Kinka Izakaya, locating in Faubourg on St. Catherine Street, offers an authentic dining experience of popular Japanese eateries. The name “Kinka” means “Golden flower”, which symbolizes “happiness” in Japanese; hence it’s their mission to make every customers happy with both the food and impeccable services. “Izakaya” is equivalent to a bar, where people would go to enjoy exquisite food and drinks (typically with beer or sake) to unwind after a hard day of work. An izakaya offers relaxation, joy, and amazing food.
As soon as you step into the restaurant, you will be greeted with “Ira-ssha-i-ma-se” (welcome, in Japanese), loudly. The staffs are not only friendly, but also energetic! An izakaya offers tapas-style dishes pairing with a collection of premium Japanese sake, beers, or cocktails. The night started off with the cocktail, Sakura, recommended by the waitress. It’s a mix of red wine, peach liquor and cassis, and seven-up. The drink was quite peachy, but not too sweet (which is good!).
Maguro Tataki – The first dish served was the seared albacore tuna sashimi with ponzu and garlic chips. I love it when the sashimi is lightly torched on the outside, while the inner part is still raw. The fish is fresh and tender. I like to pair it with the daikons beneath, which had already soaked up all the ponzu sauce.
Karaage – This is a classic home dish in Japan. These deep fried chicken have been marinated in soy sauce before hands, and were served with garlic mayo on the side. It was served tongue-burning hot! Nonetheless, it was crisp and flavorful.
The chicken was still tender and juicy. It sort of reminds me of the Taiwanese popcorn chicken. The garlic mayo wasn’t as garlic-y as I expected. But, the chicken is already good on its own.
The third course of the tasting menu was supposed to be “Karubi”, which is grilled miso marinated beef short ribs. However, I have notified the chef that I do not eat beef, therefore, I was served the “Kakuni” as the replacement. It’s braised pork belly with boiled egg. The pork belly was so tender! It wasn’t too salty, and perfect when pairing with the mustard.
Gindara – This was my favorite of the night. It’s grilled black cod with yuzu miso sauce. The black cod is marinated with miso. It was cooked to perfection, which was crisp outside, and still moist and tender. The yuzu miso sauce was refreshing!
Unagi bibimbap – “Unagi” means water eel. This was served in a sizzling stone bowl with rice, BBQ water eel, burdock and egg. I love unagi! It has an unique taste among all other fishes.
“Bibimbap” comes from Korean, which literally means “mixed rice”. The waitress mixed it for us upon serving. I had a mix feeling for this dish. I was quite disappointed that I could barely see/taste any unagi afterwards. However, I love the addition of the burdock, and the stickiness of the rice.
Of course, a good meal isn’t complete without the dessert. We had the black sesame ice cream. It was alright. I would prefer the taste of black sesame to be stronger.
Instead of ice cream, I would definitely recommend the “Kabocha Zenzai“, which is a bowl of sweet kabocha pumpkin puree, topped with rice cake (aka mochi), red beans, and ice cream. The pumpkin puree is so smooth and silky!
Overall, Kinka is definitely a fun place to hang out with friends after a long exhausted day. The staffs are friendly, and the services are impeccable, which is exactly what you would’ve experienced in Japan. Moreover, have a birthday party at Kinka, you’ll be surprise 😉 The executive chef, Ippei Iwata, definitely brought and introduced a menu boasting a variety of traditional and modern izakaya dishes to the Montreal food scene.
1624 St. Catherine Street W, Montreal
Tel: +1 (514) 750-1624 (Reservations strongly recommended)
*Disclaimer: Thanks to Kinka Izakaya for the invitation to try out their tasting menu. This meal was compensated by the restaurant, however, all opinions are mine.