I visited this Izakaya in NDG yesterday. They have a small terrace with two set menus. Each are 5 courses, one is ~$19, the other is ~$25.
Highlights of my meal were cold noodles, tuna tataki and a japanese style risotto. The menu changes pretty often, and it is all upto the chef. This place is seafood heavy.
The service was a bit slow, but their food and quality of service more than made up for it.
I would definitely head back.
This place was amazing. 6 courses for $25.95. The quality and variety you get are absolutely amazing, especially considering the price-point they offer. The service I got yesterday was very attentive, not slow at all, but there were only 2 other patrons aside from the two of us. The courses were served on plates to share, except the noodle salads (we each got a bowl). We were served, much to our delight:
- a 1st course of amuses: melon salad served in a shooter glass, potato salad presented in a half cherry tomato, salmon tartare in an endive leaf, a few edamame, a few gorgeous slices of lemony octopus dressed in a miso sauce, and a plump shrimp sitting on top of a wakame and cucumber salad
- chilled soba salad
- white tuna tataki (was not escolar!!)
- sizzling beef plate
- four delectable bite-sized seafood okonomiyaki
- a beautiful bowl of chilled somen
We also ordered two extra dishes ($9 each) and left it up to the chef to decide what we would be eating (not because the portions were too small, but because my dining companion is an ogre). We got:
- some lovely gyoza and a sort of meat patty (porc?) dressed in a sweetish katsu sauce
- agedashi tofu with minced pork
Washed everything down with some Asahi.
Only downside: with this stiffling heat wave, sitting in the tiny locale without AC would have been very uncomfortable, there was not even the slightest breeze with the door wide open. We opted for the terrasse. I hesitated to share this jewel with you all, wanting selfishly to keep it all to myself, but these people deserve great success. Run, don't walk, to Iwaki!
Assuming you were the couple that sat on the terrasse at about 8:00, we were the only couple inside at the time. Agree that everything was fresh and delicious and an absolute bargain for the quality. Also agree that the lack of AC is a bit of a problem but the cold beer helped to ease the heat a bit.
Best japanese I've had in Montreal, although the only other upscale non-chinese place I've been to was Jun-i.
The favorites dishes ranked from best to not as good:
1. the appetizer: i liked how the 3 items in the seafood app had different textures and flavors. The daikon cucumber salad was nice and refreshing, perfect before taking another bite of seafood. The potato salad was meh but I liked having something familiar for variety.
2. 3. tied for second and third, the cold soba salad and the fancy "pate chinois" ball with broccoli sauce. I don't think the chef is gonna like that I called it that, but it seemed exactly like an upscale version of that classic dish. I thought I would be disappointed because of how gimmicky I thought it was at once (small portion too, but i mean everything else came in small portions, but this seemed more easily to discrimnate against, because it was mashed potato and minced veal), but it was surprisingly savoury.
4. okonomiyaki bites
5. white tuna tataki, but I'm usualy not a fan of tatakis
6. soy/miso/bonito-tasting rice ball, the course that was served last. The server told me to try the first serving on its own, and she would pour some stock on the second one if i wanted. It felt pretty lackluster and it was a weird way to end an exceptional meal. The stock I felt sorta mellowed out the flavours of the ball but it didn't really make it any better. Also don't let your balls simmer too long in that piping hot stock or else it will crumble when you try to pick it up.
Service was great, the small dining room looked mellow and beautiful. I believe the server told me the apps and the soba salad were more or less permanent and that the rest of the menu changes about once every 2 weeks. I can't wait to try out other stuff they have to offer, will definitely be back.