Let it be known that I'm not big on sushi. My biggest issue with sushi is the sheer amount of rice used as filler, the lack of punchy flavours, and how dry it leaves my mouth. I can count the amount of times I have it in a year on one hand, and my only encounters with sushi are instances in which I have social obligations to attend to. I've tried all of Montreal's "best sushi restaurants," and the sentiment has always remained the same: sushi is "meh." Nobody has ever wowed me, and no restaurant has ever made me crave sushi.
Well that's no longer the case.
Presenting the sushi restaurant to quash all sushi restaurants in Montreal (oh yes, I said it) - Akita, Cuisine Asiatique and Sushi Bar.
Akita is located in my neck of the island (aka east) though it's very accessible by car or public transporation. They also deliver, though if you want to experience a trip to heaven and back, I highly recommend you dine in-restaurant - I promise you will not regret it.
Incase you're already thinking nahhhh, I guess I should also point out that it's a bring-your-own-wine restaurant and that the prices here are incredibly reasonable considering the quality you're getting. We were a group of seven, and we paid $160 before tip.
Are you still here? Oh, good!
Upon arrival, we were warmly welcomed by the chef and owner, Loc, an extremely passionate and talented sushi chef who pieced together the most delicious meal I've had in a very long time. Loc is my favorite kind of entrepreneur: dynamic, humble, and completely dedicated to giving you the best culinary experience possible. You'll love this guy.
Now onto the meal!
We began with a simple Miso Soup. Pretty standard: miso, tofu, seaweed, and mushrooms. It was a good warm up (literally) after being outside in our never-ending winter.
Our first dish was the Wakame salad. This was tasty: the flavour was tangy and a little sweet, and I really enjoyed the texture between the crunch of the seaweed and the "pops" of the caviar eggs. The best way to describe it is refreshing, and it was also a great palate cleanser for the sushi to come.
Next up: The Mexican. This was quite possibly my favourite piece of the meal (I'm still undecided - there were so many goodies!) Definitely had a mouthgasm here. It consisted of tempura topped with shrimp tempura, crab meat, spiced salmon and a slightly spicy mayo sauce. So much flavour and oh-so-crunchy.
We then had the One Night Stand rolls. I could make lots of dirty jokes here, but I'll just cut to the chase: if this is what O.N.S.'s are all about, count me in for life. This roll consisted of shrimp tempura, avocado tempura, cucumber, tuna, salmon and spicy mayo, all wrapped in a rice sheet. Lots of flavours, lots of textures, and lots of food-induced-moans around the table after eating this. I guess that explains the name.
We then had the Seven Angels roll: it was a sheet of soy filled with spiced salmon, shrimp tempura, crab meat, and fried onion. Heavenly flavour - that fried onion combined with the spicy salmon gives it a perfect sweet and spicy mix.
Our next piece was the Fuji, a crisp of fried dumpling topped with spiced red tuna, crab meat, red tobiko, mango and a very thin slice of jalapeño. This was also one of my top 3 pieces of the night as I can honestly say I've never had anything like it. A great variation of texture, sweet and spicy flavours, and then that little punch of hot at the end - such a unique piece!
The Tanoshi roll is a riceless roll (yay!) with spiced tuna, shrimp, avocado, and tempura, wrapped in a soy sheet. I really loved the mix of textures in this roll; you really don't realize how much rice makes sushi suck until you experience rolls with little to no rice, which is what chef Loc is all about. This guy knows what's up!
We then had the Jade roll, a combination of tuna, tempura, and crab meat wrapped in a soy sheet. What I liked most about this piece was that it was warm - not your conventional sushi, but it really makes for a delicious and unexpected taste. It also had a mysterious dipping sauce that really took it to the next level.
Now after all that food, we had to do some momentary digesting, so we ordered a pot of green tea. I took a little breather... pondered on how lucky I am to live 5 minutes away from this place... started calculating that having this for dinner nightly comes out to the same as my weekly groceries... Is it dessert time already?
Of course I ordered dessert. Trust me - you don't want to skip the dessert here.
This, my friends, is a ball of fried green tea ice cream. It's topped with honey and sesame seeds, and it is honest to god my favourite thing EVER. The BF - who never ever ever eats dessert - completely fell head over heels for this thing. And I don't blame him, cause so did I. What makes this dessert awesome is that you experience the warmth of the fried dough and gooey honey as well as the cold of the ice cream. I was initially concerned it would be too sweet, but the mellow taste of the green tea ice cream combined with the fried dough really balances the honey. It is so good - whatever you do - don't skip this! This alone makes Akita worth the trip.
If you're not an adventurous eater (or are with someone who is, like my grandparents) Akita also has a few very hefty soups, that my grandma wanted me to tell you all was the best Asian meal-sized soup she has ever had. They also have fried bananas topped with honey that she totally raved about.
Long story short: make the effort to check this place out - you will not regret it. Avoid all those typical Maki and Sashimi sushi rolls you're used to - go straight for the Specialty rolls - they're out of this world. Chef Loc's little-to-none rice philosophy will blow your mind, and his sushi concoctions are nothing short of out-of-this-world. Akita is such a hidden gem: the food is phenomenal, the prices are solid, and the owner is so incredibly friendly.
Here's where you can find it - and don't forget your wine!
Restaurant Akita: Cuisine Asiatique & Sushi Bar
6985 rue Jarry Est. Montreal, QC, H1P 3B5
By Public Transportation: Radisson Metro + 44 North bus until boulevard des Galeries d'Anjou / Jarry E.