If you're looking for traditional high-quality sushi in Montreal, Shinji is the place to go. This restaurant will charm you with its colorful plating, knife work and fresh ingredients.
To get our palate started, we opted for uni (sea urchin) on ice. Good quality sea urchins are hard to find in Montreal's sushi joints. I tried sea urchin for the first time at Uchiko, a James Beard award restaurant in Austin, Texas. The taste blew my mind away. Ever since I set foot back home. I was desperate to find that same quality of taste in Montreal. I have been to at least five sushi joints, none of them matches what I had previously. All of them has this weird, somewhat unpleasant fishy taste. It is said the moment you scoop out the roe from its shell, it is kept fresh up to an hour.
|Sea Urchin (Uni) on Ice|
When it's fresh, the feel is heavenly and foodgasmic! It's sweet, creamy, briney. It's what you will find at Shinji. It will make you want to go back for more sea urchin.
To appreciate the selection of fishes that the restaurant has to offer, we order the sashimi platter. It includes all the sashimi available in their menu. Sashimi is best ordered at the beginning of the meal in order to distinguish the nuances of flavours and textures between each type of fish and its various cuts. It is plated along with colorful garnishes - beet and daikon noodles, seaweed, shiso leaf and skillfully-sliced cucumber.
Now onto a slightly heavier course, we opted for the nigiri and maki platter. Nigiri comes with a variety of thinly sliced fishes that are placed over a small clump of rice. The order comes with two makis. The rainbow roll is filled with shrimp and julienned cucumber, wrapped in thin slices of salmon, tuna and hamachi that are distributed evenly. The other roll is a salmon and cucumber wrapped in green soy paper. Both are hand rolled beautifully and symmetrically.
|Nigiri and Maki Platter|
We followed our meal with the wagyu beef - moist and succulent. A little bit of seasoning and a little sear are only needed to bring out the flavours of the wagyu. It is complimented with marinated shiitake mushrooms and a quail egg to be dipped for creaminess.
|Wagyu Beef with Shiitake Mushrooms and Quail Egg|
One item that pops on their menu is their Ika - squid ink udon noodles, japanese squid, uni sabayon. Who does not want to order that? It sounds mouthwatering. It looks mouthwatering. It tastes mouth-watering delicious. The squid is cooked two ways - grilled and deep-fried in panko crumbs. Both cooked to the right tenderness. The panko crumbs give a nice element of crunch, the taste of the udon has a noticeable taste of squid ink. and the rich creamy taste of the uni sabayon brings all the components together.
|Ika - Squid Ink Udon Noodles, Japanese Squid, Uni Sabayon|
Now let's move onto desserts, the matcha Opéra gâteau is a Japanese interpretation of classic French pastry; it's an elaborated cake which are layered with matcha sponge cake and chocolate buttercream topped with a thin layer of tempered chocolate. Who knew chocolate and matcha pair well together?
|Matcha and Chocolate Opéra Cake|
You will need to leave room for the yuzu tart. Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit in which the taste is a cross between a lemon and an orange. If you never had it before, Shinji is the place to initiate yourself to this wonderful fruit. This tart is packed with yuzu flavours and a sweet crust that breaks easily with a fork.
The next time I would splurge on high-quality sushi, Shinji would be my top choice. From beginning to end, the food is executed with great attention and precision. It's fresh and delicious! Also do not forget to order their sea urchin!
1726 rue Notre-Dame O.