Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Quebec (inc. Montreal) >
Oct 7, 2013 07:34 PM

Authentic Sushi with Japanese Chef

On the subject of fish and Montreal, where o where might I find a sushi bar staffed with Japanese sushi chef(s) on the island??? Most sushi chefs I run into are Korean, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, but alas no Japanese.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Jun-I

    Just to name two. I think there are a couple of other places.

    1 Reply
      1. re: hungryann

        Good, not great, sushi, served by Korean chef. Stil looking.......

        1. re: JohnnyGe

          Oh sorry. I was pretty sure they were Japanese. I haven't been in 2-3 years...maybe change of ownership?

          1. re: JohnnyGe

            You won't find what you're looking for in Montreal

        2. Azuma. Izakaya on parc.

          Jun-I may have a Japanese chef but the vibe is wholly Caucasian.

          5 Replies
          1. re: j_do


            I never understood the point of having Japanese chefs at Jun-i when a good deal of the menu is fusion and the sushi is just your average californian rolls. Also didn't someone from here say that the omakase was incredibly disappointing and just average sushi rolls? Doesn't seem like it's worth the japanese people hype.

            Sounds like it's just marketing.

            1. re: Ghostquatre

              The reason that Jun-I's chef is Japanese is because he's from Japan. I don't see why he should not be allowed to run his restaurant the way he likes.

              1. re: SnackHappy

                My point was that Jun-i is mediocre and overpriced despite having an actual Japanese chef.

                EDIT: actually, some people might say that overpriced and authentic Japanese experience might go hand in hand, but I doubt most would call it mediocre.

                1. re: Ghostquatre

                  My experience at Jun-I was far from mediocre. All the fish and seafood was top quality, cut perfectly and very nicely presented. I only ordered nigiri, though, as I don't really think rolls are a good measure of a place's quality. Anybody can do rolls.

                  1. re: SnackHappy

                    I have been many times because I believe it is one of the best sushi restaurants in Montreal. Although that is not to say it is actually very good sushi which should give you an idea of how I feel about the sushi in this city. I have asked for otoro and what I received was a huge disappointment. The uni was also a massive failure tasting and smelling very chemically. But aside from those two, everything else was good. Back in the day when they used to have a full tasting menu mixing Japanese and French dishes, I felt that the French dishes were actually very good.

          2. I am confused as to why this would matter to you. As consumers aren't we just looking for sushi that is delicious and well made? I have had great sushi made from Caucasians and crappy sushi from Japanese chefs. I am not trying to sound aggressive I am just honestly curious.

            12 Replies
            1. re: Gloriaa

              He's looking for an authentic experience, nothing wrong with that. There's something to be said about walking into a small place run by a Japanese couple with all Japanese decor and attire and vibe vs a generic lounge bar playing a Buddha bar cd that may or may not serve good sushi.

              1. re: j_do

                I took it a bit differently;
                He's wondering why most sushi chefs he's come across aren't Japanese, which is somewhat strange, seeing how sushi preparation is traditionally Japanese.
                Kinda like the clich├ęd woman's expresion "Are there any good men out there?" - sure there are, but seemingly they don't meet any...

                Come on JohnnyGe, do you simply want good sushi? Do you want sushi prepared by a Japanese chef for the experience? Are you wondering why there aren't more Japanese sushi chefs? Or is it something completely different?
                We gotta know!

                1. re: porker

                  Yeah, porker I agree completely. Those commenting don't seem to realize that sushi preparation is traditionally Japanese. Why wouldn't you want to find a Japanese chef? Does Montreal not have Japanese sushi chefs? The comments really seem lacking in understanding of sushi and its origins. Hopefully someone knows of a good sushi place with a Japanese expert, I am waiting!

                  1. re: eatwell

                    The Japanese community is quite small in Montreal. So not many Japanese people in general. Most sushi spots in Montreal are run by Vietnamese who are more interested in making a living vs doing something more creative than sushi shop style sushi with the occasional "speciality roll" - which ain't even sushi. There is also no market for authentic sushi in this city for cultural and $$ reasons IMO. I've never eaten a single nigiri in Montreal that comes even remotely close to Japan or even NY or LA, especially when it comes to doing the rice properly. How many of the high end places in Montreal are even bothering with fresh wasabi?

