After having read an extremely flattering review of Ryu tapas on the foodie date night blog, I knew I wanted to try it. I love sushi, and am always trying to top my best sushi experience so far at Sho-Dan. I also love the idea of mixing a tapas inspiration with sushi, which seemed like a great mix in my mind. So, when I saw a coupon offer for the restaurant, I figured this was my chance.
My boyfriend and I decided to go to Ryu on a warm Friday night, thinking this would be a great romantic evening. I love the ambiance of Laurier street, and from the website, the place seemed trendy and sophisticated. However, I was surprised to notice that the restaurant was almost completely empty when we arrived at 7:30pm for our reservation. Near a bar on our left when we came in were several waitresses, all dressed in short, tight, black dresses and being more reminiscent of a club on Saint-Laurent street at 11pm then a sushi restaurant at 7pm. But, we were keeping an open-mind, after all, the food was what we were here for!
We started with the scallop ceviche. It was served in a citrusy sauce with some spicy oil and some greens. While the scallop definitely tasted fresh, the overpowering taste of the citrus and the excess liquid left me feeling definitely un-impressed. It tasted a bit like a sloppy mess, okay, but not great.
Next we had one of their rolls called Kokoro, a combination of scallop, crab meat, avocado masago caviar, tempura, shallots and lightly fried nori paper. There was a nice crunch to this roll, and I liked the idea of fried nori paper, it being lighter than the traditional seaweed. However, I found the tempura a bit much, already this roll is fried, no need to add more batter. Overall, this was one of the better rolls we ate, but none of the flavours jumped out at me, and again, I was left under-whelmed.
Next, we had ordered the takeru roll, which included lobster tail, crab, oyster mushrooms, avocado and tempura. Once again, it was hard to separate the different flavours of crab, lobster and mushroom. The pieces of lobster, mushroom and crab were too small and so the main taste that stood out was that of the tempura and avocado.
Next we had the Surf n Turf roll, which included beef tartare, shrimp, shallots, tempura, avocado, cilantro, spicy sauce, lime and tobiko. I was intrigued by the concept of this roll as it is definitely represents a fusion of french and japanese influences. I had actually tried something similar with a beef tartare temaki at Pied de Cochon before, so I was interested to see how this would compare. The beef was good, but not spiced enough, making it, once again, an overall bland roll. Despite all the ingredients advertised, it was hard to distinguish the individual tastes and the overall effect was not very good.
Finally, we had also ordered the Godzilla roll, which included eel, hamachi, lime, avocado, cucumber, tobiko, yaki sauce and shallots. I love the greasy, slippery taste of eel, and on this, the roll delivered. As well, the creaminess of the avocado was well complemented by the meaty texture of the eel. Unfortunately, I cannot say that I noticed the lime, tobiko or hamachi in the roll as they were overpowered by the eel and avocado. Pretty good, but not above your average eel roll at any corner sushi place.
Also, one interesting option was that they served several sauces and these were left on your plate. What ressembled wafu sauce, teriyaki sauce, spicy mayo and also a mix of wafu and teriyaki sauce were served. I would have preferred that they select a distinctive dipping sauce to accompany each roll, which would have been better than trying all of them to figure out which completemented each roll the best. At the same time, I appreciate the choice being given to us, it’s definitely better than no choice at all!
Finally, while the sushi was okay, none of what I ate at this restaurant left a lasting impression. It melded into one big mis-mash of averageness. For the prices they are charging, I would have expected different tastes and textures, but everything was too discreet or bland for my taste. Also, the service wasn’t up to par. The waitresses did not seem at all knowledgeable about what they were serving, and everything we ordered was served at the same time. No lingering over your meal here, we were out of there by 8:15pm, only 45 minutes after we arrived, and that despite the bottle of wine we had ordered, and finished with our meal! Also, the décor and waitresses made me think of an exclusive club instead of a gastronomic restaurant. I was disappointed, I found this restaurant over-priced and un-memorable, I will avoid in the future.
288 Laurier West, Montreal, QC H2V 2K2