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No. 24

Jun I


A HIT FROM the moment it opened in 2005, when excellent Japanese food was still under-represented in Montreal, chef Junichi Ikematsu’s jewel box of a restaurant has only improved with age.

The chef’s unique approach melds a European sensibility—a result of his classical French training— with international ingredients in an assured, delicious and playful way. Red tuna tartare, scooped up with taro chips, finds an unlikely partner in black truffle oil, but the fusion is sophisticated and measured. Sushi and sashimi retain their traditional purity, although some of the fish deployed are far from common. Spanish mackerel and flying fish roe keep company with striped bass and Arctic char. Excellent sourcing is reflected in some of the more far-flung fish: bar rayé, omble chevalier and bluefin tuna, for example, are imported directly from the Fukuoka market, while the uni, scallops and snow crab come from local waters.
Maki rolls get modern sauces (say, soy-caramel on the Cajun-spiced softshell crab) and occasionally radical contents—like Quebec venison with puffed rice or grilled scallops with glazed sweetbreads. In his composed dishes, Chef plays a little more with disparate influences. Think dashi broth laden with local whelks or, more emphatically, tortellini filled with ginger-infused sweet potato served with sweet shrimp and a drizzle of beurre blanc. The sake list is impressive, bolstered with private imports from Yamagata and Sendai. Smart diners know to put the menu to one side, simply ask for the omakase menu and let the chefs prepare whatever they think is best that day.
Tuesday to Friday
11:30 AM until 2:00 PMDinner
Monday to Thursday
6:00 PM until 10:00 PM

Friday, Saturday
6:00 PM until 11:00 PM

Photos: Courtesy of Jun I

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