                    1. re: j_do

                      You can also get a pretty decent kaiseki meal at Sakura but that's just decent for Montreal standards. While still enjoyable it comes nothing close to even missasagua, Ontario, sadly

                      1. re: j_do

                        There's a school in Florida run by a Vietnamese entrepeneur that will turn you into a sushi chef in 1 month.

                  2. re: j_do

                    I never said that I thought there was anything wrong with him wanting to find a Japanese chef. I have an old friend ( Caucasian)who is a sushi chef and is very committed to his craft. His restaurant in MA garnered a 28 zagat score for food. I have eaten well from Chak WOw and he is Caucasian but has a passion for Thailand and it's food. He has travelled extensively and knows and understands Thai ingredients. I guess it is something I have never thought about and am curious. Sorry if I offended you!

                    1. re: Gloriaa

                      Hey Gloriaa,

                      Thought I'd respond to you as you started taking me down the discrimination road. What I was trying to get across was my perception that a professionally-trained (aka apprenticed) sushi chef would be greatly appreciated, and yes, I stereotyped such a chef as Japanese. My apologies if I offended anyone (Porker? eatwell?). So let me rephrase the question.....

                      Is there an authentic, apprenticed, and social sushi chef in town serving nigiri that would knock my Montreal socks off? And yes, I've been to the Ginza, Vancouver, NY and Missisauga, thank you!

                      1. re: JohnnyGe

                        I was in no way offended. I was simply trying to figure out the OP question.

                        Just *my* thoughts.
                        Sometimes dining out can be for different reasons. Sometimes, I want to escape my reality and be whisked away through dining out. I dunno, maybe taken to a German biergarten, or a Polynesian luau. Having a German in lederhosen or a Polynesian in a coconut bra helps this experience.
                        If the food sucks or is great is another matter.

                        Sometimes, I want to eat the best example of German bar food or Cook Island umu. I don't give a damn who cooks or serves, as long as it is a good representation of the cuisine. It might help that the cook be German or Cook Islander going in to the place, as they might possibly be cooking from 1st hand experience, but at the end of the day, the food will be great and I will be happy or it will suck and I will say at least the wine was good. No matter who prepared it.

                        I was disappointed in the omakase @ Park. We ate there last winter during a great snowstorm with high hopes. To me, omakase should be something extraordinary (that is, out of the ordinary), something that is done on the spot, at the whim of the chef.
                        Maybe things have changed, but at Park, the chef simply rolled out various menu items.
                        They were OK, but there was no individual omakase-at-the-bar enthusiasm. We were served the same items that other, non-omakase diners were served around the room...

                        Oh, as for Montreal sushi that'll knock your socks off, well I'm still looking, but having fun doing it.

                        1. re: porker

                          Yes, I agree... Park is definitely not the place for an Omakase experience... It is more like a tasting menu that includes stuff like maple glazed magret de canard and beef short rib. And to be honest his nigiri is basically a designer/speciality roll in nigiri form.

                          1. re: porker

                            Kinda reminds me of an old thread...FROM 5 YEARS AGO?!!?!?!


                      2. Chef Park from Park Restaurant was trained at the Culinary Institute of Japan. Probably the best new omakase in town.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: LordWilmore

                          Yeah, but he's not Japanese so he couldn't possibly make good sushi. Now give me a Japanese guy who trained at Tony's sushi academy in Cleveland and I'll show you an authentic sushi experience.

                          1. re: SnackHappy

                            What if this Japanese guy who trained at Tony's in Cleveland was actually mentored by a Japanese person named Tonikawa who lives in Ohio?

                            1. re: Ghostquatre

                              Well, now you're just being facetious. ;)

                            2. re: SnackHappy

                              His food is good, sometimes great, but Park would be a terrible recommendation for authentic sushi.

                              1. re: j_do

                                Isn't the request now for outstanding nigiri? Park sounds just right. This thread makes me cringe, btw, and I appreciate Gloriaa's input.

                            3. re: LordWilmore

                              I was at Park on Thursday with a couple of old friends from France. We all know how picky The French can be. To make things worse one had lived in Japan and the other tells me he has eaten sushi all over the World and never had a good Jananese meal in Montreal.Well two hours and three Omakase dinners later we left the restaurant full and the Frenchmen said it was one of the most delicious creative dinners they have ever had !
                              Bravo Antonio Park.