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Do NOT order omakase at Jun i

t
The Chemist Sep 28, 2011 08:38 PM

Just came back from Jun i. I hate giving a negative recommendation about anything but I want to spare people the same experience that my group had tonight. The three of us wanted to celebrate and decided to hit up Jun i for omakase, something that we had heard was well worth it. We've each been to Jun i before and found it pricey but well worth it.

After being informed that our first two choices of seafood were not available (I always order uni or surf clam) and then waiting more than an hour (and seeing many many plates go out to tables that had arrived WELL after us), our first and ONLY course arrives. Basically, we got an order of assorted sushi. There were 3 rolls, 4 nigiri, and 6 pieces of sashimi. This was the sum total for the 3 of us. Nothing special either, more or less the first items on the menu. One of the maki was a cucumber roll, for example. This privilege wasn't inexpensive or even divisible by 3, for that matter. I found this odd particularly as the main chef was working tonight.

The sushi we received was okay but not much better than average for Montreal. The best part of the meal was the beer which the server claimed was brewed specially from DDC.

Anywho, just a heads up. If you go to Jun i, order for yourself and don't go the Omakase route.

  1. u
    unlaced Sep 29, 2011 05:03 AM

    Did you bring this up with the restaurant? How did they handle your complaint?

    1 Reply
    1. re: unlaced
      t
      The Chemist Sep 29, 2011 08:17 AM

      Yes. They told us to order more Sushi. After waiting an hour for the first order, this offer was not taken very seriously.

      I should specify, for 3 people, we received: 3 half rolls (charged for full rolls), 4 pieces of nigiri, and 6 pieces of sashimi.

      We went out for pizza instead of waiting another hour.

    2. t
      thelonious777 Sep 29, 2011 05:22 AM

      If it was omakase then why did you think you would get to choose anything?

      Sounds like they messed up, but I assume they charged you about what that would cost on the menu. I have had good experiences ordering omakase and specifying approximately how much I wanted to eat (and I think a number of other posters here have as well).

      Also completely disagree that the sushi is average. It is as good as it gets in Montreal (unless you like it stuffed with Cheetos, deep fried and served with BBQ sauce).

      1 Reply
      1. re: thelonious777
        t
        The Chemist Sep 29, 2011 08:20 AM

        We didn't expect to choose anything. I know what Omakase is. However, we expected more than a tiny amount of most basic items after a prolonged wait, especially based off of how previous people disturbed their omakase experience at Jun i.

        I don't claim that their sushi is always average. I know that it can be quite good. Last night though, from rolls to nigiri, they were performing significantly lower than what you would expect at Furusato, for example.

      2. SnackHappy Sep 29, 2011 07:28 AM

        This is not the first time I've heard of someone ordering omakase at Jun-I and just unceremoniously getting a plate of sushi. I understand your disappointment, although I don't get why you thought you could pick what seafood you would receive.

        I've seen this sort of half-assed table d'hote style omakase offered at other places in town. I think it's more of a concession to western dining habits, than anything else.

        2 Replies
        1. re: SnackHappy
          t
          The Chemist Sep 29, 2011 08:26 AM

          Sometimes when you order Omakase, they ask you if there is anything specific that you like or don't like. The waiter didn't inquire and I like to make sure that I get a bit of uni whenever I go to Jun i, so I inquired if it was available. Other than that, I let them handle it. Mistake.

          It wasn't just that the choices that were made for us were obviously silly, it was also the amount we received. Basically, we got what an amount which a single average diner would order, after more than an hour of waiting and watching both sushi and cooked items leave the kitchen to tables which arrive 30 minutes after us.

          1. re: The Chemist
            k
            kimberleyblue Sep 29, 2011 09:45 AM

            I agree with The Chemist here. When we went to Jun-I, we ordered some of the cooked dishes and a few pieces of uni. We also ordered omakase, but told the waiter that we were adventurous eaters and wanted something interesting.

            We were served anything but...something very similar along the lines as The Chemist received. Considering we went to Jun-I to experience the new, exciting and interesting, this was very disappointing.

        2. m
          Maximilien Sep 29, 2011 08:14 AM

          I always thought omakase was a simple key word saying give me what you have, I don't care for specifics.

          The chef will do prepare a simple selection of "basic" sushi(rolls, ...) with a reasonable price point.

          If you want extras or specific items then you have to tell the waiter (and/or chef) to include them.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Maximilien
            t
            The Chemist Sep 29, 2011 08:24 AM

            Yes, you are putting yourself in their hands when you order Omakase. It varies from place to place what you would get. Generally, it's supposed to be the chef's discretion. Sometimes, it's like a degustation menu sampling things from both the kitchen and raw bar. Sometimes it's what the chef thinks is particularly good at that time. This was different. Literally just a few standard rolls (half rolls actually, although we were charged for full rolls) and a few other standards. Cucumber roll? Is this what the chef thinks best exemplifies his skill?

            Thought that I would add this:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omakase

            Notice the part about being surprised. Well, we were certainly surprised.

