Montreal has many Japanese restaurants, but if I have to name one, the first place that comes to mind is Kazu. Since it opened its doors back in 2010, this little eatery in Downtown is always packed. Indeed, the food is amazing.
In case you’ve never been to Kazu, it might be worth mentioning that this is in fact an izakaya style restaurant and you won’t find sushi on the menu. You’ve been warned.
Kazu is conveniently located at St. Catherine Street, near Guy Concordia Metro Station. As I said, the place is very small and always crowded. On top of that, reservations are not available. So, be patient and accept the fact that waiting in line is part of the whole experience. They also have very weird opening hours. But despite it all, the food is so good that people don’t seem to care.
The word izakaya means pub or bar that also serves food. They are casual places where Japonese people go for drinking after work. The typical menu items are usually more substantial than just tapas and many of them can be shared. Kazu sticks to this concept and offer some fantastic less well-known Japanese dishes. The menu is hand-written in pieces of paper stuck up on the wall.
Last time I went there I ordered the tuna and salmon bowl, a delicious combination of rice with marinated tuna and salmon tartare topped with salad and some crispy rice noodles.
I also had the shrimp burger and it was equally stellar. The patty was light yet flavorful, made with ground shrimp and served in soft bun with tomatoes, onions, lettuce, tempura veggies and sun dried tomato & soya sauce mayonnaise. The 48 Hours Pork Bowl and the barbecue pork neck, marinated in a sweet soy and miso sauce, are very popular too.
Don’t leave without trying some homemade ice cream. The one with wasabi caramel sauce I had was out of this world. I love wasabi but I’ve never thought it could pair that well with ice cream. It’s magical. Other topping options are Earl Grey, Matcha Green Tea, Coffee and Saké. The ice cream itself is extremely smooth, which surprised me since the house recipe actually uses milk instead of cream.
Service and Price
Even though the place is busy, the staff does an excellent job and the service is quick and efficient. Personally, they have never disappointed me. The food is reasonably priced. You won’t pay more than $15 per entrée. Servings are generous and everything is carefully prepared. That’s why I’m always eager to come back.
1862 Rue Ste-Catherine O (map)