The Divas love Old Montreal – the vibe, the old world charm and, of course, the bounty of excellent restaurants. Divas #2 had been wanting to return to Kyo Bar Japonais for awhile and planned a dinner with Peaches, a new friend that she met in the office. Naturally, Diva #1 was invited, who then invited Sweet Pea, and then the Artist wanted a Diva Night, so she came too, and more wanted to come for drinks. Diva #1 can never have a small dinner; it always has to be a party!
Luckily, the Happening Gourmand event was in full swing, and like Kyo, 8 restaurants in Old Montreal were offering reduced price table d’hôte menus for either lunch or dinner, ranging from 21$ to 29$. It is the perfect way to indulge in some of Old Montreal’s best restaurants for great prices. The Divas were lucky enough to sample a dish from each restaurant when they were invited to the Happening Gourmand media tasting. So we chose Kyo Bar Japonais in good faith.
We decided to start our dinner with cocktails. The Sake Tonic was refreshing and smooth on the palate. The Kyo Cesar had just a little kick of spice and the seasoning on the rim of the glass was not celery salt, but something fishy, which added a salty dimension to offset the acidic Clamato. The Pomelo Old Fashioned was strong, with a slightly sweet taste coming from the maple and pomelo. The Goldorak was delicious, with the taste of honey and citrus pairing perfectly with the mild pear vodka and Chartreuse.
The table d’hôte menu at Kyo is 25$, there are 4 appetizers to choose from and when you’re at a table of 5 strong-willed women, you end up with 4 of the same dishes. In our defense the Divas would not have let anyone voluntarily order the tofu, especially when beef sashimi is on the menu. Seared ever so slightly, the meat was raw, fresh and tenderized. The beef sashimi was perfect. The paper thin slices of crisped garlic added a little contrast and the flavour was not overpowering. The beef sat in a pool of ponzu sauce, a Japanese staple, which added a tart bite.
Sweet Pea was bullied into taking one for the team by allowing us to order a different appetizer for her. She ordered the Sunomon salad which was composed of thin Harusame noodles, cucumber, coriander, delicious seaweed and crab. Decorated with lemon, the dressing was a little messy and pooled under the noodles, but the taste was magnificent.
We were chatting, laughing, and filling in our new friend Peaches on some Diva stories. Zeus called us to say he would be joining us for drinks and bringing along a new lady friend. This definitely piqued our curiosity!
Drinks were flowing and the Artist and Diva #1 both ordered the Ninja, it was true to its name because it sort of sneaks up on you. Served with a slice of jalapeno floating on the surface, the Ninja became spicier as the drink lingered, mellowed slightly by the sweet watermelon and cranberry juice. Although we did not try all of Kyo’s Happening Gourmand appetizers , we were more logical when it came time for the mains, making sure that we sampled each one.
The fried pork was breaded with Panko crumbs and had a very crunchy coating. It was good, but our complaint was that if you had a bite without any of the sweet sauce, it was just breaded pork, without a wow factor. They needed to include more sauce. It was served with a fresh coleslaw of red and white cabbage and delicious spicy sugar snap peas that proved difficult for some of us to grab with the chopsticks. Mediterranean problems!
Next came the tempura shrimp, served with sweet potato slices, zucchini, onions, and butter fish, all deep fried in tempura batter. The batter on the shrimp was a little too thick for our liking, but the seafood was tender and the batter was tasty and not overly fried. The veggies were still a little crisp when you bit into them, which was wonderful, but the butterfish confused The Artist, she could not tell if it were a meat or veggie. We did our best not to judge her…
The chirashizushi was very interesting. A big bowl of sushi rice was covered in fresh, raw fish and assorted vegetables. We were eager to dig into this dish and should have taken the time to mix in the ingredients but it was too good. Unfortunately that meant that we ate most of the toppings and left a big bowl of white sushi rice underneath. Filled with tuna, salmon, asparagus, edamame beans, seaweed, and more, the dish was very filling and could best be described as a large bowl of deconstructed sushi. Thankfully it came with edamame beans because we had forgotten to order them as a side for poor little Sweet Pea.
