This is my second to last Montreal posting, but probably my favourite in terms of pure photo genius. Little digital camera with no manual settings and Windows Photo Editor, I kneel before thee! Let no one say you need a fancy camera and tripod and magic lighting to take good pictures of food.
Like so many of us, of course, I love Sushi. Being poor and sometimes a bit lazy to do it myself, I don’t eat it that often. Of course, articles like this don’t make me feel any better about that, or that my best efforts in home-made sushi could ever live up to the label ‘good’ or even ‘decent’. No, I will never wake up at 3 a.m. to bribe fishmongers for the perfect piece of tuna – but I will be consistently disappointed by eating mediocre sushi at affordable establishments! Oh yes, I will.
However, this trip to Montreal I said ‘no’. Despite the sky-rocketing Canadian Dollar, a nice sushi dinner is still far more within my price range here than it ever would be in London and I was going to take advantage of it by trying the nicest sushi restaurant I knew from my time in Montreal: Sho-Dan. And oh, unlike the 2-4-1 spicy tuna rolls I ate with N the night she forgot her keys and made her boyfriend J take a crosstown cab, it was glorious.
Pictured above is their “Tuna Flower” – a role with big beautiful thick chunks of seared tuna served with two accompanying sauces. Instead of seaweed, this role is wrapped in soy paper, used as a completely flavourless binder, allowing the flavours of the roll to emerge more strongly. Or so the chef at the bar told me.
Since it was lunchtime, I also got a their combo platter called ‘Intro to Sushi’. While I felt I didn’t actually need any introduction to this beloved food, the chef promised its components were not set, but certain parts changed based on what was fresh and good that day. It was magical – it had been so long since I had tasted truly ‘good’ sushi – fish cut so superbly it need not be chewed, or even bitten, rice served perfectly at room temperature, with a delicate touch of wasabi. At other sushi joints, I have had surf clam so chewy I discreetly spit it in my napkin, but not so at Sho-dan.
The meal was reasonably priced – the sushi combo was a decent $16.95 CAD (8.50 pounds, $18.oo US) and the tuna flower, which contained enough high quality tuna for about 1.5 steaks was $16.00 CAD (8.00 pounds, $17.00 US).
However, the question is – how will I ever go back to the dregs I was eating before?