A week ago, Kinka Izakaya and Chef Ippei Iwata invited us to a multi-course tasting of select menu items and signature cocktails. The downtown Japanese eatery opened its doors on Rue St Catherine in November 2014, as part of its first venture into the Montreal food scene. With three sister locales across Toronto, the Kinka family has already gained a reputation for its high-quality Japanese tapas and fizzing sake bombs.
Kinka Izakaya is one thing above all: loud. Guests and staff alike contribute to the buzzing and energetic atmosphere with booming shouts of welcome and enthusiastic sake chants. Here, fine cuisine meets pub culture, and modern Japanese fare comes accompanied with large jugs of Sapporo beer. A combination, in short, that guarantees a lively and highly enjoyable evening!
And the food, oh, the food… The seared albacore tuna sashimi with ponzu and garlic chips melted so fast on our tongues, we barely had time to snap a picture! The tuna was wonderfully tender and the garlic chips added a full but not overpowering aroma.
The first course was then promptly followed by grilled beef short ribs, deliciously marinated in miso seasoning. What a combination of flavours!
Next came crispy deep fried chicken pieces served with a garlic mayo dip. The fruity litchi and grapefruit cocktails helped lighten the heaviness of the course and prepared us for the last two tasting items: grilled miso marinated black cod and unagi bibimbap. The sizzling mix of rice, BBQ eel, and egg was hearty and warming, and our personal favourite among an exquisite assortment of dishes.
All the food at Kinka Izakaya is served in tapas-sized portions and is best shared between friends. The larger and hungrier your group, the more dishes you get to taste. We would recommend getting your own bowl of black sesame ice cream though, as it’s simply too yummy to share. Check Kinka’s Facebook page for daily specials and Happy Hours!
1624 Rue Ste-Catherine O, Montréal, QC H3H 2S7
Featured image courtesy of Kinka Izakaya. Photos courtesy of Alex Jurecko & Dahlia Merlo.