In all likelihood, Montreal will never be a sushi town like Vancouver or even Toronto. Whether you blame it on the makeup of our immigrant population or the immense market share of the 99 cent hot dog, you’ve got to know where to look. But if you do – and especially if you’re willing to shell out a bit – there are several quality places that’ll be happy to give it to you raw.
In a bistro-like setting, Tri Express is the domain of former Kaizen chef Tri Du, and the food is highly, reflectively idiosyncratic. Many of the rolls and the restaurant’s signature sushi pizza are made with a miraculous house blend of fish and seasonings, complex in flavours and highly addictive. 1650 Laurier Ave. E., (514) 528-5641.
Another restaurant named after its owner/chef, Juni is the home of Junichi Ikematsu. With a beautifully designed dining room, this relative newcomer is always fresh and surprisingly affordable. 156 Laurier Ave. W., (514) 276-5864.
Located on a grim stretch of restaurant life on Ste-Catherine, Zen-Ya is hidden away above a Burger King (really) and serves a wide variety of refined Japanese cuisine, from sashimi to donburi to sunomono. 486 Ste-Catherine W., (514) 904-1363.
Japanese cuisine, like ramen soups and teriyaki, is the specialty – not so much the sushi. As close to an authentic Japanese experience as you’re likely to get in Montreal. 2137 De Bleury Street, (514) 849-3438.