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Taro Sushi.


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A friend of mine tried a new super club called Taro, said the sushi was great. Anyone been. I know it is owned by the bugsyfoodgroup, the group that also ownes Japon sushi and Bouddha thai bistro (both in ville-st laurent).

At Taro they have Billy as chef, the chef that invented all famous rolls at SHodan. I also found out that The other chef who works more at Japon is long dao,, who used to be Tri from Tree house' s assistant as well as the chef of ginger in it's hayday. Dao is responsible for trining a good portion of montreal sushi chefs.

Looking forward to try tato, let you gulleters know when i do.

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I agree with vinfidel, Montreal sushi is limited because of the cost of fish versus the price our Quebec salaries can pay. But I enjoy sushi restaurants for their creativity. I avoid sashimi, but enjoy a host of other specialties where the fish is worked to create a balance with sauces and rice.

Report on Taro to come.

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In many conversations over the years with Japanese restaurant owners and chefs about the horrid lack of sashimi variety, the principal retort I have heard is not that they cannot afford bluefin for example but that they fear their customers cannot and moreover would not plunk down the cash even if they could.

I disagree. I'm dying for some variety in this city. All the sashimi menus look the same and you can count on two hands the types of fish and seafood we have to choose from. It's gotten excruciatingly boring. I had the best sushi of my life at Yasuda in New York two weeks ago. The sashimi menu was a mile long. The variety and quality was staggering. As was the price.

With that being said, I'll move on to my little report on Taro. I've been there three times and yes, if you were a fan of the orginal Shodan when Billy held court behind the bar with Romeo and Flower Power, some of that old sensibility is back, albeit in a much more slick and posh setting.

The inventiveness is there, especially with the makis and sauces, which is where you should concentrate your hunger. Order from the chef's specialty menu and stay away from the standard sashimi and sushi. The beef and duck teriyaki, something I usually never order at a Japanese joint, are excellent. Avoid the dumplings and salads. You're much better off with a selection of Billy's specialties.

If you like the supperclub scene, make a late reservation on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday. After midnight the bottles start flowing and the bar and dancefloor revs up. The restaurant has managed to lure a slew of respectable DJs to spin over the past few months. It's a nice scene.

When I was there on a recent Wednesday night, a fashion show broke out in the middle of dinner. It didn't suck to have a hot leggy model in heels parade around my table while I slurped grilled unagi through my chopsticks. If you like that sort of thing, Taro can be a lot of fun.

Edited by iharrison (log)
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lharrison

i am in new york half the year. yasuda is near my house

i eat at yasuda 2 or 3x a week

my banker (he is 60 year of a certain age) he eat there every day 5x a week

for me and my wife, we eat a lot, for lunch never more than $180 including taxes and tip and sake and desset and tea

for dinner maybe $250 and this is for too much food

all this also include a free lecon about fish and biodiversity

one time i did a special tasting for my company with 12 types of unagi

fresh awater and seawater

you cannot compare to anything in montreal sorry

i will go check TARO more for the models than the fish

Edited by Vinfidel (log)
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lharrison

i am in new york half the year. yasuda is near my house

i eat at yasuda 2 or 3x a week

my banker (he is 60 year of a certain age) he eat there every day 5x a week

for me and my wife, we eat a lot, for lunch never more than $180 including taxes and tip and sake and desset and tea

for dinner maybe $250 and this is for too much food

all this also include a free lecon about fish and biodiversity

one time i did a special tasting for my company with 12 types of unagi

fresh awater and seawater

you cannot compare to anything in montreal sorry

i will go check TARO more for the models than the fish

No need to apologize Vin.

We agree.

As I wrote, Taro = good scene and good creativity by a chef who has limited food resources in comparison to counterparts in New York or Japan.

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Lesley your right, each place has its own for what its worth.

Shinji Nagai is back from his 3 week vacation in Japon and that is priceless. Whoever hasn't been must at least try it once. Great sushi and grill. Best Chilean Sea Bass at Mange Boire. Any comments for this fairly new resto.

