Sometime food critic Ariane Krol pays Nozy a visit this week for La Presse. It's the first write-up for the Japanese restaurant in Saint-Henri, open since last October. Chef-owner Nozomu Takeuchi, a native of Hokkaido, was last seen at Zenya, and is a graduate of Tokyo's Tsuji School of Culinary Arts, where his focus was on French and Italian cuisine. Nozy is a teishoku-ya, or a restaurant that specializes in "meal sets" that combine grilled, deep fried, or broiled dishes with rice, pickled vegetables, and various side dishes.
Krol is a fan of the format. To start, a take kago bento wicker basket arrives with an assortment of cold and hot dishes: sashimi, soba noodles, vegetables done okonomiyaki style, karaage, as well as "des préparations plus occidentales" like aubergine purée with pita chips, barley salad, and a succulent lamb stew. Delightful, writes the critic. A rice bowl with raw fish and seafood, or chirashizushi, is another must: "les produits de la mer sont impeccables, tant du point de vue de la qualité que de la fraîcheur." Krol thinks some of Takeuchi's flavours could be more assertive, but reserves praise for the chef's katsu chicken curry. Tasty, and "une source de réconfort qui se mange à la cuiller."
Takeuchi's terrific desserts take Krol by surprise. A green tea crème brûlée is delicious, delicate, and complex, and a chocolate banana cake, topped with whipped cream, is dense and moist. Even the homemade biscotti impresses. Minor quibbles aside (the restaurant's ventilation system could be better), the La Presse critic enthusiastically endorses Nozy. This is an affordable Japanese restaurant, concludes Krol, that is not a noisy izakaya or a sushi bar, but a place where you can enjoy simple, yet soigné, food.