Imadake is part of a sea change in Montreal, a city that’s becoming a haven for izakaya, traditional Japanese pubs. Izakaya offer booze, but also focus on small tapas-like dishes of fried and grilled (sea)food, ideal for picking at over an evening of Sapporo or Asahi.
While the decor of nearby newcomer Kazu is significantly more in line with its izakaya identity, Imadake offers an aesthetic that is hard to resist: classy, modern, and still somewhat playful. The chalkboard walls feature caricatures of the waitstaff, while plywood trees conceal the support beams. Endearingly, the entire staff offers a Japanese greeting as you enter, and a valediction as you leave.
A dinner can be made up of two or three dishes per person. We tried a seafood okonomiyaki (crispy exterior, soft and creamy interior), some tako yaki (fried octopus balls), a maguro (tuna) cutlet that was spiced and breaded, and a bowl of grilled eel on a bed of sushi rice, popped rice kernels, green onions and Japanese parsley, all in a dashi broth. For dessert the waitress ruefully admitted they were out of green tea and black sesame ice cream, but brought a magnificent green tea pudding instead. Everything was freshly prepared, flavourful and artfully presented. While it’s not a cheap alternative to the student eats around Concordia, Imadake offers a pleasant, novel way to enjoy a meal out.
4006 Ste-Catherine West | Atwater Metro | imadake.ca