            1. re: Maximilien
              w
              wattacetti Sep 29, 2011 08:29 AM

              Omakase implies that one entrusts the meal to the chef, on the assumption that the chef will present his/her best and demonstrate some innovation. You're not supposed to indicate specific items (you're entrusting the chef), though it is polite to advise what you might be allergic to.

              What's being described at Jun-I by The Chemist would be tagged as a "fail"

            2. r
              reelection Sep 29, 2011 08:23 AM

              As you mentioned, the items were not divisible by 3. Are you sure they charged you for 3 omakases?

              3 Replies
              1. re: reelection
                t
                The Chemist Sep 29, 2011 09:52 AM

                We were charged by item off the a la carte menu which is, in no way, what an Omakase is supposed to be. The only differance to the a la carte menu was that we were charged full price for the 3 half rolls. So yeah, even price wise, we would have been better off just ordering way too little of the most boring items (I suppose that we could have argued this point and had them reduce the bill but by this point, hungry and annoyed, we just decided to cut our losses). Again, not what an Omakase is supposed to be. At first, we just assumed that this was an 'appetizer' portion before the neat things came and were shocked to find that, nope, that's all that we are getting. We confirmed that they understood our order (they had).

                1. re: The Chemist
                  r
                  reelection Sep 29, 2011 10:00 AM

                  So you got a combination platter at a la carte prices, what a rip-off! In other cities, you pay a set price for omakase and actually get the experience.

                  1. re: reelection
                    w
                    wattacetti Sep 29, 2011 10:21 AM

                    My experience with omakase in other cities is that it's generally a "starting price" which climbs depending on how far you want to go and whether or not you need that extra piece of chuutoro.

              2. s
                Speveo Sep 29, 2011 12:20 PM

                I was taken to Jun-i recently for my birthday. We didn't specify the 'omakase' per se, but asked for the 'tasting menu', which landed up being 6 different courses. I'm not sure if there is a distinction there, because it sounds like your experience paled in comparison to ours.

                It was a combination of interesting sushi items ( traditional and experimental) and cooked japanese/french fusion type items with a heavy emphasis on seafood throughout. One dish was foie gras based.

                I was thoroughly impressed and I think it was a fantastic reflection of what Jun-i is trying to be. I would recommend trying this route on your next outing, if there is a distinction . . I'm not sure. Perhaps when they hear people ask for omakase they tend to steer away from their less traditional items perhaps trying to meet your expectations of something more traditionally Japanese. I don't know.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Speveo
                  t
                  The Chemist Sep 29, 2011 12:53 PM

                  Good idea. Will do this next time. Although the sushi and service this time didn't really inspire return visits.

                2. n
                  nextguy Sep 29, 2011 12:43 PM

                  The times that I have been to Jun-I I have always taken the tasting menu. There used to specifically be an item in the menu called Tasting which they recently removed but you can still ask for it. I have always found it very good and includes multiple courses, one being an omakase platter which always had a very good and large assortment of items. I always sit at the counter so I have a chance to speak with the chef and I usually tell him a basic idea of what I am looking for which he accomodates.

                  Anyways, it really is too bad about your bad experience.

                  1. j
                    j_do Oct 1, 2011 09:18 AM

                    pretty pathetic IMO. i've never been the least bit impressed with jun-i even though it's likely one of the best (and most expensive) sushi joints in mtl (not saying much). thing is, omakase is supposed to be the very best fish they have that day.. so if they did have uni or surf clam, you would be getting it anyway at any respectable joint. omakase is ALWAYS multi course too and to say you never choose in omakase is also wrong. typically you are asked at the end of the meal if there is anything you want more of or if you have any requests. i dont think it is unusual at all for chemist to ask if they have uni/surf clam available... i have to say for sushi i prefer kaizen because they have always had uni the times that i've gone there..

                    1. b
                      buspirone Oct 6, 2011 07:12 AM

                      Funny, I took my parents (from Halifax) there on Sept 23 and had a wildly different experience. We ordered apps a la carte, but asked for an omakase experience after that. We had several services of rolls, sushi and sashimi that left the 4 of us quite satisfied. Admittedly it was not a true omakase in that we gave a fair amount of direction to the waitress, telling her that we are all fairly adventurous in our palates, definitely wanted certain items (e.g. cuttlefish) and that price was no object (we also ordered two fairly expensive bottles of wine). The meal was stunning from start to finish and no one was hungry after. And yes, it was VERY expensive, but since it was a night out for visiting family that's OK.

                      So I'm not sure what happened in your case, but again, mine was radically different from what you describe.

                      1. p
                        pinkatronica Jan 17, 2012 06:05 PM

                        Jun I is so overrated. I took my partner there for his birthday in December and $270 later, we were still unhappy! Yes, that's $270 for 2 people. We ordered quite a bit of good sake, which gave a nice bump to our bill, but I'd say the food still accounted for at least $170. I think we kept on ordering more food because we were waiting for something really good to be served! The sea urchin and the fish eggs were really not at their freshest: I was surprised they even served it, considering their price-range. I'd never go back.

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