Friday, June 5, 2015

Sumi Dojo is one of the new restaurants taken on the izakaya scene in Montreal. Two years ago, there were three well-known izakayas - Big in Japan, Kazu and Imadake. Japanese cuisine has become mainstream in many major cities, but Montreal has not yet ride along with this trend. Within a year, we now have Kinka Izakaya, Kabocha and Sumi Dojo.

This restaurant, situated on St-Laurent, is run by four owners, some of which were former employees of Imadake. You still get to experience the sake bomb drill. Some of the classic izakaya dishes (takoyaki, okonomiyaki, etc...) are available. The distinct feature is that it focuses on Japanese fusion. It combines the best flavours of various cuisines into Japanese staple food. I was to easily identify four cuisines - French, Italian, Chinese and South-East Asia.

Sumi Dojo has a wide selection of items with pictures associated to ease with your choices. Three types of ramen (salt, shoyu and tonkotsu) are as well available. Their special menu offers fresh fishes and shellfishes imported from Japan. They also have Japanese wagyu served in limited quantity, so pay attention on their social media pages if you crave for authentic wagyu.

My brother and I opted for the baked jumbo oyster. It is cooked over charcoal with melted mozzarella cheese topped with a dollop of pesto. Everything tastes delicious when comes to charcoal. Fresh and delicious! One suggestion is to add an element of crunch like bread crumbs or even better, panko crumbs to make it outstanding.

Baked Jumbo Oyster
My brother and I are fans of soft shell crabs. Deep-fried in a panko batter is the best way to eat these juicy and tasty creatures. The dipping sauce is a mixture of garlic and fish sauce. Combining fish sauce with soft shell crab might not be a good idea because it has a pungent taste that ruins the delicate and sweet nature of the crab. When I had the soft shell crab at Imadake, it was served with soy sauce which helps intensifies the flavour of the crab.

Soft Shell Crab with Garlic-Fish Sauce
My friend Carlos ordered the takoyaki. In my view, Imadake serves the best takoyaki in Montreal. Sumi Dojo did a great job honouring the texture and taste of these octopus balls. It's gooey inside with a crisp exterior. The Japanese mayo, tonkatsu sauce and bonito flakes are always great additions that make them addictive to eat.

Now it's ramen time. Ramen-fanatic Carlos, Japanese friend Midori and my ramen amateur friends are in search for the best ramen in Montreal. So, expect a post on the best ramen in Montreal soon. Our search is almost done. Most of us ordered the tonkotsu ramen. (For more details about tonkotsu ramen, read my post on Yokato Yokabai.) The broth is simmered for two days using pork bones and shellfishes. It has a creamy feel from all the simmered pork fat and layers of complexity that I'm looking for. The noodles are the yellow high-alkaline type. The chashu has a nice caramelization with a sweet glaze. The bamboo shoots were marinated with great flavours. Some of us found their ramen quite salty. Mine was just right. There might an inconsistency in the seasonings. Even though it is ramenlicious, I was somewhat disappointed that it has an almost identical flavour profile as Imadake. I was hoping to taste something unique. 

Tonkotsu Ramen
You have to save room for some sweets because it is the most exciting part of their menu. All of their desserts are a take on European classics with a Japanese twist. That is where the real fusion kicks in. It's a Europe-meets-Japan type desserts. You can opt for the green-tea red-bean millefeuille, sake chocolate fondant, miso cheesecake, jasmine tea panna cotta, green tea parfait, etc... Sound tempting, right?

My friend had the mille-feuille. The puff pastry has a pleasant crack when cutting with a fork. The flavours are dominated with punches of green tea and red bean flavours. 

Green Tea and Red Bean Mille-Feuille
My bro and I finished our meal with a jasmine tea panna cotta topped with a dark brown Japanese syrup served with a side of ginger ice cream. The taste of the infused jasmine tea leaves is quite pleasant and noticeable. The syrup has a subtle bitter and sweet notes that balances well with the flavour of the panna cotta. The ice cream has a strong tangy taste of ginger.

Jasmine Tea Panna Cotta and Ginger Ice Cream
We will definitely return to Sumi Dojo to try out their other offerings especially their desserts. I hope that I'll be able to sample their Japanese wagyu beef. 

It is well-located in the heart of downtown on St-Laurent. It will attract a huge crowd for those searching for some excitement and sake bombs.

Sumi Dojo
3479 boul. St-Laurent
Montreal, QC
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