Knowing Kaizen Sushi Bar & Restaurant has been a pillar of Sushi Restaurants in Montreal for ten years, I was very curious to visit them at their new location, across from their old location on Ste-Catherine Street West.
I was pleased to see that they put as much thought in the atmosphere as they did in the decor. The cathedral ceilings, dramatic red and blue draperies, onyx obelisk-like sculptures warmly lit from the inside all contribute to the overall Mondial lounge/chill atmosphere. The attractively and hip wait staff have just enough attitude to create a mood, but not enough to make you feel uncomfortable. The crowd…very eclectic from the elderly to families to young professionals…all seemed to enjoy the accessible environment.
Famous for their “Power Lunch Specials” Monday thru Saturday, Kaizen has catered to the Montreal business lunch crowd for years. Frequented by the City’s business elite and their clients, as well as Montreal ’s visiting Stars of Film and Music. Renown to be caterers to the corporate lunch crowd where many a deal have been reportedly brokered in many of Montreal Boardrooms over Kaizen Sushi Platters ordered from their online web based delivery service aptly named “Sushi à Go Go”.
Their daily “Happy Hour” attract an after work crowd wanting to shake off the stress of the day, and there is a great back-bar reserved just for this.
Live Jazz in the evenings rounds off the Kaizen experience. The fusion of Sushi & Jazz is making the Orient cool and hip from Sunday to Tuesday. It’s the perfect setting for the “Live” experience because of the layout of Kaizen; you can hear the music, you can see the band, but you can still enjoy conversation at your table.
Then there is the food….featuring the Mastery of Executive Chef Keitaro
Now, if you don’t like Sushi and your being nice by tagging along with your Sushi addicted friends, you’ll be happy to find many alternatives on the menu from Chicken and Kobe Steak Teriyaki, the unique Oyster Tri-Afeller, Grilled Fish, Tempura Tiger Shrimp, Kobe Burger (hamburger with a Kaizen twist) and even Lamb Chops, just to name a few. Regardless, you’ll want to order one of the four choices of their House specialty Gyoza dumplings served with a unique spicy dipping sauce. Share a plate if you must…but have at least one.
There are soooo many appetizers to choose from and I saw a few being brought to other tables that make me regret just ordering dumplings. The only solution is to return often.
If you’re sold on Sushi, you’re going to love the mix of old favorites as well as house specialties. I started with my “faves”; Kamikaze, Spicy Tuna and a variety of Sashimi. I figured if they can’t get these right, then forget it. But I was very impressed by the quality of the preparation and the freshness of the ingredients. The generous cuts of the freshest sashimi were satisfyingly easy to eat. They came alive with the flavour and intensity that I like.
So I moved on to the specialties. Again, so many to chose from. If you love lobster, you’ve come to the right place because you’ll find it portrayed often on the menus. Try the Lambas Maki Sushi with lobster, sweet potato, tempura flakes wrapped in a sensuous rice crepe. Ask for the Sushi Pizza…the taste and presentation will knock you’re socks off. Go for the Sushi-a-Go-Go platters for a connoisseur’s selection if you’re unsure.
I’ve never been a fan of hot Sake…so imagine how pleased I was to be offered a tasting of Kaizen’s privately imported stock of Premium Sakes…served chilled. Owner, Michael Sniatowsky worked in Japan for many years and told me Sake is served warm in Japan only to alter the less than perfect taste of lower quality Sakes. And he’s right. The vast array of quality Sake has a lot more personality when served chilled. They will soon offer a selection of frozen and Sparkling Sake. Sake-luscious!!!!
Kaizen has a great variety of red and white wines and thankfully, a nice selection of House made deserts, from their resident Pastry Chef Michael Rae, which is rare in a Sushi restaurant. I love green tea ice cream but sometimes, I crave that chocolate fix.
Kaizen tries to be many things, and surprisingly enough, does them all well. It is no wonder that they have been voted “Best Sushi in Montreal ” seven years in a row by the Montreal Mirror’s sondage of readers. They even have a terrace in the summer and a very intimate room with an oyster and sake bar.
If you haven’t tried it…than you’re simply missing out on Montreal ’s Absolute Best Sushi Bar...