On one particular visit to Park Restaurant, we asked Chef Antonio Park where he eats sushi in Montreal, besides at his own restaurant of course! He responded with Jun I on Laurier, and we’ve been intrigued ever since.
Whenever Potato comes back in town he loudly demands all of our time and attention. He fell in love with Park Restaurant in the winter so he was eager to try a Japanese restaurant of that caliber. In his usual intrusive fashion, Potato gathered up a group of people, this time to try out Jun I.
The Divas were joined by Sweet Pea, P’tit Soeur, Tanya-Kay, and some St. Lau boys including Potato’s little brother, Hot Potato. He’s definitely the better version of Potato! We ordered sake to accompany our meal and our glasses were never empty. It was served chilled and it was a great accompaniment to our sushi.
We started our dinner with two makis, the Funny maki and the TMT. The Funny maki had a lot of different elements to it, namely three types of seafood: fried red tuna and Hamachi with a spicy salmon tartare topping. They each held their own and created a great flavour combination. Everything was fresh and the creamy avocado offset the subtle spiciness from the salmon tartare. A smaller maki, the T.M.T, was a great little, salty bite. It was still slightly warm, with the outside quickly deep fried but just barely so that the red tuna in the middle was still cool and raw. The T.M.T was served in a tensuyu sauce which is a warm soya sauce based sauce with a tang.
The soft shell crab maki is worth the trip to Jun I alone! Rolled with avocado and cucumber for freshness, the soft shell crab itself was deep fried, golden and delicious! The shell was crunchy, sweet and salty with a hint of spice from the Cajun seasoning. And the soya caramel added another dimension of flavour that we weren’t expecting but loved.
The spicy scallop was fresh and overflowing out of the seaweed cone. A little pour of the soy sauce in the cone made for the perfect salty bite, though a little messy. But definitely worth it! And it had just the right amount of spice that balanced with the sweetness of the scallop.
A friend at the table, who is allergic to seafood, ordered the beef tartare. We know what you’re thinking, if you can’t eat seafood at a sushi restaurant what are you going to eat? Well, we’ve been known to bring vegans to steakhouses so it’s not that strange in the end. It does however show that Jun I isn’t a one trick pony and their beef tartare was seasoned to perfection and the acidity of the cherry tomatoes balanced the spicy seasoning and peppery watercress.
In between the surprisingly slow service, Potato was doing his best to impress the ladies but, as usual, fell short. Hot Potato on the other hand just sat there and exuded excellence without even trying to impress us. We were swooning! Poor ol’ Potato was saved when the nigiri platter was presented to the table. Filled with salmon, tuna and scallops, it didn’t last very long! The salmon was a ruby red and cut a little thick so you could really taste the freshness.
A dark pink, the tuna was a favourite at the table. Also cut slightly thicker, the bite was enhanced with a little bit of fresh wasabi and a touch of salty soy sauce. The spicy scallop was also plentiful and while some may not like the texture of raw scallop, we love it. Our only complaint was that it took so long for the kitchen to release the plates that we were growing impatient and antsy. It was a Wednesday night after all so though the small restaurant was full, it wasn’t bursting with patrons.
Despite the slow service, we enjoyed Jun I and are looking forward to going back to try more. Unfortunately the kitchen began to close mid meal so we couldn’t experiment more! The seafood at Jun I is very fresh, but it offers a more traditional take on sushi than Park Restaurant. When a star chef like Antonio Park recommends a restaurant, you don’t just listen, you run!
Our Rating: Splendid
Tagged: 156 Laurier O, Asian, Beef Tartare, H2T 2N7, Japanese, Japanese restaurant, Jun 1 Montreal, Juni Montreal, Laurier, Laurier Montreal, Maki, Montreal Japanese, Montreal Restaurant, Montreal Sushi, Nigiri, Plateau, Red Tuna, Salmon, Scallop, Seafood, Soft Shell Crab, Sushi, Tuna