KYO Bar Japonais
Hotel Place d’Armes/St.Jacques
711 Cote de Place D’Armes
Chef Hats: 3.5
Cost: 3 persons= $ 151.54
KYO Bar Japonais, located on the ground floor of Hotel Place d’Armes on the Cote of rue des Fortification and St.Jacques is yet another brainchild of the Antonopoulos Group. For those who are not familiar with the name, they own many of the fine Boutique hotels and a slew of restaurants located in these hotels in Old Montreal; like Verses, Maggie Oakes, Méchant Boeuf, Bevo, and Modavie.
KYO situated in the spot that use to house the now defunct AIX- Cuisine du Terroir was one of the first in the area. Opened in summer of 2013, it serves great Japanese Isakaya type fare in a fun atmosphere that was lacking in this part of Montreal. On board you will find Chef Terrence “Ding” Ting formerly of Zenya showcasing his beautiful presentations, mastery of sushi making and his minute attention to detail and taste. Every dish is packed with great flavours and incorporates local produce and with a mix and fusion of Quebecoise favourites. The setting and decor like most of the restaurants located inside this hotel whisper shades of sexiness with its billowing curtains of colored themes. See Suite 701 on upper floor with its pink and purple hues of color.
KYO is different from the rest of the hotel with its old historic charm; the only thing reminiscent of most buildings set in Old Montreal is the red brick walls. KYO has an urban clean look to it with its panelled wood walls, Asian themed lighting and red curtains. Like a cute Bento box, it exudes charm and looks like it has been lifted out from the future and planted there. Once you cross the threshold of the elevator doors, you feel like you could be in any modern day pub from any area of Montreal, with its rows of high wood tables and black leather stools lining the center of the room. KYO has a little nook for private dining for four and this is where we sat this evening. The alcove facing the street was our own private haven from the hustle & bustle of this busy Japanese Isakaya and it can get loud with the echoes of voices, music and festive atmosphere as the evening progresses.
KYO is known for its extensive Sake list and great cocktails, this evening it was only befitting that we start with Hakutsuru Junmai Sake for $14.00, recommended by our waitress Chloe; who treated us with white gloves and was very attentive to our needs for the most part of the evening. Going on the week we dined there was the Annual Happening Gourmand Festival, so we ordered from the special menu for $ 26.00 per person for a three course meal. It is a steal and worth going this route if you plan on sampling the food and drinking more.
I had the pleasure this evening of dining with my side kick and better half Brains and my friend the Indian Goddess whose birthday we were celebrating this evening. Brains, who is on an endless quest for good Japanese food ordered a Miso soup and the Indian Goddess ordered the Kaiso Salad. The Foodie ordered the Tataki Maguro for an additional $ 6.00, but well worth the price. The drawback with the menu for festival is that you only have two to three items to choose from.
Nonetheless, the Miso soup was packed with fresh ingredients like tofu cubes, green onions, shitake mushrooms and fresh seaweed. It did not taste like instant Miso soup base mix that you find in other lower end Japanese restos. It hit the spot on this frigid cold Montreal night.
The Kaiso salad consisted of a mix of meslun greens, seaweed, slivers of green onions and halved cherry tomatoes with and sesame salad dressing. Goddess was a little disappointed, the salad she thought was sparse, but it was a decent start and healthy.
The Tuna Tataki was a generous portion of six slices of raw tuna on a bed of shredded daikon, green onions and rounds of marinated jalapenos peppers packed with kick and flavour. Everyone thought that this was the better of all the dishes sampled from entrees.
For mains we ordered Chicken Yaki, Marinated salmon and Yasai Yaki Udon. The chicken Yaki with Mirin came beautifully presented on a slate plate. Served with kimchi, large king mushroom, zucchini, potatoes and green onion garnish, it was delightful and sweet.
The Salmon was perfectly cooked and not too dry. It sat on a bed of sweet potatoe puree with steamed bok choy and edamame and soy reduction. The flavours were heavenly with the sweetness of the puree and soy reduction against the bitterness of bok choy and edamame.
The Yasai Yaki Udon was one of the best that Brains had tasted in a while. Served with large cubes of Tofu, Japanese style Udon noodles, bok choy, red peppers, zucchini, asparagus and crispy seaweed garnish. Too bad the portion was small but expected for a tasting menu. Another bowl was in order.
For dessert, we had Pinky Ginger cocktails for $ 13.00 to ward off the cold weather blues. It is made with Shochu-a Japanese liqueur, Chambord and fresh crushed raspberries and ginger. This cocktail is a must and highly addictive. It is refreshingly good and goes down smooth and easy. Along with our drinks we ordered 2 portions of Vanilla Pudding cake with pistachio powder, served with custard cream and fresh fruit. The cake was sort of generic, but the cream and fruit made up for the dryness of the cake.
What we really enjoyed for an additional $4.00 were the Yuzu Beignets. These were decadent!
We got three sugared doughnuts for all to share. Suspended over the bowl by a chopstick below we discovered a rich sweetened condensed milk and sprinkled black sesame. Sugar overload but we just kept dunking our beignets over and over again in the creamy sweetness and could not get enough.
This completed our evening and we were perfectly satisfied. As we left the restaurant/ bar, it had completely filled up with young revellers and a real buzzing energy. We understood why it was so popular; we enjoyed everything at KYO, from our seating arrangements to the service, decor, and food above all.
We had a wonderfully easy and hassle free evening as we waited for the valet to bring us our car.
We were happy campers as it was easy sailing this evening all for except the Montreal traffic.
I definitely must put it on my best list for another visit. I would have loved to try so many other items on the menu. My list keeps getting longer. Hummm, I do love Montreal and the food scene.