeptical going in here but they sort of blew me away. I've been back several times and the sashimi is always fantastic.

                          1. re: Jdor

                            I will try it for sure.

                        2. Any thoughts on Isakaya on Parc & Mitlon? I've had both good and bad experiences...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: randa_h74

                            Hit and miss; mostly miss.

                          2. has anybody eaten at Sushi Yu Mi? SwarmJam is offering a deal on it but I have not heard of it before?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: blondee_47

                              Sushi Yu Mi used to be on Maisonneuve near Guy. You'll find some talk about it in this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/575702

                            2. I don't eat all the raw fish so my sushi knowledge is more limited. Having said that the best place for nigiri/sashimi for me is Zen-Ya. Don't order their cooked stuff however, it's just bad.

                              For the traditional cooked items, Furusato (formerly Osaka) has the best preparations. The only exception is the yakitori which is plain. Try the one at Kazu.

                              One in a lifetime visits:
                              Miyako, Odaki, Ocean, Sushi Shop, Sushi Man, Akuma, Isakaya.

                              For the non sushi joints, Kazu has the best food and Imadake has the best decor. Big in Japan is edible.

                              1862 Sainte-Catherine St W, Montreal, QC H3H 1M1, CA

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: marblebag

                                Where is zen-ya? I haven't heard of it.

                                Edible is the perfect way to describe Big in Japan. I went once and probably won't go back. It's too bad cause it's a nice space and they have decently priced beer and a good sounding menu, but everything was just ok.

                                1. re: kellyhay

                                  Zen Ya
                                  486 Ste-Catherine W., 2nd floor (near City-Councillors)

                                  I went once because it was a fave of some friends, found the sushi OK but really nothing special. Haven't been back. For special-occasion sushi I still like Mikado on Monkland.

                                  1. re: kpzoo

                                    I like Zen Ya for the price/value and the room is nice. I always sit at the bar, and usually do pretty well. I revisited Kaizen for the first time in years (after feeling it was a total rip-off; horrible service and bad sushi) and was really pleasantly surprised. I had a fantastic lunch last week, albeit an expensive one. I also ordered in from that byow place on Sherbrooke near Girouard (forget what it's called) a few days ago and it was utterly disgusting. I only ordered the specialty rolls and they all tasted terrible. That one's off the list for good!

                              2. I tried Oishii Sushi based on this thread and it fits the bill for me. I no longer expect to find top sushi in Montreal so the quest was/is on to find somewhere that would allow me to deal with the bimonthly sushi cravings that are a hangover of coming from the west coast, I think. They deliver, it's fresh, the rice isn't terrible, they also deliver cocktails (and have a 2 for 1 day - Weds I think), and yeah...it does the job. I tend to order sushi in Montreal VERY unimaginatively - my order often consists of 5x spicy tuna rolls or 5x tuna sashimi and some miso soup, but I've tried a few interesting-sounding items of Oishii's menu and haven't been disappointed, they've been quite yummy in fact. I don't remember the name but they serve a tuna in endive thingie which was awesome.

                                I've also eaten at Kaizen a few times and it wasn't bad, but it certainly, imo, wasn't worth the price.

                                tuna in endive thingie = tartare

                                Oishii Sushi
                                277 Rue Bernard W, Montreal, QC H2V1T5, CA

                                1. I love Sakura on De la montagne. Not cheap, but authentic. My favorite place in Montreal for sushi and sashimi is Jun I, but it has less of a traditional vibe to it compared to Sakura.

                                  1. I've been a regular at Kaizen for 10 years and was looking for something new in the neighborhood. Kashima on greene is very good and reasonably price. About 75% the price of Kaizen and straight forward no frills selection.

                                    Restaurant Kashima
                                    1232 Av Greene, Westmount, QC H3Z2A3, CA

                                    1. Sho-dan on Metcalfe. Went last night, it was some of the best sushi I've ever had, and the best I've had in Montreal.

                                      1. for the most unique fish and selection of japanese fish it's hands down KAIZEN.

                                        i've had stuff like japanese sardine, fresh water eel, shimaagi (striped jack), kampachi, itoyori dai (golden seabream), ayu (sweetfish from rivers of hokkaido), umi budo ("sea grape" seaweed from Okinawa), mirugai, live uni from the shell, etc etc.

                                        service at kaizen is another story. it's also pretty expensive but if you crave real sashimi, this is the place to go in montreal.

                                        azuma on st-laurent/fairmount is also decent.

                                        personally, I don't understand all the love for Jun-I. they rarely have uni and usually the most interesting fish they have is hamachi. pretty pedestrian imo, and pretty overpriced. tri express has fallen off pretty hard. perhaps people are basing their praise on the specialty rolls, something I never order.