Birthday at Park Restaurant
I am currently swamped with school projects and assignments, and soon final exams, but I still took some time off to celebrate my birthday (November 23rd). I am now 25 years old, I’ve reached the quarter of the century and the next age range checkbox on surveys! I thought it’d more of a shock, but I’m taking it well so far! But maybe only because I haven’t really had time to sit down and breathe.
My boyfriend and I ate at Les deux gamins, which is a French bistro located on the Plateau. Very lovely place, not pretentious, with good and courteous service. I didn’t think about taking photos there — admittedly, the fare was rather typical French, with the usual selections of tartares, duck, etc. I do recommend it for a romantic evening, that much I can say! But this review is about Park Restaurant, at which I have eaten with a friend on Saturday. I could finally try this so-called best Montreal sushi restaurant of the year!
I have to say, Park Restaurant did not disappoint! I arrived there with sushi in mind, so the omakase menu of the night, though usually a recommendation for first-timers, did not appeal to me since the main meal was lamb. So my friend and I skipped right to the sushi and two other items on the menu.
We started off with the Asian Salad (seen above). At first, we were a little disappointed since the salad looked and tasted a little bit like Vietnamese cabbage salads our moms would make. There were subtle ingredients that made all the difference though, notably the addition of walnuts. It was really yummy and we ate it all, but next time I would probably try something else.
Next was the Jap Chae with organic chicken. I normally don’t prefer jap chae because it tends to taste a little rich after awhile, and a few bites are usually enough for me. But this jap chae was light and easy to eat, and the addition of chicken was a good choice.
I was most excited about the Sashimi Moriawase, as one should be when coming here! Park Restaurant serves fish that is not available in most other sushi restaurants here in Montreal, so this was an exciting moment for me. I have to admit, however, that I am no fish expert and I am thus unable to differentiate fish solely based on taste. I can tell, however, when fish is fresh or not, and these definitely were. They were also cut the right way, not too small or too big, and each one of them as delicious as the other. We were served three dips with the sashimi: a balsamic and edamame sauce, a carrot and onion sauce and chimichurri. The experience of trying each fish with each dip was quite eye-opening! I loved the carrot and onion one most.
Next up was the Seasonal Maki plate. If I am not mistaken, it was a salmon and hamachi tartare roll topped with torched salmon. DE-LI-CIOUS. I was a little overwhelmed at first look, since the roll was cut in rather big pieces, but I was pleasantly surprised when I put one in my mouth and it almost melted instantly. The rice was not too packed inside the maki, which made it not too dense nor too rich, just perfect. Just seeing this photo makes me want to eat some more…
We finished off with some homemade green tea ice cream. Underwhelming, yes, it’s just ice cream, everybody serves it! But I needed something to cleanse my palate and this did the trick. Plus, addition of crushed nuts made the ice cream a little more interesting.
The atmosphere as Park Restaurant is definitely upscale, but not intimidating. It’s a very small, dark place (hence the noisy photos) but we were not sitting on top of each other either, like at, say, Kazu. Still, reservations are an absolute must if you want to ensure the best experience. Service lacked a little bit of warmth but was courteous, prompt and professional.
As expected, the bill at the end of the night was a little steep. It cost $125 for two people who don’t eat that much. Though it was worth it for the sushi, I would probably skip any non-sushi meals next time.
378 Victoria Ave.
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