I had heard about Imadake so many times and of course I was curious to try it, I love Japanese food. So when my classmate Milène suggested we go for dinner to discuss about our goal of making a cooking show, I suggested Imadake. Our cooking show is on hiatus for an undetermined time, j-school is taking over our lives and our second year is twice the workload than the previous one.We invited our classmate Gabriel and there we were, three people who loved eating and trying new things. Needless to say, we ordered so many dishes and our bills were pretty expensive. I still cry when I remember about it, but of joy because it was such an amazing night despite the cold weather in February of 2013. Of course, I have been to Imadake 4 times since that night.
I felt as if I was in an actual izakaya in Tokyo. What’s an izakaya? It’s a Japanese pub where you can share appetizer-size dishes and drink with your colleagues after a long day of work. No, I’ve never been in Japan but from what I see in Japanese movies, the experience was similar. It was loud and rowdy, small dishes of food brought to you and a big selection of alcohol with specials on sapporo beer. We were sitting near the kitchen and bar on small individual benches made in wood like our table.
Nobu, our adorable and friendly waitress, suggested most of our dishes after we told her we wanted to live the total Japanese experience.
p.s. I love Japan so it’s full of tips and descriptions of the words
Dish 1: Takowasa. Jap 101: tako = octopus & wasa = wasabi. It’s an octopus salad marinated with wasabi. A mix of freshness and spiciness flows at every spoonful with the squishy and tiny pieces of octopus. A nice appetizer to start our journey. We ordered this salad after finding out they ran out of jellyfish salad.
Dish 2: Mochi Springroll. Jap 101: mochi = Japanese rice cake made of glutinous rice. The first bite is weird and unfamiliar to my taste buds. Mochi is usually found in desserts but here it is wrapped in a fried spring roll. After another bite, I realize the mix is not as bad especially when dipped in the sauce. Milène didn’t like it as much.
Dish 3: Miso cow tongue. Jap 101: miso = Japanese seasoning made with soybeans and other ingredients. I was really intrigued to try this dish and discover how cow tongue tasted. The first bite was weird, I wasn’t used to the texture. But after a few bites, it was a foodgasm! I always recommend this dish to friends but warning, it has a taste similar to old cheese. I suggest ordering a bowl of rice and mixing the flavours.
Dish 4: Takoyaki. Jap 101: tako = octopus & yaki = fried. Four fried octopus balls made with wheat flour with a piece of octopus, pickled ginger and green onion inside. It is decorated with sprinkle of dried seaweed powder, smoked tuna flakes and Japanese mayonnaise, a lighter and tasty mayonnaise. I love takoyaki and have already talked about them in previous posts. They are soft and savoury but very hot. I almost burn my tongue eating one.
Dish 5: Ebimayo. Jap 101: ebi = shrimps & mayo = mayonnaise. Four little shrimps are served with a Japanese mayonnaise. Don’t be fooled by this dish’s simplicity. The shrimps and the mayonnaise are a wonderful combination for your taste buds. A good choice if you want to play safe while ordering dishes.
Dish 6: Karaage. Jap 101: karaage = Japanese cooking technique where foods are deep-fried in oil. Imadake offers chicken karaage with wasabi aioli. You think KFC is finger licking good, well this will knock your socks off. The wasabi aioli is a spicy version of the Japanese mayonnaise. Don’t forget to add lemon juice to the chicken. Another safe dish.
I am not a big fan of fish. Anyone who knows me well knows that. The next four dishes (7 to 10) were ordered by Milène and Gabriel who assured that these dishes with fish will be good. I was very skeptical but I am always up to try new dishes so I was not too reticent.
Dish 7: Dashi Chazuke. Jap 101: dashi = a soup and cooking stock used in Japanese cuisine & chazuke = Japanese dish where green tea (cha) is poured over rice and other toppings. Imadake offers two variations of the dish, one with eel and one with smoked salmon. We ordered the one with eel thankfully. The dish was interesting and weird at the same time. The broth was good, a bit too salty to my taste. The eel had a funny texture but I didn’t get electrocuted.
Dish 8: Aburi Shime Saba. Jap 101: aburi = seared with a flame, shime = tight & saba = mackerel. Two pieces of raw mackerel fish are brought on a plate and the waiter flames them with a butane torch under our curious eyes. That was a pretty cool moment! I had a bite, hoping it would taste good. There are some sorts of fish that I don’t mind eating because they have a light taste. This one had a strong taste, which I didn’t enjoy. I let my colleagues finish it.
Dish 9: White Fish Carpaccio. No need of Japanese translation here. Carpaccio is a dish of raw meet or fish that are thinly sliced. The sauce in which the fish bathed added a nice taste, which made it interesting and nice.
