Type of cuisine: Sushiya, essentially but they also have more
Where: 835 Chemin de Saint Jean, La Prairie
When: Tuesday April 8th 2014 19:00
For what it’s worth, Yasu is widely known as the place where Japanese, in Montreal, go. What’s certain is that, along with Jun I, this is one very rare Mtl’s (and surroundings / it is actually in Southshore Montreal) sushi place with a real Japanese sushi Master at the helm (most sushiyasans in Montreal are mostly Vietnamese or Chinese). Yasu has nowadays two locations: one in Brossard and the other one in Laprairie. The original Japanese Sushi Master is now working at the one in Laprairie, which is where I went
My visit here is about the sushi (obviously), but I also ordered couple of non-sushi items just to get a better general impression of the depth of the cooking at Yasu.
As ever in Montreal’s & surrounding sushiyas, as great as they might stand (by local standards, I mean), there won’t be any attempt at surprising the customer with freshly grated wasabi root, so wasabi in its paste form is the norm. The gari (pickled ginger) was properly made though.
As some non-sushis items I was particularly interested by how they make their tempura as well as the takoyaki balls. Those are two items that I am curious about in order to assess very precise elements of the cooking skills of such place.
-The tempura: I have read reports about theirs being standard. The soft shell crab tempura that I had ($8) were actually below average with barely no taste coming through. The crab taste nowhere to be found. It was frustrating to eat a tempura of such subpar standard since this is hardly an item that fails to please. Plenty of ordinary oriental eateries in town get this better 3/10
The Takoyaki Balls (dumplings with octopus pieces, $5 for 6 pieces) featured underwhelming takoyaki sauce that managed to have barely any flavor. Another frustrating moment since takoyaki sauce is one of the main elements that helps lifting the taste of those balls. Here, it had the color but no taste at all of whatever version of the takoyaki sauce you’ll stumble upon. Even more frustrating was the taste of the mayonnaise: a low grade type of mayo that I will remember for having diminished the enjoyment of it all. The light batter was the saving grace of this badly conceived takoyaki ball. 2/10
Sushis: red tuna looked and tasted fresh, the Chef being very generous as the chunks of red tuna were sizeable compared to what’s generally served in Montreal and surroundings. Salmon was fine. Unagi was of great quality (by Montreal sushi standards) and I wondered how come such nicely executed unagi sauce was sharing the same roof as the above mentioned forgettable sauce that covered the Takoyaki Balls. Spiced salmon was exciting in mouth (not many sushiyas get those this right). Some might not like the fact that the rice was mushy, but texture of rice boils down to what you prefer (some like their rice soft, others hard, etc). That said, this was no fine sushi rice neither and I am talking about local standards. Still, by local standards 7/10 for the sushis and sashimis
Service was good
My verdict: 5/10 Some of the sushis were fine (by local standards), but I don’t understand how they could fail at delivering items as basic as a tempura or a takoyaki ball. Needless to stress that I was disappointed by this meal at Yasu. The Master Chef is perhaps very popular among Japanese people (according to most online accounts) but such meal is not consequent with his fame. Yes, I can see why this place is popular: the prices are low…but I went south shore to sample the food of a great Chef, NOT the evidence that the food is affordable….