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Taro - 862 Rue Sainte-Catherine Est - (514) 289-9888

It is pointless to compare sushi scenes. Even if the nori is greener on the other side.

(But that still does not change the fact that I'm craving more variety here! Even if I still go out for sushi all the time!)

:biggrin:

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Went to Taro. It was great. Chef Billy is a winner. His specialties are light, and well balanced. i found out from the waiter that there are two groups of specialties. The ones on the menu were created by the team at Japon sushi in VSL and the one's Billy makes are his own. I loved their take on the classic alaskan black cod!

I found the staff to be pretty knowledgeable and found it itneresting that their staff was multi ethnic instead of all vietnamese. Don't get me wrong, I love vietnamese (attached to one), but never understood why if a sushi bar can't fiond japanese wait staff, why they just assume another asian nationality is second best. I found it neat that they had so many diffrent colour people working.

The place is massive, but filled up pretty fast. As for the tradional sushi/maki fare. I found the maki's very well prepared, (low on tempura, high on fish) and the nigiri and sashimi to be well prepared given the limitation discussed in previous posts. The restaurant is owned by Ben Wong who also owns Japon sushi and Bouddha, both in ville st-laurent. Bravo Taro. The main point i would like to make is that Taro is a supper club but to my suprise, a supper club with really good food. I don't like to talkl bad about restaurants since I am in the business, but I don't find their is a supper club in Montreal that has this quality food.

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I think you boys spend too much time comparing sushi scenes. Instead, why not look at each restaurant for what it is, rather than what it is not.

This "your sashimi is better than my sashimi" approach is so tired.

no man or resto is an island

i doubt that you do not compare one duck confit of one resto to another in your profession

or one frite to another

or one chef to another

or one resto to another with your rating system

like that, i compare one sushi to another

anyway, i will check out Taro. Even if the food does not make me think again about montreal poor sushi quality at least the girls will distract me!

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If I had gone around saying "the tuna tartare is better at La Chronique than at Toque!" I would have been out of this business long ago. I'll happily say the steak frites at Le Mas des Oliviers is one of the best in the city, but I always try to avoid saying something like, "the steak frites at Les Mas des Oliviers is better than the steak frites at L'Express."

One thing I did say about the Taro black cod dish is:

"The last time I tasted fish of this ilk was in Vancouver at a nouvelle-cuisine French restaurant called West, where the marinated sablefish shared a similar flavour and identical texture. But the Vancouver filet was a steep $39. Taro's black cod is $22. Nice."

Notice, I never said which is better.

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Is it not possible that the demand for this type of sushi is not here in Montreal.

Need I remind people that Montreal is not a coastal city, and that the selection of fish cannot be compared to cities like: NYC, SF, LA etc.

For every egulleter that demands new, original sushi, there are probably thousands more Montrealers who want the same old, same old. I know for a fact that there are just not enough real sushi chefs to go around. Cooks are hard to come by in this city, wether it be a French, Italian or Japenese kitchen.

I went to Isakaya on Parc not to long ago, I thought it was quite decent.

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Is it not possible that the demand for this type of sushi is not here in Montreal.

Need I remind people that Montreal is not a coastal city, and that the selection of fish cannot be compared to cities like: NYC, SF, LA etc.

For every egulleter that demands new, original sushi, there are probably thousands more Montrealers who want the same old, same old.  I know for a fact that there are just not enough real sushi chefs to go around.  Cooks are hard to come by in this city, wether it be a French, Italian or Japenese kitchen.

I went to Isakaya on Parc not to long ago, I thought it was quite decent.

It is quite possible.

Your post serves as a painful reminder of the inordinate amount of dinner invitations of late from people I consider good friends and usually hold in high esteem, to various all-you-can-gorge sushi establishments downtown and ugh, LaSalle and double ugh, the South Shore.

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  • 11 months later...

I went to Taro yesterday evening.

in one sentence :

Sushi, Booze, Boobs and Music.

