From the moment my wife and I first experienced RYU Sushi (www.ryusushi.ca) last winter, we were hooked on this place. For several months we dined exclusively at the RYU Westmount location. With news that the Peel Street spot had relocated into large premises we were curious to give that venue a try. Manager Jorge Da Silva was there to greet us.
Designed by Ménard Dworkind architecture and design, demolition of the existing space proved interesting. Once completed, evidence of the building’s past was revealed. The original walls were found to be covered in a patchwork of plaster, paint, and wallpaper that had accumulated over the ages. This rich collage inspired MRDK to use the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi for the design direction.
Suspended from the ceiling is a floating structure made of interconnected wooden battens. This recalls traditional Japanese woodwork and also hides the mechanical ducts above. An architectural lighting strategy was developed to bring out the warmth and beauty of this large feature. Mirrors were installed at the end of the dining room doubling this repetitive effect. The carefully detailed bar was entirely covered in Polaris, a synthetic mat black material with a velvet smoothness that gives it a futuristic appeal. Suspended above the bar is along linear light made of 370pieces of laser cut aluminum spaced with brass sleeves. A monolithic brass back bar runs the length of the restaurant and is paired with a raw steel, 30 foot long, angle iron anchored to the columns and supporting more than 100 bottles of sake and Japanese whisky. Opposite the bar are three tables and benches which seem to float. They are cantilevered by steel profiles poured directly into a short concrete wall. Seats are created by wrapping leather around the steel tubes and tables and backrests are made by wrapping the steel with wood. Table lamps made of folded steel and stretched linen are paired with these floating tables.
RYU has six locations in all: Westmount, Peel, Laurier, Carrefour Laval and two bars at the airport. We felt very much at home when we were seated at Peel. Manager Jorge Da Silva, who had taken such good care of us in Westmount is now spending a lot of time there. Ditto for our knowledgeable server Kelvin.
The 1468 Peel Street location only opened two years ago, but being in the heart of downtown it quickly outgrew its premises and moved. Ownership are not giving up that prime real estate, choosing instead to move another one its brands called 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. As or the RYU spot on Peel, is much larger, with space to accommodate 50 There is also a small seasonal terrace with 12 seats.
We had a nice table looking out to the street as we prepared to enjoy the best modern Yoshoku (Western and Japanese style) dining experience. Known for its fresh ingredients and unique philosophy, RYU has specifically gained for its 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. So we made sure to have Kelvin to point out what selections were different at Peel from Westmount. The Jack Sparrow, named after the chef who created it and the popular Pirates of the Carribean movie franchise personality, blew us away. This is Bluefin tuna, with mango, cucumber, avocado, black caviar, tempura, soy paper, spicy mayo and nikiri sauce. Kelvin told us that Chef Jack only introduced as a one-time thing but it was so immediately popular they added it to the menu.
The Shirayuki was another one of the chef’s specialties we really enjoyed: snow crab, ora king salmon, avocado, crabstick tobiko, mizuna, spicy mayo and special ponzu sauce. Then there is the Kaiseki section with classic soba, Japanese style Octopus, Seafood Soba and A4 Wagyu with asparagus, shiitake and shimeji mushrooms and yakiniku sauce. Kaiseki means a traditional yet artistic and gracious Japanese style of cuisine.
Look for the very unique Toro Takouuan, Surf and Wagyu and Wagyu on its own.
We started our meal off with some Japanese octopus and a sashimi roll, containing salmon, tuna, tobiko, cucumber and ponzu. The octopus was extremely tasty!
Not to be missed at any RYU location is the nigari. It is served in an attractive bowl and amounts to a specific type of sushi consisting of a slice of raw fish over pressed vinegar rice. There were two pieces each of blue fin tuna. Hamachi, red snapper, tobio (flying fish), king salmon and kampachi. Next came the sashimi, thinly sliced raw meat that is served without rice. There was bonito, albacore, blue fin, Hamachi, king salmon and tobio.
We saved some room for one of our favorite rolls here, the Paradise – Salmon tartare, avocado, tempura, soy paper, sesame oil and sweet sauce.
There is so much more to choose from on the menu, which you can read online.
Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free menus are also available.
Jorge surprised us at the end of the meal with a few slices of a mouthwatering blueberry/thyme pie mixed with cornflakes and a raspberry coulis.
For reservations, takeout or delivery call 514 446-1468 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Hours of Operation at Peel are Monday to Thursday from 11 am to 10 pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 am to 11 pm and Sundays from 4 pm to 10 pm.