Tri Express has been on our radar for quite some time, it’s known as THE spot for affordable sushi that doesn’t skimp out on quality in Montreal. They only take cash, they don’t serve alcohol (a deterrent for us), and their tiny establishment means that you cannot linger over you meal – but the fish is fresh, the sushi well made, and they have a few inventive dishes on the menu.
You can order à la carte but we opted for the most expensive of their three tasting menus. Still extremely affordable at 39.50$, we actually took some of the maki rolls and the main dish to go because we were so full. It doesn’t seem like a lot of food but we walked in very hungry, and became very full, before the meal was done. They have an even cheaper lunch menu, and cheaper omakase (which means chef’s choice) menus.
JB was stuck with Diva #1, Sweet Pea and Chomedey’s Double D. Thankfully he has a sister and is rather used to all the yelling and craziness associated with a group of girls at dinner. Chomedey’s Double D was fasting 40 days for Orthodox Easter, since she wasn’t eating meat, sushi seemed like the best choice. We like to share our dishes so if one of us is fasting and we’re at dinner, well we’re all fasting then!
We started with what Saint Sushi Bar calls their Sapin de Noel – lobster and shrimp are shredded and tossed with crispy tempura, a touch of spicy mayo, green onions and tobiko, these little towers are piled high on a cracker base. They are like deconstructed spicy maki rolls, and a signature dish at both Tri Express and Saint Sushi Bar, both of these restaurants have a lot of dishes in common, but we preferred Tri Express. We were explained that the chef at Saint Sushi Bar was trained at Tri Express and that’s why both restaurants have a few similar dishes.
Also similar to Saint Sushi Bar, the red tuna and salmon sashimi is thickly cut and seasoned in their house dressing with a hint of sake. The julienne green apples gave it a hint of tartness and the green onions and tobiko gave it that Asian feel. Up until now our dishes were identical to Saint Sushi Bar – and we were eager to see what would make either of these restaurants stand out from the other!
The maki are the best part of Tri Express, they are your traditional maki rolls but made well, full of fresh ingredients and bursting with flavour. Shrimp maki with bits of tempura, cucumber, avocado and other adornments were fresh and full of flavour. We even liked the buttery Boston lettuce peeking out of this particular maki, it added a nice crunch to the sushi and a fresh taste.
Our favourite of the maki rolls was in fact rolled with rice paper in a more Vietnamese fashion, our waiter explained that the chef enjoyed fusing Vietnamese cuisine with traditional Japanese sushi. This roll was topped with thinly sliced red tuna, salmon and avocado, and then sprinkled with tobiko. Traditionally called a rainbow sushi roll, the fish and avocado would overlap, hugging the rice paper containing the roll. This was definitely our favourite of the maki rolls, and all of them came with a house made dipping sauce besides the usual soy sauce, wasabi and ginger options.
The nigiri was much better at Tri Express than Saint Sushi Bar, where Diva #1 had found them a touch too dry, and not fresh enough. At Tri Express we tried both salmon and tuna nigiri, and we found them very fresh and enjoyable. Definitely not dry and we could taste the differences between the two fish – definitely a mark of their freshness!
Our meal ended with a cooked dish that was quite exceptional, it was a sort of deconstructed cooked sushi-like dish that was very flavourful. The red snapper was cooked lightly with plenty of onions in a rich sauce. It was perfect on top of the white rice with sesame seeds. Topped with fresh green onions and tobiko, we were too full to finish it all so we brought it home. It was a nice surprise since we were only expecting to eat a lot of sushi, and nothing cooked.
For affordable sushi in Montreal look no further than Tri Express. Although we wish they had a liquor license, we loved their sushi and would definitely return to try more of their delicacies. They have takeout options, but they only take cash, so make sure that you come prepared!
Our Rating: Splendid
Tagged: 1650 Avenue Laurier, Affordable sushi, H2J 1J2, Japanese, Maki, Montreal Restaurant, Montreal Sushi, Nigiri, rainbow sushi, Sahimi, Salmon, Sushi, Tempura, Tri Express, Tri Express Montreal, Tuna