Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Irrrrashaimaseeee!!!!!!! Welcome to Imadake!

Izakayas - those amazing restaurant-bar-communal dining/drinking establishments that only the Japanese could have invented.  My favorite type of establishment to eat and drink with friends when I lived in Japan... hard to recreate anywhere else.

Imadake ("only for now"), 4006 St-Catherine Ouest in Montreal, does a pretty good job of recreating that vibe.  Welcomed by a deafening "Irrashaimase!!" (or "Greetings, welcome to our humble establishment and let us provide our services to you!!" (basically...)), the young and efficient staff get you seated in this cosy but lively, "nigiyaka" restaurant.

An izakaya is a bit like a tapas bar in a drunken party atmosphere.  Lots of small plates to choose from - a varied menu that gives you a taste of all sorts of different types of Japanese bar food from okonomiyaki, yakitori and gyoza, to their amazingly succulent grilled black cod (a must!), to fresh and tasty salads and belly filling bowls of ramen.  The traditional seating arrangement is at long communal tables that give you the opportunity to get to know your neighbours and share all the tasty treats that keep coming...  In Japan you would slip off your shoes to climb over people you didn't know to squeeze next to the rowdy drunks around the table...

And of course the drinks!  Beers! Cocktails! Sake! Wine!  You can't go to Imadake without having a Sake Bomb!  Trust me, your whole table has to order this drink.... 

"SAKE!!" "BOMB!!"
"SAKE!!!" "BOMB!!!"

Imadake on Urbanspoon

Head north to Wakefield for a real treat - Maison du Village - The Village House!

Lovely Wakefield, QC on a chilly fall day....  perfect opportunity to check out the highly rated "Maison du Village/The Village House" located at 759 Riverside.  Cozy interior - loved having such a great view of the kitchen and our chef at work.
Our friendly hostess/server walked us through the menu - we decided to focus on the yummy sounding small plates.  Excuse the terrible photos - but just imagine this....  honey roasted beets with candied hazelnuts, micro greens and Montebello Rebellion blue cheese, lamb poutine (with clever "fries" made of slices of rosti and an incredibly rich jus), confit pig cheeks (!) served on an aged cheddar and parsley gnocchi with braised cabbage...  all in all very generous serving sizes for reasonable prices.  Small but acceptable list of wines by the glass - a perfect light meal.  Which allowed us to have a guilt free dessert - an apple walnut tart served with candied lardon and a smooth, not too sweet caramel ice cream...
 We were very impressed with the amazing food - perhaps the best small plates I've had in the Ottawa/Gatineau region.  Highly recommended as a destination meal - perhaps before a show at the Black Sheep Inn?
 The Village House on Urbanspoon