un voyage gastronomique

the world is your platter

Furusato: That place nobody knows about but is always booked full

by Skinny: Grilled Squid_Mackarel

I almost do not want to write a review of this place; I sort of want to keep it a ménage à trois between its secret community of patrons, Montreal, and myself. Tucked away slightly underground, Furusato requires a little sniffing out to be noticed. The tiny entranceway and even tinier signs (white A4 paper, really) announcing its name in even tinier print belie its low-profile darling status. If it isn’t immediately obvious, they’re very modest about it.

Tempura Udon_2

Tempura udon (above) was just about right for the moderate taste bud, not overwhelmingly orgasmic but subtly well controlled. Its tempura prawns were very soft, the light yellow cocoon of  fried, soup-soaked flour about ready to come loose to reveal the naked body of the prawn inside.

Grilled Squid_1

Grilled MackerelThe grilled squid (top) was grilled to a consistently thin and very fine crisp outer layer, mouth-wateringly shimmery under the warm lighting (although I confess I had waited a long time for a friend to arrive to start eating). Grilled mackerel (bottom) was also done the same way, brown skin over white flesh. Both tasted a bit hard and dry respectively, but that’s where Furusato has got it right. Their modus operandi seems to be a kind of simplicity, understatement, and an understanding of the act of enjoying food, where the coming together of various components of a dish is essential to creating maximum effect. That is, before you dig in to some plain old grilled squid and mackerel, you HAVE TO juice it up with a squeeze of your lemon slice, dip a piece into the sauce that accompany the serving, and only then indulge yourself. It’s like baking with salted butter and still adding salt to the recipe; the people at Furusato possess the Japanese sensibility of modesty, in food and in décor. The small restaurant is very cozy, great for a quiet dinner with a few friends or a date night. Sit on the retro orange stools at the rather neglected-looking bar and watch the chef at work, or by the window in the soft glow of a Japanese lantern. Now that we’ve told you about the art to eating here, go ahead, take a reservation and get your date on. Just don’t spread the word too much, they’re already busy enough on the weekend.

Food: 4/5

Ambiance: 4.5/5

Service: 4.5/5

Price: $10-20

Bistro Japonais Furusato on Urbanspoon

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