It's not like Boulevard Saint Laurent really needs another loungey restaurant with sexy waitresses, but hey: nothing like an opening to get me out of the house. So there I went, last Saturday night, Nascar weekend, no less. The boulevard, closed to traffic for the weekend, was even more jammed than usual with a fun mix of locals and tourists, total party vibe going on.
I was there to check out the opening of the Noa Sushi Lounge, an all-white space lit in green one second, hot pink the next. The crowd was the usual mix of St. Laurent girls (think tiny dresses, platinum blonde hair, boobs spilling out), muscle boys and scenesters.
Yes, this is meant to be a restaurant, but on Saturday at 10 PM it definitely felt more like a small club gearing up for a big night: huge bottles of Grey Goose, DJ dancing to her own mixing, big tables set with jugs of OJ and cranberry juice and Hype energy drink (how else d'yathink they'd down all that vodka)?
It seemed fun and, more surprisingly, the sushi looked better than average (I'm a sushiholic who's been desperately seeking a top-notch Japanese restaurant in this town, so far, with no luck...).
That caught my attention, in fact - and only later did I find out, reading Tourisme Montreal's blog, that for the opening "Cordon-bleu trained creative director Nacim Louali invited two Japanese chefs : Taketsuna Araki (formerly from Kaizen and Soto) and Koichi (from Kioochi Club Hotel & St-Malo Kasukabe in Tokyo) – flown in from Japan for the occasion – to shake up the new sushi kitchen.
The sushis served presented a mix of traditional techniques and ingredients less common to japanese cuisine, like a beef tartare rolled up in cheese with tomato confit, truffle vinaigrette and pickle. "
Sounds like the guests at the opening ate very well, but what happens next? I just hope that once Araki and Koichi are gone the ones left in charge take the food seriously - not usually the case at Montreal's sushi joints, sadly.
After Noa, I stopped by neighbour Globe - yet another resto-lounge famous for the hot waitresses with deep cleavage in skimpy dress - for a nightcap and.... WHOA! The place was jammed with Nascar drivers, their entourages, poseurs and girls playing sexy, and the atmosphere was hot!
Waiters scrambled to clear the tables and whisk them away to make room for the revellers who kept streaming in, and the restaurant had pretty much turned into a nightclub by the time I left. Buckets with huge bottles of vodka and sparklers kept whizzing by, as girls danced on the tables. And I thought Globe had seen its glory days and was now all but forgotten... Ha! Little did I know....
But you know what? I was actually very glad to be proved wrong: despite the chaos the manager was a perfect gentleman and the girls behind the bar were super efficient, I was quite impressed. And what's more: restaurant critic Lesley Chesterman reviewed Globe recently and.... she actually loved it! You can download a PDF of the review on Globe's homepage (link below).
Globe: 3455 St-Laurent, tel. 514 284-3823,
Noa Sushi Lounge: 3509 St-Laurent, tel. 514 903-4431, www.noasushi.com