For the last few years, jeweller Ilan Posesorsky had the dream of opening a kosher restaurant. He and designer Melissa Kakon worked together for almost a year to create a restaurant with a “loungy” feel that would give people a pleasurable dining experience, day or night. “We wanted to create a concept where you feel like you’re in New York, from the decor to the dishes to the quality of food,” said Posesorsky. The result is Metsuyan Sushi (metsuyansushi.com), on rue St-Louis in St-Laurent, an elegant yet casual place suitable for business meetings, family dining, and social get-togethers.
While Kakon created a black, red, and white Japanese motif that lends itself to a fine dining atmosphere, Posesorsky knew the team in the kitchen would be critical to his success as well. He carefully assembled a group of chefs, all of whom come from families of sushi makers. While their families own non-kosher sushi restaurants, the head chef, Sonny Nguyen, enjoys the challenge of creating the flavour of real sushi only kosher ingredients. It’s a true family affair, as Nguyen’s father-in-law also works in the kitchen.
Posesorksy chose sushi for very specific reasons. “First, sushi is very popular—it’s what people want. Second, a pareve restaurant gives people to eat no matter what their most recent meal was; they don’t have to worry about being ‘fleishig’ or ‘milchig.’ Finally, sushi is more creative than a steak or a plate of spaghetti – it’s not just dining, it’s art.”
The creativity is evident in the unique rolls offered, as well as in the presentation of main course dishes. On the sushi menu, their Orchid roll features salad topped with homemade taro chips, sliced thin and fried, with salmon tartar, fried mushrooms, and lightly seared tuna flavoured with steak spice. The Chilean sea bass plate features a mound of rice in the middle, the sea bass in one corner, and teriyaki vegetables, sautéed mushrooms, and tomatoes in the other three; it’s the kind of dish people take pictures of before eating.
Though open less than a week, the restaurant has already garnered over 200 “likes” on its Facebook page. Already dining favourites are emerging; according to Posesorsky, “Since we opened, almost everyone who ordered our “Kaki Aghe” ordered a second roll.” The Khaki Aghe, made with crabstick, avocado, and sweet potato, is fried on the outside, and each piece is topped with spicy mayo and a single blueberry.
The sauces are also a defining feature of Metsuyan. Each roll is complemented by a specific sauce; for example, the Geisha roll comes with the spicy mayo and teriyaki, while ginger dressing and wasabi mayo accompany the Black Dragon. The sauces include honey saki, sweet ginger, wasabi mayo (which is different from the spicy mayo), ponzu (lemony citrus sauce), and their own special enhanced soy sauce.