Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Montreal: Kazu

le premier

I love Montreal, but when it comes to Japanese food, it leaves one wanting.  So in a city where these restaurants fall short, one that doesn't is really something to cheer about. 

On my previous visits I've avoided Kazu because there's always a line, and I'm always too hungry to wait.  But this weekend I had a game plan.  My sister and I hit the St. Laurent street sale and snacked all the way up and all the way down so that by the time we hit the line at Kazu we were ready.  I love it when a plan comes together.

The wait was 24 minutes.  Perfect seeing as it takes 20 minutes for my stomach to digest empanadas.  Kazu is small and for lack of a better word chaotic. Even the walls are chaotic. 

A small cross-section of the walls.

I know, it's a mess, and you want to eat it all.  But my sister and I know our eyes are bigger than out stomachs so we exerted self-control and ordered, starting with cocktails.  Izakayas are known for having great ones, and Kazu was no different.  I had a couple Calpico ones and my sister the fresh fruit and soju.  We could have stayed all night drinking but for the glaring eyes of people waiting in the doorway.

Kazu is by no means a traditional izakaya in that the portions are compartively huge: 

Okinomiyaki with shrimp.

Chicken wings. 
The smallest dish and more in line with what I usually expect at izakayas.

Since my sister and I sat at the bar we got to see the chefs work.  I took a couple things away from that.  The first is that the guy is sorta cute (there's also a girl, but we're not talking about her).  The second is that the prep for this place must be insane.  They have so many different sauces which start in these plastic containers and then get poured into squeeze bottles.  Cute chef plus multiple squeeze bottles equates to messy magic.

Few restaurants are really worth waiting in line.  I usually just do it because it makes me feel like I'm part of something, and don't we all want to belong?!?  The true measure of a great meal is food memory.  I still think about the salmon tuna bowl at Kazu.  It was really good.  Nothing extraordinary about it, just fresh pieces of seasoned fish, rice, lettuce and other vegetables, those sorta tasteless but superfun fried noodle things, and sauce.  So simple.  So many flavours.  So fun.  So dramatic.  So delicious.

I will go back and eat it again.  But this time, I refuse to share with my sister.  I don't think she wants to share with me anyway.

Dear Salmon Tuna Bowl, I miss you.
Kazu is like an emerald in a gold mine.  If an emerald were Japanese food and the gold were poutine.  Both precious, just different.

Eat something different.

Kazu on Urbanspoon


  1. oh, nice write-up ^_^ somehow strikes me as different than the usual Kazu-lovefest. Also, I miss that tuna & salmon bowl, too, and I knew that I would miss it from the first taste!

  2. Kazu is a killer izakaya. Amazing food!

  3. Kazu is my favourite Isakaya in Montreal (did a little article on my top 3 isakayas in town: http://tinyurl.com/bpp5dmc


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