It didn't start well. It's a small restaurant, and once you enter, there's not much space to stand around. We were ignored for a minute or two, awkwardly blocking the entrance and waiting to be noticed. Eventually, a waiter saw us and directed us to a very cozy little booth for four. He apologized profusely for giving us such a terrible table, but we actually thought it was a terrific spot.
They have these big plastic menus with more or less a gazillion choices, and little slips of paper you write your orders on. Okay. We made some selections and waited for our food.
The first couple of dishes were okay. Nothing spectacular. I would say that their sushi rice was a tad too mushy, but it's nothing too noticeable. The bento grass garnish was a cute touch, not every all-you-can-eat place does that. The tamago, oh god, just don't order it. I know, sushi places just order tamago wholesale, but theirs is just terrible. It was like eating a slice of dry kitchen sponge.
The tempura is not their strong point. Heavy with oil and lacking that signature crisp, the batter was simply too dense. I usually wolf down at least five or eight shrimp tempura in one sitting, but this time, I was done after two. I would like to note that they do offer good variety for tempura: I distinctly remember taro, pumpkin, and various vegetable options.
The makis were packed with a bit too much rice, and lacking in vegetables and fish. See how much more they could have rolled into them? Having worked at a sushi restaurant before, I notice these things only too well... I did like their mango salmon roll, though, because the mango was perfectly ripe. The mussels were pretty bad, slathered with mayo, with water under the meat. Not appetizing.
One thing I did enjoy was their beef maki. I didn't get a picture, but the inside of the maki had a thin slice of cooked beef rolled around vegetable (I think it was cucumber). Very chewy, and quite creative!
Naturally, we had ice cream at the end. I thought it was very weird that they served it to us on a plate, and gave us little bowls and spoons. Whatever works. It's the usual mango, green tea, and red bean. I thought it was too icy, would have been better if it was a bit softer (and hence creamier).
The service was fine. Maybe they have changed their policies after all those negative reviews. We didn't have to wait long between orders, and all our food came. My boyfriend even kept track. We did have to flag down a waiter to ask for the drinks menu; it wasn't on the table and they didn't give us one at the beginning, but it may simply be that they don't expect anyone to order drinks. The price is 23.99$ for dinner on a Monday.
It is a regular restaurant with pretty normal food, some bad, some better. Its accessibility is what really sets it off from other sushi joints; it's practically next to the metro station. We came out stuffed and happy. It's not the best, but certainly not a bad place to catch up with friends.
1805, Rue Sainte-Catherine West
Montreal, QC, H3H 1M2