Montreal is not known for tornados, however, on this particular day, a warning had been issued for the city. But a Diva needs to eat and a little old tornado warning was not going to stop Diva #2 from meeting up with some of her former grad school classmates and enjoying a good meal.
Diva #2’s friend, Made in Taiwan (MIT) suggested Kinoya after hearing some of her colleagues rave about it. G-Spot, Diva #2’s other friend, who is a legitimate vegetarian (unlike our Vegan Vixen), approved their menu selection. Diva#1 hopes to never meet G-Spot, Vegan Vixen is as close to a vegetarian as she would ever like to get. She plans on eating the next vegetarian that goes by.
The restaurant is decorated with grey and pink flower motifs on the walls and even the floor. Our waitress greeted us and explained the drink and food menus and pointed out that Kinoya actually means “to share”
Diva #2 and MIT started with drinks, the Salty Baby, a mix of gin and grapefruit juice and the Minami, made with vodka, Disaronno and guava juice. Both were refreshing with the addition of freshly squeezed juice. G-Spot refrained from drinking as she still had two weeks left on a restricted diet that Diva #2 kept questioning the legitimacy of. Diva #2 does not believe in diets!
G-Spot looked over the vegetarian options while Diva #2 and MIT tried to decide what to get. Our waitress asked if we knew what we wanted and we answered simultaneously “the menu!” since it all looked good. We really wanted to try the “one night beef tongue” but unfortunately, they didn’t have because not enough people were ordering it. It’s rare a Diva is disappointed with tongue.
So we started with the Butterfish carpaccio. Presented in 5 slices topped with thin slivers of green onion and a jellied sauce, the fish was tender and flavourful. We also had the white tuna tataki. Cut in thicker slices and topped with caviar, the tuna was meatier, fresh and light.
We had two types of salmon. First the salmon tartare which was stacked with avocado. The salmon was fresh and delicious and the avocado added an additional layer of smoothness to the fish. We had to use a fork for this one, chopsticks weren’t getting the job done.
The salmon with a honey wasabi sauce was interesting. Served in individual serving spoons, Diva #2 was expecting the wasabi to be overwhelming. Instead, it enhanced the salmon and was better than the tartare.
One of Diva #2’s favourite dishes of the night was the octopus. Marinated with a yuzu ponzu sauce, the octopus was beautifully presented. Sliced thinly, it soaked up the sauce and was very tender. Definitely a dish worth ordering and returning for.
Kinoya had a variety of vegetarian dishes to choose from and Diva #2 admits they were tasty. The Divas have nothing against vegetables. We just don’t believe they should be the basis of your entire form of sustenance. We like to think of them as palate cleansers or side dishes. The veggie tempura was a large portion and included broad beans on a skewer, enoki and king oyster mushrooms, and sweet potato. The coating was light and crispy and not at all greasy and the veggies themselves were cooked perfectly.
A bowl of kimchi was also ordered and it was spicy but not overtly so. We would have liked a little more heat. The beans in black sesame sauce did not look appetizing but looks were deceiving. The beans still had a snap to them. And a staple for vegetarians are edamame beans. Nothing special, just something to keep you occupied while waiting for your next dish.
We were still hungry so we asked our waitress to recommend some dishes. While we waited for round two, topics of conversation ranged from how to properly quit your job while your boss is on vacation, to conspiracy theories about old colleagues (which made Diva #2 a little nostalgic for her days in TV production) and other unmentionables. And this, all with only one drink!
More food arrived and G-Spot had the springs rolls and seaweed salad. The spring rolls were very crispy, not greasy and had plenty of filling. The salad, not a favourite for many because of the “non-Western” texture, was perfectly seasoned and still had some bite.
Next we had the lamb skewer. The meat was tender and full of flavour and the red spice that was sprinkled on top was amazing.
The grilled squid was also very good. It was not at all chewy and the char flavour did not interfere with the taste of the squid. And the presentation was playful.
Our waitress also recommended the onigiri with salmon and it was spot on. MIT has had many chilled rice balls, easily found in 7-Eleven’s in Asia, and she said this is one of the best she’s had. A good portion and very filling, it shows how simple ingredients can come together to create a great dish.
Our last dish was the fried udon noodles with pork and kimchi although the humanitarianism must have been running rampant as we chose to have it without the pork so G-Spot could enjoy it as well. We would never have done this for Vegan Vixen, instead we would have peer pressured her into eating it. It arrived steaming hot and topped with dancing bonito flakes. The textures were different and the kimchi added a little spice and crunch at the same time. A good choice and certainly filling.
We had a little room left for dessert. MIT had the fried vanilla ice cream and she described it simply as “it’s ice cream, it’s fried. What else can you say but yum!”
Diva #2 opted for the mochi ice cream and tried the red bean and black sesame seed. The red bean was surprisingly good and refreshing and the sesame seed had a slightly smoky taste to it. Both good choices.
Diva #2 and friends had a great reunion dinner. Kinoya has plenty of choice, the service is friendly and the prices are good. If you’re looking to share some great Japanese food, head over to Kinoya.
Our Rating: Splendid
Tagged: 4250 St-Denis, bistro, Bistro Japonais, Buta Kimchi Yakiudon, Butterfish Carpaccio, Cocktails, Edamame, Fried ice Cream, H2J 2K8, Izakaya, Japanese, Japanese Bistro, Kimchi, Kinoya, Kinoya Bistro Japonais, Kinoya Montreal, Kinoya Plateau, Kionoya Grilled Squid, Lamb Skewer, Mochi Ice Cream, Montreal, Montreal Restaurant, Octopus, Onigiri, Plateau, Reservations Needed, Salmon Honey Wasabi, Salmon Tartare, Sashimi, Seaweed Salad, Splendid, Spring rolls, Squid, St-Denis, Sushi, Vegetarian, Veggie Tempura, White Tuna Tataki, Yuzu Ponzu Sauce