Monday, February 21, 2011

Luck is a come-a at Raku Izakaya! *runs away*

Raku Izakaya is a Japanese restaurant run by a Chinese man who worked in Japan as a chef situated on Taschereau in Brossard. The focus of the restaurant is actually more on the cooked 'bar' foods, and less on the sushi, but the restaurant still has a decent sushi menu to meet the needs of all the sushi-addicts out there.

Accessibility - Grade: D
Well, it was a special occasion, and we drove there. But yes, because it is in the South Shore, it is pretty much inaccessible to any student without a car, unless you want to pay an arm and a leg just for the transportation, and then get lost along the way.

Service - Grade: A
The waitress was shy and cute, and she was all smiles while taking our orders and serving us our food, but it was really the owner that made me give it the grade that it has. The owner is the one behind the sushi bar making the food with care and precision, and he would often come around when he was free to pour us our tea and chat with us. Yes, I know it means that the restaurant isn't busy, but it's the South Shore and it was a weekday night. He was soft-spoken but very friendly, and incredibly polite, and I kinda just wanted to give him a hug.

Food - Grade: B+ 

For the special occasion, we ordered the 4-person combo, which came with 4 soups and salads, a plate of tempura, an okonomiyaki, two large platters and two small platters of maki, and four desserts (ice-cream or lychee-sake jelly). The soup, salad, okonomiyaki and tempura were pretty standard, nothing too special.

The first plate of makis had the more typical rolls, like the Kamikaze and the California rolls. Again, the fish were very fresh and the rolls held together very well.

The 'special' rolls, including crab and strawberry rolls and lobster and kiwi(?), with mango and raspberry sauce. Some of the wrappings include lettuce leaves and pink soya paper. The rolls in the lettuce leafs were crisp and refreshing, while the inner tempura shavings and spicy salmon gave the roll the solid crunch and flavour it needed. The regular soya paper were a nice addition, lending a certain sweetness to the salmon-avocado roll. While the pink soya paper didn't taste like much, it was very puuurrrdy.

The rasberry and mango sauces was an interesting choice for the lobster and crab rolls, giving a tang and sweetness to the otherwise bland crab and lobster meat. Yeah. Bland. It was unfortunate that the crab and lobster meat was so dry and tasteless. Had the chef tried marinating or seasoning the meat before rolling it, it would have made for some pretty awesome makis. Also, I wish they would have included some sashimi or nigiri in the combo; makis become tiring after a while.

Grilled yellow(?) fish

I kind of regret ordering this dish. I figured that since the restaurant specialized in bar food and grilled fish is bar food, I probably should try their bar food.
I don't know if it was the type of fish, but the fishy taste was incredibly intense, probably more so than mackerel sashimi. The fish was also covered in salt, and had far too many tiny bones. The dipping sauce it came with was a mix of sweet, sour and salty, and also contained a fair bit of ginger, which took away some of the saltiness and fishiness, but didn't manage to mask it enough.


This plate of raw fish on a bed of sushi rice came in a cute semi-spherical bowl. There was a large variety of fresh fish and caviar in the bowl, and the presentation was easy on the eyes. The sashimi slices were sweet and came in thick, juicy slices. My only wish is that they could have supplied us with some kind of sauce, since the taste of fish becomes sa little overwhelming after a while.

Price - $$$
Okay, this place isn't cheap either. We ordered the 4 person combo on the night of the special occasion, which came up to $180 with tax and tip, while the night where we were just two people and we ordered the grilled fish, the chirashizushi and a miso soup, it came up to $60. Student friendly, then? Not... really.

Final Grade: B
While the fish is very fresh and the makis are innovative (see next picture), the restaurant doesn't offer a very extensive menu. They seemed to have more items before they changed their menu, and now only have a few typical dishes. I really wanted to give this restaurant an A, but as it stands right now, they have pretty decent food but a limited and pricey menu.

Raku Izakaya
8080, boulevard Taschereau
Brossard, QC J4X 1C2
(450) 671-7386


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