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Mike Cohen enjoys the Omakase experience at RYU Westmount

    I have been a big fan of Japanese cuisine for many years now. But it was only upon dining at the absolutely fabulous RYU Westmount (www.ryusushi.ca) location recently that I agreed to the suggestion of making our order via the Omakase experience. It turned out to be an excellent choice!

    Omakase represents a traditional way to eat a chef-chosen selection of dishes. So, after Augustin asked if we had any allergies, we waited in anticipation for the items to arrive at our table.

    Let me first provide some background about this restaurant. RYU, recognized by many as providing the best modern Yoshoku (Western and Japanese style) dining in Montreal, recently added Westmount (4185 Saint-Catherine St W) and Outremont (288 Rue Laurier W) locations to its roster.

    Known throughout Montreal for its fresh ingredients and unique philosophy, RYU has four additional locations: its sushi bar in the heart of downtown (1468 rue Peel) now undergoing an expansion; its shop in Carrefour Laval (3035 Boul. Le Carrefour), and two bars in Montreal’s Trudeau Airport.  Look for another spot to surface soon in trendy Griffintown. Toronto is also on the drawing board.

    The RYU brand has become known throughout Quebec for their fresh and delicious maki, sashimi, and nigiri plates, as well as creating an original and relaxed vibe with each and every location. These harmonious dining experiences are the product of the “Eating RYU” mission – the brand’s commitment to bring to its customers the freshest meals that feel great, inside and out. This mission is further realized through RYU’s strong dedication to sustainability and ethical farming practices. This means all their fish is farmed responsibly, or wild caught, and is 100 percent Ocean Wise Certified. In fact, RYU’s menus offer a detailed description of exactly where their various fish are caught. What’s more, RYU is also partnered with Meal Share, and donates a percentage of their monthly sales to help local children in need receive meals.

    At every location, RYU lets their head chefs imagine and execute their own masterpiece menus, bringing the same high-quality sushi through a unique story to their clients.  In Westmount, RYU lovers can enjoy new original conceptions of nigiri, specialty maki, sashimi and poke dishes. Taste mouth-watering Shiitake Shiitake, Cajun Tuna, Ryu Rainbow, and Salmon Truffle Maki. RYU Westmount also offers tasty poke classics at lunch; like tuna poke with sesame shoyu, wakame, cucumber, tobiko, green onion, nori, garlic chips, and wasabi. At this new spot, customers can explore innovative and delicious interpretations of their classic fresh foods that make Japanese dining so good! Not only does RYU Westmount have delicious sushi, it’s also home to Livia Matcha, an exquisite new boutique matcha bar offering the very best ceremonial grade matcha. This specialty bar serves their “super powder” in a wide variety of original products; from the more classic lattes, green teas, and coffees, to innovative dishes such as matcha waffles. What’s better than enjoying RYU’s mouth-watering bites with drinks that are not only good for the body, but help harness a peaceful state of mind too?

    Our Dining Experience

    We were greeted to the restaurant by George and Derby, two members of an impressive management team.  This venue has seating for about 40 people, including the sushi bar.  As Derby told us, RYU has become very popular on the catering, takeout and delivery scenes as well.

    Augustin gave us a quick preview of the menu and then introduced us to Lorenzo, who is the resident mobile bartender. With his trusty cart, he goes from table to table describing all kinds of impressive sounding drinks. He then prepares your selections right at the table. A very personable young man, he provided us with so many tempting options. In the end we chose the Ry Tai and the Nori-Ega, both sweet, fruity and worthy of you making such a request when you visit.

    Now he put so much hard work into these drinks I wanted to share exactly what they contain,

    Ry Tai, a play on words of a mai tai, is fruity/sweet (not overly sweet) with summertime island vibe/flavours. Dark rhum base, dry curacao, fresh pressed grapefruit juice, fresh pressed lime juice, fresh pressed pineapple juice, almond syrup, house pineapple cinnamon syrup, Fresh ginger and a peychaud bitter float. Nori-ega is a classic take on a margarita: simple, with crisp flavors, fresh acidic/citrus, tequila, dry curacao, fresh pressed lime, house cilantro lime syrup, fresh cilantro and nori dust and sea salt rum.

    It was very cold on the evening we dropped by, so Augustin wisely suggested we start off with a couple of bowls of piping hot Miso Soup. At that point we were totally in the hands of him and chef Michael.  The first item to arrive was a delicious blue fin tuna roll, with cucumber and avocado. Next came an attractive bowl containing nigiri, a specific type of sushi consisting of a slice of raw fish over pressed vinegared rice. There were two pieces each of blue fin tuna (a special roll offered at theWestmount location), hamachi, red snapper, tobio (flying fish), king salmon and kampachi.  We did not want this tasting to end. Next came the sashimi, thinly sliced raw meat that is served without rice.  There was bonito, abacore, blue fin, hamachi, king salmon and tobio.

    Yes after all of this we were pretty much full. But could we refuse dessert and an ice cream dish with smores. It was the perfect way to conclude an absolutely superb dining experience.

    I cannot wait to try the other locations.

    For more information log on to http://www.ryusushi.ca or follow the restaurant at https://www.instagram.com/ryu.sushi.

    For reservations, takeout or delivery call 514.446.1468 or email: info@ryumtl.com. Hours of Operation in Westmount are Monday to Wednesday, 11:00 am to 10:00 pm;  Thursday to Saturday, 11:00 am to 11:00 pm;  and Sunday, 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

    Mike Cohen

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