Friday, January 8, 2010

Snazzy sushi at Sakura Garden

Sakura is a classy Japanese restaurant situated on De la Montangue street, right in the heart of Montreal. The waiters and waitresses (and, I believe, the owner) are all Japanese, which is, sadly, a rare occurance in the Montreal sushi scene. The restaurant ahs a very zen and authentic feel to it. The food here is fresh and tasty,  the service friendly and accommodating, and the atmosphere is romantic, so it is an ideal restaurant for special occasions.

Accessibility by Public Transport - Grade: A
The restaurant is conveniently situated right in the middle of downtown, so it is very accessible. It's pretty much a 5 minute walk from Guy-Concordia metro station (maaaaybe 10 if you're my mom).

Service - Grade: A
I'm not terribly picky about service. If you are polite and civil, smile, answer my questions and don't give me attitude, I'll probably give you a pretty decent tip. Okay, not like crazy-rich-businessmen decent, but student decent. You know, 15%. We don't own money trees just yet. (Actually, I think 15% far exceeds what most students tip, amirite?)

The waiters and waitresses here are very pleasant. They were very polite, as Japanese people are, and took time to answer our questions. They were also attentive to our needs, and if they suspected we wouldn't be able to pay the bill at the end of the meal, they never showed it. Overall, pleasant, but nothing terribly memorable.

Food - Grade: A-

The Love Boat

The love boat combo includes two soups and salads, a plate of tempura'd shrimp and vegetables, popcorn chicken, a variety of makis and sushi, and two ice-cream desserts. The restaurant also offers a variety of cooked dishes, such as tako yaki, grilled calamari and some kind braised eggplant (at least, I think it's braised), which is one of my mom's favourites from them.
The fish is quite fresh; it has the sweet flavour and juicy texture that fresh sashimi usually has. The makis were wrapped firmly and didn't fall apart at the first poke of a chopstick, and the seaweed was easy to bite through.

Although I still love the Love Boat here, I have a feeling that they lessened the portions and cheaped out on the presentations. I remember when I first went, the boats seemed enormous and green-tea ice-cream was served in a glass cocktail-glass-like bowl and was topped with red bean, condensed milk and fruit. Now, they just serve regular green-tea ice-cream in a regular bowl. The fish is still sweet and fresh, so at least the quality hasn't fluctuated too much.

Price - $$$$
I find it kind of Ironic (yes, capital I) that I'm starting my student food blog with a meal that almost cost me a kidney to pay. The love boat alone costed $80 before tax; couple that with the other stuff we ordered, it came up to a total of $150 (before tax), which we split between 3 people. Admittedly, though, we might have over-ordered a bit. So... student friendly? Uh. No.

Final Grade: B+
I had to dock marks for the price aspect, since I do find the food a little over-priced and ridiculously unaffordable for a student. There was also the fact that it didn't live up to my memory of it. But if you can afford it and are looking for (what I'm guessing is) a more authentic Japanese experience, then I definitely recommend that you check it out!

Sakura Garden
Sakura Garden on Urbanspoon
2114 De La Montagne, Montreal
(514) 288-9122


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