Maybe it’s because we’re in our thirties, but we adore a comfortable bar, with mood setting chill tunes, fabulous cocktails, and a few bites for when we’re feeling peckish. We love a restaurant or bar that doesn’t look like all the rest, and we’re tired of supper clubs and wearing the tightest dresses, and the highest heels only to have to lower our expectations when we walk through the door.
In our thirties, we’d rather spend a little more to get a little more, but Blossom Bar is a gem because you don’t have to spend more to get more. This sake bar blossomed in The Village, and we literally mean blossomed because a massive faux cherry tree is in the center of the bar, in full bloom. Japanese izakayas and ramen restaurants are trending, so it comes as no surprise that a sake bar would appeal to the trend.
With a list of over 20 sakes, filled with private imports, Blossom Bar promises to excite Montreal’s sake lovers. Lawrence Picard, cocktail-master of Montreal, put together the cocktail list which includes a few cocktails made with delicious shochu, a Japanese hard liquor that we’re partial to. We dined and sake-ed at Blossom Bar twice before writing this review, and tasted most of the menu that is composed of sushi, a few soups, and traditional Japanese appetizers prepared with a Montreal twist.
On both visits we had both the tuna and salmon temaki, which is served like a maki roll before it’s cut. What really stood out was the taste and texture of the seaweed. When you talk about sushi you usually talk about the fish, or even the rice, but the seaweed wrapper was crispy with a saltier hint than expected. It made us really enjoy our temaki rolls, and appreciate how even something as common as the seaweed-rice-salmon/tuna combo, can stand out.
The menu boasts a few Japanese inspired salads, our favourite being the Wakeme which is a typical seaweed salad that at Blossom Bar arrives with two different dressings that are excellent when mixed together. And no Japanese bar experience is complete without a bowl of edamame for that perfect salty snack that has you ordering cocktail after cocktail as your lips pucker up.
The cocktails are fabulous, the Akira was floral with rose syrup, Lillet, and a chrysanthemum tea. The gin and litchi soda ensured that the floral flavours did not overpower the cocktail. The second cocktail was our absolute favourite, the Ghost in the Shell was made with Japanese Shochu that is similar enough to Vodka, Calpis which we discovered is a Japanese soft drink, lemon juice, and the perfect hint of peach bitters that tied it all together.
The salmon and tuna sashimi were both refreshing and absolutely delicious. We would come back for plenty of sake and this dish alone! There is something about fresh fish topped with a few ingredients to enhance the taste of the fish that’s perfectly Japanese and lovely. Blossom Bar keeps things simple but they do simple well and that’s worth more than an overly complicated menu that more often than not, disappoints.
We tried two tempura dishes, the tempura shrimp and karaage. These Divas love karaage, what is there not to love about deep fried chicken that is fancied up so you feel less guilty about being such a fatty? The skin was crispy, the chicken tender, and the sauce minimal so that you didn’t lose the taste of the karaage. We much preferred the karaage over the shrimp tempura, and we weren’t even interested in trying the tempura vegetables.
We finished our soirée of bites with two soups, the Kake Udon with dashi and the Kinoko Cream Udon. The Kake Udon with dashi was the better of the two as it was the most Japanese. Dashi is often the base for miso soup, and other Japanese soups and sauces. The Kinoko Cream Udon was a mushroom soup but it lacked that Japanese flavour, actually it tasted like a cream of mushroom soup, which was yummy but not what we were expecting. It just wasn’t Japanese enough for us!
We had a lovely time at Blossom Bar, the food was just right, the cocktails were lovely, and the ambiance perfection, especially if you’re in your thirties and looking for a chill vibe. We don’t often comment on service but when it’s deserved, it’s deserved, our waiter never left our side, he was joking with us, making recommendations and just being marvelous. As you get older, you appreciate these things ?
Our Rating: Splendid