Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ossu! Sushi Yasu!

So now that we've seen the trendy fusion-style sushi, let's check out the other side of the coin. Traditional sushi restaurants tend to be modest-looking restaurants with simple decoration and a humble old Japanese man behind the sushi bar, shouting an 'Irrashaimase!' to you as you walk in the door. That, my friends, is what Sushi Yasu is all about.

Again, impromptu restauranting = cell phone pics. At least my friend's phone takes nicer pics than mine does.

Unfortunately, Sushi Yasu is located on the South Shore, so getting there might be inconvenient for many Montrealers. I have tried a similar-style restaurant in the Plateau - called Azuma - but I didn't find it nearly as good as Yasu. It was also much more expensive. I'm sure that one day I will manage to find something akin on the island, but till then, Yasu is my sushi haven.

Accessibility - Grade: D
I don't know what to tell you guys. Unless you have a car, this place is pretty hard to get to from Montreal. And even if you live on the South Shore, getting here via public transport is a whole headache of matching up bus schedules and whatnot.

Service - Grade: B
The service is okay. We usually get these two Chinese ladies as our waitresses (even though the owner and chefs are Japanese), and they're pretty nice. Nothing particularly outstanding, though.

Food - Grade: A

Tempura shrimp and vegetables

I'm not a big fan of tempura, and the tempura here is pretty standard. They do use some pretty interesting vegetables, though, such as green beans and peppers. Still, the tempura is crisp and breaks apart easily in your mouth, and piping hot when it comes out of the kitchen, so you know that it's freshly fried.

Katsu curry

We ordered a Katsu Curry and a Beef Terriyaki for the non-sushi-eateres. The katsu curry is a Japanese curry dish with breaded and fried pork cutlet. I really like Japanese curry, and Yasu does it pretty well. The curry is rich and fragrant, and the pork perfectly cooked. Depending on the day, you might get really fatty pieces of pork, though. Also, Yasu likes to use these deep fried onions, which are delicious. I don't even know how to describe them; just go try them.

Beef terriyaki

I swear by the beef terriyaki here. Usually, terriyaki meats tend to be dry and overcooked, but you can request the degree you want your beef to be cooked here. We ordered it medium, so we got a thick slab of sliced beef, pink, juicy and tender in the middle and all drowning in terriyaki sauce. It's served with steamed veggies and the fried onions.

Various maki and sashimi

The fish here is undeniably fresh. I've ordered a sashimi platter from here, and instead of giving you strips of raw fish, as with other places, they give you juicy, chunky cubes of fish. The chef also knows what types of seasonings go with what types of fish. You'll get the occasional ginger and green onion on the mackarel, and you'll get your salmon wedged between lemon slices, all of which bring out the natural sweetness of the sashimi. The fish is so juicy that it's almost crunchy, and yet once it enters your mouth, it breaks apart easily and seems to melt.

I also really like their salad, which isn't shown here. It's really just regular iceberg lettuce and carrot strips drizzled with Japanese dressing, but their dressing is the best I've had at a Japanese restaurant. It's more tangy than the ones you find at other restaurants, and thus has a more refreshing taste to it.

Now, I know that makis are more of a Western thing and that traditionally, Japanese restaurants serve nigiri and sashimi. However, if we were to have such a restaurant in North America, it probably wouldn't do very well, so restaurants such as Yasu had to learn to make makis to adapt. And adapt they did. Just look at that! Does it not make your mouth water?

The first thing I noticed was that the chef didn't use the fake plastic leaves in their presentation. You know you've hit sushi gold when they don't use those fake leaves. The presentation is simple, but still artfully done.

I'm not going to comment on the indivudual rolls, but they all tasted delicious. The rice was perfectly seasoned, and the seaweed broke apart pretty easily when you bit into a roll. All of the ingredients were fresh, and each roll had its own unique combination. Some of the rolls were a bit loose, but not to the point where they fell apart as soon as you poked them, like at some AYCE places.

Other than the set menu stuff, they also have a daily menu on a chalkboard that changes daily, usually with grilled fish and the like that Japanese people like to eat. Keep an eye out for that menu; they tend to have some really interesting items.

Price - $$-$$$
Depending on what you order, things could get a little expensive here. We were six people, and we ordered two shrimp tempura, one vegetable tempura (which we could have done without, since the shrimp came with some vegetables), around 40 pieces of sushi, 15 pieces of sashimi, one katsu curry and one beef terriyaki, and the bill came to $130 before tip. If you were to order sushi combos for one a la carte, prices can range from $20-$30 per combo.

Final Grade: A-
Even though the restaurant is hard to get to for Montrealers, the quality speaks for itself. If you're evern in the South Shore and are craving sushi, give Sushi Yasu a try.

Sushi Yasu
1200 boul Rome, Brossard
(450) 465-8383
Sushi YASU on Urbanspoon


  1. Funny you compared to Azuma. The chef at Sushi Yasu in La Prairie was the owner of Azuma. I'm guessing this is like his semi-retirement or he moved to the South Shore and became tired of crossing those bridges everyday.

    1. Is he? That would explain the similar style. Although last I went to Azuma (long after the Yasu in la Prairie opened), I wasn't quite as impressed. Maybe because they changed chefs?

      Anyway, thanks for the interesting bit of trivia! :)

  2. Even some items on the menu at Azuma like the squi salad (azuma tako I think?) are left-overs from the previous owner. They're usually good though, so you might want to give them another try even if they don't have the same experience as the old chef.