Restaurant: Yen Cuisine Japonaise
Restaurant type: Japanese, sushi, tartares, soups, salads, rice bowls
Prices: $7-$28 entrées, $14-$37 mains
Date: Friday August 10th 2018
Table of: 2
My favorite dish: terriyaki chicken rice bowl
I had the pleasure of trying out the brand new Yen Cuisine Japonaise as their guest. As its name implies, Yen is a Japanese restaurant that just opened its doors downtown, corner Mackay and Sherbrooke. Here, you’ll find more traditional Japanese offerings, like sushi, sashimi, rice bowls, tataki, noodles and more.
What struck me right away, was the beautiful decor of the place. There are a lot of wooden accents, dimmed lights, hanging lights, Japanese characters and my favorite: walls full of cards with Japanese related things (ramen, sushi, sumo wrestlers, geishas, etc.).
Before I get into the food, I would first like to point out that Yen does not presently have its liquor license and thus does not offer any alcoholic beverages. Obviously, its not the end of the world, but definitely something I wish I’d known before coming as it was Friday night, the end to a very long week and I really wanted a Japanese themed cocktail or at the very least, a good glass of white wine.
I liked the way the menu was done; with images and accurate descriptions for all of the dishes available. So even though you had no idea what “samon dobin mushi” was, you had a nice little description of it and a beautiful picture of it too, for your eyes. After browsing through the menu several times and trying to determine how many dishes to order, we settled on:
- Kaisen carpaccio (salmon and tuna carpaccio)
- Kaisen avocado tartare (salmon tartare over avocado)
- Samon dobin mushi (Traditional Japanese seafood broth with salmon, chicken, soya sauce, lime and mushrooms)
- Hotate katsuo uramaki (Grilled scallop sushi with tobiko mayo, avocado and tamago uramaki)
- Toriyakidon (Japanese rice bowl topped with teriyaki chicken)
- Green tea crème brûlée
- Black sesame panna cotta
Overall, everything was excellent. However, I do have to say that the portions are on the small side and we had a hard time determining how many dishes we should order. We ended up ordering 5, but in hindsight, 3 each would have been better. My personal favorite was the Japanese rice bowl topped with teriyaki chicken, which was delicious. The portion was great, the chicken juicy and the teriyaki sauce was buttery and sweet; one of the best I’ve had! The Traditional Japanese seafood broth with salmon, chicken, soya sauce, lime and mushrooms was an interesting experience, as it was served in a teapot and came with a small saucer, that you poured the soup into and drank (we then assumed it was ok to use our chopsticks to fish out the protein from the teapot and eat it). The broth itself was very good and overall the soup was very good and focused on subtle flavours. I also really enjoyed the salmon tartare over avocado, not just for its beautiful presentation but also for the delicious salmon tartare and creamy sesame sauce. However, because it came with an entire half avocado, and thus there was a lot of avocado, the avocado sometimes overpowered the tartare.
For the desserts, Yen offers both green tea and black sesame flavours, for their crème brûlée and panna cotta. Not really knowing which to choose, we let our friendly waiter choose and received the green tea crème brûlée and the black sesame panna cotta. Both desserts were absolutely delicious. The crème brûlée was creamy and sweet and the panna cotta was thick and rich. I found the exotic flavours to be most present in the panna cotta, as it was a bit grainy from the crushed black sesame seeds.
Overall, we had a great evening at Yen; everything was delicious and fresh. I particularly enjoyed the terriyaki chicken rice bowl, as well as all the raw fish dishes. The desserts were also excellent, so make sure to keep some room for them!
UP NEXT: ma critique de La Matraca (Petit spot à découvrir pour de délicieux tacos, tortas, quesadillas et plus! (Plateau)).
*This restaurant post does not contain my usual restaurant review criteria of restaurants, as this is a sponsored post where I was invited to the restaurant as a guest.
*All photos and comments are mine