I had a "préjugé défavorable" with this place, all review I had from friends were mostly concerning the booze, boobs and music, and not about the food.

I was not disappointed; the sashimi ( tuna, mackerel, calamari and snapper) were good, nicely presented; the roll, a spicy hamachi, was a bit on the small side, but was good; i also had shrimp gyoza (sp?) that was also nice.

I think I will have to go back on a normal night and try the different offerings.

otherwise, the place turned into the "club" at around midnight, removing the lounge chairs in front of the bar; I assume that by 1am, most people finished eating and tables moved some more to make place for the dancers and posers ( I left before that for the mile-end bar)

The wine list is very short, but contains a nice selection at reasonable prices (IMO); (except for champagne, but they have a prosecco at a "cheap" ) what is missing is maybe one "good" sake selection.

But from what I could see, the preferred drink of Taro is vodka, and in particular the full bottle!! (i wonder how many full bottles they sells in one night)

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A friend of mine tried a new super club called Taro, said the sushi was great. Anyone been. I know it is owned by the bugsyfoodgroup, the group that also ownes Japon sushi  and Bouddha thai bistro (both in ville-st laurent).

At Taro they have Billy as chef, the chef that invented all famous rolls at SHodan. I also found out that The other chef who works more at Japon is long dao,, who used to be Tri from Tree house' s assistant as well as the chef of ginger in it's hayday. Dao is responsible for trining a good portion of montreal sushi chefs.

Looking forward to try tato, let you gulleters know when i do.

You mentioned that Billy the chef from Shodan is now at Taro. When I lived in Mtl, Shodan on Metcalfe was one of my favourites. I used to frequent it quite a bit between 2000 and 2002.... but is it still around? And if so, what's become of it now that Billy is gone?

I'm a Sushi fanatic and out of the loop on the Mtl sushi scene these days, but will be living there for 3 months in the near future, so this forum has been helpful so far.... any news on Shodan on Metcalfe would be greatly appreciated. I've searched the forums but haven't found much in recent posts. Thanx.

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  • 1 month later...

I am a sushi fanatic who is often disappointed when trying to find in Montreal

Japanese restaurants that compare to those, say, in New York. I don't know

Billy, but I do know that Sho-dan serves the least authentic sushi I've

ever had, heavy on sauces, spicy this, spicy that, lots of things masking the

fish. Laughable sashimi. Theirs is not the kind of sushi I usually like to eat,

although this is very personal

(my husband actually likes these kamikaze rolls where the fish is

totally irrelevant, and also likes cream cheese and rice puffs in his rolls).

That being said, I don't know why people try to say Montreal has (on average)

mediocre sushi because it isn't coastal, while New York is. What fish do you

think comes from the Hudson River?? Or from the sea around New York?

The best sushi joints in NY import most of their fish from distant lands, as

far as Japan.

One of the best cities in the world for Sushi is São Paulo, which is where I am from,

and it is not on the coast.

Whether or not a city is on the sea has no bearing on the quality of the sushi.

What does is a) the size of the Japanese community in the city (which in São Paulo's

case is the biggest outside of Japan) and b) how much the city's inhabitants

know and love sushi (in São Paulo and New York people are crazy about it, and

willing to pay big bucks for top-quality unmasked niguiri and sashimi,

but in Montreal that is not the case at all, people are into the multi-ingredient rolls).

Alexandra Forbes

Brazilian food and travel writer, @aleforbes on Twitter

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Whether or not a city is on the sea has no bearing on the quality of the sushi.

What does is a) the size of the Japanese community in the city (which in São Paulo's

case is the biggest outside of Japan) and b) how much the city's inhabitants

know and love sushi (in São Paulo and New York people are crazy about it, and

willing to pay big bucks for top-quality unmasked niguiri and sashimi,

but in Montreal that is not the case at all, people are into the multi-ingredient rolls).

Alex, agree 100%. Have you tried Juni?

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