My friend came in from Ottawa yesterday, so I took her around Montreal a bit. We toured the Musee des Beaux Arts, which had a way more impressive permanent collection than I'd anticipated (I always underestimate such things in Canada because, lets face it, we're not Europe), wandered around looking at shops and the like, and then for dinner we decided to go to an Asian fusion place on Ste Cat's, called Miso.
This place has a very classy vibe, as you'll see on the video on the front page of their website. I enjoyed the zen-modern interior design of it. I also went totally underdressed, hahah. But so it always is with me, and I'm reaching a point in my life where I'm done being embarrassed about/apologizing for who I am.
Moving on, to their menu:
My friend ordered:
Cucumber sushi, which was fairly typical, from what I understand. A little on the small side, perhaps.
Miso, which once again is fairly standard wherever you go
Sunomono Moriawase - A seafood and vermicelli salad, that the restaurant gave an interesting twist by dousing in some highly citrusy-tasting sauce that was pretty potent. I liked the tartness of it, the contrast to the bitter greens, but the citrus sauce completely drowned out the flavor of the seafood, which was sort of a downside. If you can't taste it, eating baby octopus is kind of like chewing rubber.
She also ordered a drink, which was melon juice, vodka, and something else. It had also had pepper sprinkled on the top of it, which gave it a bit of additional kick. However, black things floating in your drink is not exactly appetizing. I suppose if you are taking it in the context of a classy restaurant, it is easier to accept.
Water: I'm cheap.
Avocado roll: Like the cucumber, typical, good, a little on the small side.
California Dreaming: snow crab, shrimp, avocado, egg, asparagus, tobiko, and a wasabi sauce. I really liked this. For me, the wasabi sauce wasn't overpowering, though my friend found it to be so. The dish wasn't as packed with flavor as I'd anticipated, but it had a nice crisp, clean taste to it that I really enjoyed. The portions were also larger, so despite the small portions of everything else, I felt pretty full after sushi.
For dessert we split the creme brule trio, which I *really* loved the presentation of. It was three kinds of creme brule: regular, chocolate, and green tea, served on a long rectangular plate, each one in its own little clay pot, with strawberry quarters interspersed. The regular creme brule was quite good, somehow rich, but light. The chocolate was also very good, very rich and sweet. They sprinkled chili powder on top to enhance the flavor of the chocolate, which was something of a surprise for me, not having encountered it before, but its something I think I could get used to. The green tea creme brule, in my opinion, was also very good, though my friend did not like it. I can understand why. .. it has a taste of eating raw tea leaves if your first bite comes just from the broiled bit on top. But if you sink your spoon into the creamier stuff beneath, the flavors balance into something quite pleasant.
Overall, the portions were small, and perhaps overpriced for that (but so it is with restaurants having pretensions of class. I say pretensions, because we are in Canada, after all, which could almost be its own post). The food was good, but not possessed of the astounding range flavors and attention to detail that I've experienced at restaurants like The Fainting Goat in Regina, where each ingredient has been lovingly tended to. The dishes were well presented, very visually appealing, playing well with color and with texture.
I also learned an important lesson. If you go to a fancy restaurant, under-dressed, and your friend continually calls the food "interesting", and you are talking about the quality of it both in ways that are good, and in ways that are unflattering, and you also (perhaps too loudly) mention that "this is going on the blog" or say "I'll put that in the review". . .during the meal the entire staff will try to subtly line up and stare at you and whisper about you. At the end of the meal, the manager will come over and anxiously inquire whether everything was ok. After you have paid and as you are leaving the restaurant, the entire staff will shout "Thank you! Have a good night! Arigato!"
I burst out laughing as we left.
They thought we were food critics, or really wanted our approval, or both. That's the only explanation I have. They didn't shout at anyone else as they left the restaurant.
Too funny. I'm going to do this at every restaurant I go to. Maybe eventually they'll start giving food to me for free.