No. 41: Jun I
156 LAURIER AVENUE WEST, MONTREAL, QUEBEC
Jun I is the best Japanese restaurant in Montreal, period. For sushi, sashimi and maki rolls, of course, because chef Junichi Ikematsu’s mastery of traditional Japanese techniques puts him above everyone else in the city.
But Jun I is more than that. Ikematsu’s modern Japanese cuisine is a hybrid that reflects his own unusual culinary background: despite being a native of Kyoto, he was schooled in French culinary tradition rather than the locally paramount kaiseki. So, the hot kitchen speaks with an occasional French—or at least European—accent in dishes like Atlantic cod with cauliflower purée, onion, quinoa, fennel, spinach and celery-juice sauce, and green tea-smoked Arctic char with green apples, carrots, asparagus, apple and shiso purée and matcha cream.
The fusion is sophisticated and measured. The fish is uniformly of very fine quality. What’s not local—like bar rayé, omble chevalier or bluefin tuna—is sometimes flown in directly from Japan. The sake list is impressive, bolstered with private imports from Yamagata and Sendai. Like all fine Japanese restaurants, the best thing you can do here is put yourself unconditionally in the chef’s hands, come what may.
Photo Courtesy of Jun I