The chef’s selection platter consisted of 15 pieces of maki, so we did not know what we were getting until it was in front of us. We ordered two orders of this and it consisted of the following makis: Kyo, California, Kamikaze and Avocado rolls. We had had the honour of trying their Kamikaze and Kyo rolls at the Happening Gourmand media event, plus we had eaten at Kyo Bar Japonais before. We knew that their fish would be fresh and every bite full of flavour, and we were not disappointed. California and avocado rolls are common sushi, but if you go to Kyo you need to try their more unique combinations.
Of course we had to order extras, and thankfully Kyo’s Happening Gourmand menu offers side plates and different nigiri, sashimi and maki for an additional cost. One of our side orders included the Kyo makis, which we had fallen in love with in the past. We loved the combination of tuna with strawberry, slightly sweet and tart at the same time coupled with avocado and lychee, an intense combination if there ever was one.
We also ordered the Spicy salmon and Snake rolls. The Snake roll had thin slices of avocado on top of each makis which made it smooth and creamy. Each makis was stuffed with spicy tuna, shrimp and tempura; this may have been one of the night’s favourites. The Spicy Salmon was also delicious; it was not overly spicy and very fresh with the julienned cucumber. Served with traditional wasabi and white pickled ginger as a palate cleanser, the makis were devoured in no time.
As our plates were being cleared, Zeus arrived with his new lady friend. She looked like virginal snow; young, innocent and petrified to be introduced to a table of five aggressive women. The Divas could smell the blood in the water! We gave her a hard time but maybe she learnt something from us… Sweet Pea feared for her all night.
As our new guests settled in and more drinks were ordered, including shots, dessert arrived. We all ordered the Yuzu Donuts except poor Sweet Pea, she was bullied yet again! This is our favourite dessert at Kyo, we had first tried it at their Opening Event and we just couldn’t get enough. Playfully served on a chopstick hovering over a bowl of condensed milk, the donuts were covered in sugar, warm, light and fluffy. The condensed milk was not overly sweet and perfect for dipping. The donuts were definitely satiating!
Next was Sweet Pea’s green tea flakie pastry. Similar to the strawberry flakie pastry that we had tried at by Suite 701 at the Happening Gourmand media event, the puff pastry was light, the whipped cream was cool and the green tea cream was smooth. The whole pastry was dusted with green tea powder, and though the green tea flavour was mild, it was creamy and delicious.
We decided to continue our night and head to Méchant Boeuf for cocktails, also participating in Happening Gourmand, to visit our favourite oyster shucker, Chef Jason Nagy. More of our friends joined us at the bar, including la Femme Fatale and her man, who were kind enough to get us tequila shots, even though we broke up with tequila long ago, for it had scorned us so many times.
We spent the night eating dozen after dozen of oysters and drinking cocktails. Diva #1 enjoyed terrifying Zeus’ Vestal Virgin of his sexual prowess. Diva #2 never appreciated Diva #1 more! The Divas and friends had a fabulous night that started at Kyo Bar Japonais with delicious food and a fantastic ambiance, and we can’t think of a better way to end any night than with great friends, drinks and oysters. We are sure that Peaches will come out with the Divas again, although we don’t know about the Vestal Virgin.
You have until February 2nd to check out Kyo Bar Japonais for Happening Gourmand, it is well worth it!
Our Rating: Splendid
Tagged: 711, Beef Sashimi, California Roll, Chef’s Selection, Chirashizushi, Cocktails, Cote de la Place d’Armes, Event, Green Tea Flakie Pastry, H2Y 2X6, Happening Gourmand, HG Montreal, Izakaya, Japanese, Kyo, Kyo Antonopoulos, Kyo Bar Japonais, Kyo Japanese, Kyo Montreal, Kyo Old Montreal, Kyo Place D'Armes Hotel, Kyo Roll, Maki, Méchant Boeuf, Montreal, Nigiri, Old Montreal, Old Port, oysters, Reservations Needed, Sake, Sake Tonic, Sashimi, Snake Roll, Spicy Salmon, Splendid, Sunomon Salad, Sushi, Table d’hôte, Tempura Shrimp, Terrence Ding, Tofu, Tonkatsu, wine, Yuzu Donuts