Dish 10: Gindara. Jap 101: gindara = sable fish known as cod too. It is a grilled black codfish marinated in miso. Surprisingly enough, I loved this dish. The codfish had a light buttery taste. It was incredibly soft and warm.
Dish 11: Yakiika. Jap 101: yaki = fried & ika = squid. It’s basically a fried cuttlefish served with a Japanese mayonnaise. A different variation from fried calamari, the major difference is that cuttlefish has a rubbery texture but tastes really good.
Dish 12: Okonomiyaki. Jap 101: okonomi = what you want & yaki = fried. An okonomiyaki is a pancake filled with different ingredients including scallions, ginger and batter. Bonito flakes and pickled red ginger are sprinkled on top. Imadake offers two variations: seafood and pork belly. We ordered the pork belly one as we had enough seafood dishes. I love okonomiyaki and this one was delicious. I’ve also tried the seafood one, which was just as good. During La Poutine Week, Imadake offered an okonomiyaki poutine, which was to die for.
After 12 dishes of appetizers/meals, we moved to my favourite section: desserts!
Dessert 1: Oshiruko. Jap 101: shiruko = sweet red bean soup. This typical Japanese dessert is a warm porridge made with azuki red bean paste and mochi (rice cake made of glutinous rice). The dessert was served with vanilla ice cream. The mix of sweet, warm and cold is heavenly. Read foodgasm! This is definitely the best Japanese dessert I’ve ever tasted. Just writing about it makes my mouth water.
Dessert 2: Red bean and chocolate mochi. No need of description as I described it twice already. Only red bean and chocolate flavours were available by 10 pm. They are sweet, soft and delicious. I had to share them but if it was up to me, I would have engulfed in a few seconds.
Verdict: Probably one of the best nights of my life.
One another visit, I tried the Yakiudon. Jap 101: yaki = fried & udon = thick wheat flour noodle. I ordered the shrimp one, which was very good. I love the thickness of udon noodles. It was very tasty and the add of Japanese mayonnaise was a good choice. I was just disappointed that I had only one or two shrimps in my plate. A waiter brought me more after I had eaten half my meal. It was too good and I didn’t want to wait.
I also tried the Shiratama (not sure if that was the exact name but I think so). Jap 101: shiratama = rice flour dumpling. This decadent dessert is served in a wooden bowl. Vanilla ice cream on the bottom with green bean paste over it and pieces of mochi and a light cream on top. The waiter told me the green bean paste had a strong taste and I might maybe not like it. Thankfully, I didn’t listen to it because that dessert was amazing!!! Yes the green bean paste tasted strong but when mixed with the ice cream and mochi, it was a wonderful combination. Yet another foodgasm. I don’t know if I prefer this one or the Oshiruko one, both are incredibly good and different from your typical western desserts.
Hello Kitty cocktail, cute and sweet! Vodka, strawberry/guava juice, lime They offer Japanese beer such as Sapporo that comes in a 1L glass. There is also Japanese whiskey and sake cold or warm. The Hello Kitty cocktail is adorable with vodka, lime, strawberry and guava juice.
You absolutely have to get a sake bomb. It consists of a shot of sake poured into a glass of beer. The shot is carefully placed between two chopsticks over the glass. The staff will then ask you to chant loudly, saying bomb after the word sake is pronounced. After the third time, you will slam (gently) your fists on the table so the shot falls down and chug the mix. It creates a wild and competitive atmosphere as everyone tries to chant louder than the others. They have regular and large format of sake bombs, as well as a rainbow one: the sake is blue and the beer is burgundy. Nonetheless to say that I have tried all variations of sake bombs. Definitely an experience worth trying.
It gets a grade of 9/10, why not a perfect grade? Yes, it’s an excellent restaurant with a an amazing ambiance but it’s not perfect. I would suggest having at least between 30 and 40 dollars with you. Appetizers are between three and fifteen dollars, the bill will depend on how many of them you order. My bill was 80 dollars and it wasn’t with tips included.
The owner, Reno, is a nice and fun man. He and Nobu offered us a wonderful service during my first visit.
Always make reservations, it fills out pretty fast. I would recommend this restaurant for anyone even if I have never seen children there. It would be too noisy for them or maybe not. The clientele is usually around their 20s or 30s and the atmosphere is fun and crazy. I love the colourful and funky wall with drawings of a samurai. Whether you are just two or with a big group, you should try Imadake. There are so many choices, you just have to remember to order some food in order to have some drinks. You can also ask to just have one bill.
4006 Sainte-Catherine West, Montreal, QC
H3Z 1P2 514-931-8833