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jun i: for the love of raw fish

i will admit that the first time i tried sushi, i was a little bit apprehensive.  i didn’t know what to expect.  back in the day, i didn’t even like cooked fish.  so i asked myself: how could the raw version be any better?  with feelings of nervousness tangled with excitement, i put a piece of sashimi in my mouth.  no hesitation, just all in.  it was like discovering a whole new world.  it was like eating fish for the very first time.  cooked fish it was not.  it was better.  had i not put that first piece of raw fish in my mouth that day, many years ago, i would never have discovered the almost orgasmic heights of pleasure that can be reached while eating at jun i.

i’ve heard of this place before, but it was always out of reach as nobody i knew was keen on deviating from the budget-friendly all-you-can-eat joints. not being one to eat alone in a restaurant, i never made it there. that is until b., my partner in crime and fellow food aficionado, decided to introduce me to the offerings of his favourite sushi bar.

i have been agonizing for a few days now over how to best put into words my experiences at jun i.  the only word that comes to mind is: fresh.  it is hard for me to find the appropriate adjectives for the food here as it has truly left me speechless (apart from a few moans of pleasure, of course).  to fully understand the freshness i speak of, sashimi is the way to go.  these slices of fresh fish are so expertly sliced that they hardly need to chewing…  there are no little membranes to interfere with your enjoyment of the fish.  depending on the selection, some are buttery and some are light, but all are fresh. no freezer-burned or fishy-smelling pieces here.

sashimi usually come two pieces per order.  i have gotten into the habit of tasting the first piece as is and the second piece with only a slight dip in soy sauce.  sometimes i’ll add a tiny bit of wasabi.  however, the sashimi here is so good that you don’t need all the extras.  the fish doesn’t need any enhancement.

if available, i strongly recommend the toro, belly loin of the bluefin tuna.  one of the most prized parts in the world of sashimi, the fattiest part of the tuna simply melts in your mouth.  my only regret is no having my camera with me the night i had my first slice of toro.

one thing i always order when out for sushi is grilled unagi from the nigiri menu.  here, the freshwater eel falls apart in your mouth and i have yet to eat a piece that had jagged edges like i’ve had at other places.  with the unagi came my first taste of the sushi rice at jun i.  with the perfect amount and blend of types of vinegar, the rice here is good. slightly sweet, soft on the inside but with an outer layer just right to contain itself, the grains of rice were loose enough for the texture to play out on your tongue yet still maintain it’s form when pressed into shape for nigiri.  some say that sushi is first and foremost about the rice.  after having sushi here, i have to agree.

for dessert, we shared the milles-crêpes and green tea tiramisu.  the milles-crêpes was a cake made of layers of thin crêpes and what i assume to be a vanilla custard.  we got the last piece of the day and it was good, but i expected it to be a little more moist.  the green tea tiramisu was, in my book, a show stopper.  words can’t even describe it, so i won’t even try.  you’ll just have to try it.  however, you’ll have to wait for it to come back into rotation on the dessert menu.  the last time i was there, it wasn’t available.  fear not, i have faith that such deliciousness has to make it back onto the menu.

i have tried many things at jun i.  all were good, if not extraordinary.  the only disappointments are that there is no kamikaze roll (my favourite) on the menu and the music and noise level can be high during evening service.  i don’t know about you, but for me, sushi is best enjoyed in a quiet environment.  loud music and talking just distracts me from the star of the show.

does jun i serve the best sushi in town?  i am inclined to say yes.  after all, it was definitely the best sushi i have ever had.

jun i
156, ave laurier ouest
montréal, québec
H2T 2N7
T: 514.276.5864

payment: cash, debit, credit cards

tue to fri 11h30-14h
mon to thur 18h-22h
fri and sat 18h-23h

Jun-I on Urbanspoon

One Trackback

  1. By ginza – sushi galore 29 May ’10 at 5:08 pm

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