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Critic: Heartfelt Japanese Cooking Wins Out at Saint-Henri's Nozy

Chef Nozomu Takeuchi delivers a "simple feast"

Nozy

At the Gazette this week, food critic Lesley Chesterman shows admiration for chef-owner Nozomu Takeuchi's homestyle Japanese cooking at Nozy. It's the second review in for Nozy, which opened on rue Notre-Dame in October, following Ariane Krol's positive review for La Presse last month. No over-the-top sushi platters are to be found here; the well-executed simplicity of the teishoku-style restaurant, which specializes in "meal sets" of a main dish with rice and soup, is the biggest draw for Chesterman.

The "no-nonsense restaurant with a bare-bones decor" has a short menu accompanied by equally concise wine and sake lists. To start, an early favourite is the beef tataki, "lightly seared on the outside, raw on the inside and paired with shredded greens, daikon and a lively ponzu sauce." The critic likes the contrast of textures of the fried vegetable crêpes placed on spicy mayonnaise, but finds them too rich. The red tuna salad with a miso-based dressing is less filling and "great," however.

Mains are served with "delicious homemade pickles and bowls of perfect miso soup," plus steamed rice that's "a bit too heavy and claggy." A slice of seared foie gras adds a note of luxury atop hamburger steak, Chesterman says, and the bowl of salmon chirashi with salmon sashimi, tartare and tataki is "even more luxurious." Of the “take kago” tray with soba noodles, beef stew, sashimi, aubergine dip and potato salad, the soba noodles and the eggplant dip are the highlight for Chesterman, while the potato salad is a bit bland.

Takeuchi, also an experienced pastry chef, she notes, delivers a "textbook" perfect crème caramel with sliced strawberries for dessert. Service was "well-informed and well-paced," and the open kitchen makes for an intimate dining room, Chesterman concludes: "It was just so carefully prepared that I did feel like I was at Takeuchi’s table, especially as I could see him 15 feet away in the open kitchen calmly cooking all night. As much as I enjoy the occasional extravagant sushi feast, how great to enjoy a simple feast, not perfect but completely devoid of any excess fanfare." Nozy nets two and a half stars on four.

Nozy

3568, rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Montreal, QC H4C 1P4 (514) 386-9797

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