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Mike Cohen adds Restaurant Miso to one his downtown choices for Japanese cuisine

    Restaurant Miso (www.restaurantmiso.com) has been operating out of the same Ste. Catherine Street location, at the corner of Atwater, for 15 years now. The building was a large McDonald’s when the Ly family purchased and transformed it into one of downtown’s most popular and successful sushi spots.

    I do remember stopping by for a pickup order more than 10 years ago, but until my family went for dinner there recently it had completely disappeared from my radar screen. Well not anymore.!  From the impeccable service, warm atmosphere and an imaginative and large menu we could not believe the fact that we had not dined here before.


    Co-owner Chi-Liem, with chefs Issei Hidaka and Raju Rana.

    The restaurant has seating for 120 people spread over three floors. There is also a seasonal terrace for 30 people. I was greeted by co-owner Chi-Liem, an outgoing and hands on co-owner who makes it a point to get to know his clients. “I would say about 85 percent of our customers are regulars” he told me after chatting with chefs Issei Hidaka and Raju Rana. “I make it a point for our staff to engage with customers. We treat all of our guests like family.”

    When dining at Miso you can start off with a salad or soup or some hot or cold entrees like beef, salmon or tuna tartare, steamed dumplings, oysters grilled chicken skewers and salmon and shrimp fried rolls.

    Our party of three got things going with an order of Inari – (Japanese sweet tofu sashimi), some delicious Rainbow Pizza- (crispy rice cakes with slices of fresh fish), Le Volcano (spicy scallops, crabstick and tobiko, served on sweet potato tempura), Tempura Gunkan (one scallop and one lobster)  and a chicken gyoza.

    From  the Miso specialty section  we went for the Splash Rainbow (spicy red tuna, cucumber, tempura flakes, red tuna,  salmon, white fish, avocado and spicy teriyaki sauce),  the Jardin d’éden  (grilled asparagus, sweet potato tempura, avocado cucumber, mesclun, oshinko and wasabi sauce),  the  Creamy eel  (eel, yellowtail, cream cheese, avocado, massago, cucumber and fried tempura) and Electric Avenue (spicy red tuna, avocado, eel and tempura flakes).

    We then moved on to the Maki and selected  Le Tempura Mania  (red tuna, salmon, avocado, crabstick, tobiko, green onion, asparagus and fried  tempura), the Manhattan ( Lobster, snow crab, scallop, shrimp, avocado, cucumber, massago, lemon and spicy mayo), Le Dragon  Eye ( salmon, tobiko, green onion and fried tempura) and  Le Spider (soft shell  crab, massago, avocado, grilled asparagus, bonito flakes and  Japanese mayo). Everything was delicious, served in a timely fashion and perfectly related to our instructions. I also appreciated the fact that our server Viviane repeatedly came back to the table without us asking to refill our water.

    Needless to say, we had a nice amount of food to take home and enjoy over the following two days.

    We did save room for dessert and the decadent Chocolate soufflé and ice cream. Just give them 10 minutes for preparation and it arrives at the table soft and warm.

    Miso is also popular for lunch, with a table d’hôte priced at $14.95. “For business people needing to be in and out in a timely manner that menu is perfectly suited for them,” said Chi-Hung.

    The venue is often used for parties, corporate functions and even vernissages.

    We are often in the area because we like seeing movies at the Cineplex Forum theatres. Now that we have discovered Restaurant Miso, we are sure to return. Next time I wish to try the Tartare and possibly the oysters or the steamed dumplings.

    Restaurant Miso is located at 4000 Rue Sainte-Catherine West. It is open Monday to Friday from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and for dinner Sunday to Wednesday from 5 pm to 10 pm and Thursday to Saturday from 5 pm to 11 pm. For more information email info@restaurantmiso.com,  log on to www.restaurantmiso.com or call 514.908.MISO (6476).

    Mike Cohen

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