After a heavy Victoria Day long weekend of drinking from Thursday to Monday… no joke, our livers have never suffered more in such a short period of time, we ended our fabulous weekend with a bang at the media launch of Ryu’s new tasting menu! We had been to Ryu for P’tit Frère’s birthday in January and had a splendid time. We were immediately impressed by our waiter, who remembered us from our initial winter visit, points for remarkable individual attention! We had the options of sake, beer and red or white wine throughout the night. We opted for white wine, alternating between a Pinot Grigio, a German white wine that we couldn’t place and one of our favourite white wines, Santorini Atlantis.
Unfortunately we are going to start with a negative comment, sadly. Though we were there early, the event was overbooked, we sat at the bar which wasn’t a problem but what we were upset about was that we never got any of the delicious maki that was going around. It just never made it to the people sitting at the bar. We had enjoyed the sushi at Ryu in the past, but it would have been nice to try out their new combinations, and we were especially jealous when we saw our fellow bloggers post delicious pics on Instagram. Alas, it was not meant to be; thankfully we did not miss out on any other delicious plates.
Our meal began with their popcorn shrimp with a sriracha aioli. The popcorn shrimp were crunchy and salty but not too greasy. They were not excreting oil, which is always a plus and you could clearly taste the shrimp, which was lovely considering that it was deep fried. The sriracha aioli was delicious, the perfect sauce for this dish and we were impressed with the generous portion. Unfortunately we had to share with the two strangers next to us, it was crunchy and appetizing and we hated pretending to be polite and letting them have the last little popcorn shrimp.
The coleslaw with Asian dressing sounds rather boring but it was fresh and delightful after the popcorn shrimp. Whereas the popcorn shrimp was heavy because it was deep fried, this light salad was full of crispy cabbage and a nice tangy dressing. The coleslaw was not only composed of red and white cabbage but julienned carrots and bean sprouts, which added to the Asian experience at Ryu. Light fresh greens were also tossed into the vegetables and though we hate admitting to liking a salad, we enjoyed it very much.
The cured Arctic char was rather fantastic, thinly sliced and a beautiful orange and red color, this fish smelled so fresh as the plate hit the table. A fan of beets, they were sliced paper thin and were an interesting accompaniment to the fish. Our only complaint was that the beets needed a touch of salt to properly incorporate them with the fish; they were blander than what we had expected. The burrata in the dish, which is our favourite cheese, was comparable to any burrata found in any Italian restaurant. Creamy and bursting with flavour, we had never thought to couple cheese with raw fish, it certainly made for an interesting combination of flavours. This was a mixture of fresh Italian cuisine with raw Japanese, where else will you find that?
Our favourite of the night was the striped bass sashimi with a citrusy ponzu sauce, truffle emulsion, black tobiko, and thinly sliced crispy fried leeks as a topping. This was decadence, the fish was fresh and the pieces a generous thickness, the ponzu sauce added a creaminess to the dish and hints of truffle were left in your mouth after each bite. The tobiko added a fishy saltiness, but there was only a bit of it so it enhanced the dish, as opposed to monopolizing it the way fish roe can. The fried leeks added a crunch which offset the creaminess of the ponzu sauce. This was a multidimensional dish that incorporated a variety of textures and flavours, definitely something that must be ordered at Ryu.
If you have ever gone for sushi with Diva #1, you know that she loves sushi pizza! These deep fried rice cakes were crispy and not even a little soggy under the weight of the lobster. The lobster was sweet and not tossed with fillers in an attempt to fool a sushi aficionado. A slightly spicy sauce was drizzled under the rice cakes; it was very little, just enough to add a hint of spice. We very much enjoyed this dish, it was fun, tasty and full of lobster. We just picked it up and ate it with our hands; well it is pizza after all
We are somewhat of octopus snobs, in all fairness we are of Greek and Italian descent; we have tasted our fair share of grilled octopus. The biggest mistake that can be made with grilled octopus is that it is overcooked and therefore chewy. Sadly this was the case at Ryu, the grilled octopus was also bland and the Jerusalem artichoke purée required some seasoning too. We dipped the octopus in the purée to soften the meat, but the artichoke purée was bland and it just tasted creamy, no flavour truly stood out. Meh!
The filet mignon tataki can only be described as divine. The Divas like their meat raw, and when not having tartare, we like our meat medium rare to rare, the carnivores in us love to taste the meat. The AAA filet mignon was seared perfectly on the outside while red on the inside. Sitting in a pool of its juice and some olive oil, it impressively arrived at our table topped with caramelized onions and fried crispy kale. Vegan Vixen loves a good kale salad, but this wasn’t your hippy-loving diet-kale super food, this was fried to a crisp and used to add another texture to the tataki. This was a great dish!
Two little side dishes arrived with the filet mignon tataki. Some amazing thick cut French fries which were hand cut and cooked to perfection with some raw green onions tossed in for flavour. And Brussels sprouts… oh we know what you’re thinking, who the hell wants to eat Brussels sprouts? Many children, but not us because we are ethnic and Brussels sprouts are for white children, those poor saps are often forced to eat this super food. Though we weren’t ecstatic to receive this side dish, it was absolutely phenomenal. Each little leafy ball was charred on the grill and bursting with buttery, salty and lemony flavour. They were delicious and if more parents made Brussels sprouts for their children like this, we promise you that the little rugrats would eat them all. Brussels sprouts are not meant to taste this good…
We left Ryu slightly deflated that after such a fabulous meal, we never got to try any of their new sushi rolls. On the other hand we were very impressed with many of their other dishes and it certainly motivated us to make plans to return and try their maki. It was great to see our blogger peers like Day Jobs and the Nightlife, and Carrie from Zurbaines. Food events are always fun, we meet our fellow bloggers, mingle, enjoy good food and drink, and enjoy a fun night. Ryu’s food was delicious, wine was flowing and we had a lovely time!
Our Rating: Splendid
Tagged: 288 Laurier Ouest, Arctic Char, Asian, Cocktails, Filet Mignon Tataki, Fusion, Grilled Octopus, H2V 2K2, Japanese, Laurier, Maki, Montreal Food, Montreal Restaurant, Outremont, Ponzu, Popcorn Shrimp, Reservations Needed, Ryu, Ryu Laurier, Ryu Montreal, Ryu MTL, Ryu Outemont, Ryu Sushi, Sashimi, Striped Bass Sashimi, Striped Sea Bass, Sushi, sushi Pizza, Tataki, wine