When I was in Montreal in September, I found this little Japanese restaurant called Furusato (which roughly translates to birthplace or hometown). It’s on the bottom floor (half a level below grade) of a house-like building located at 2137 Rue de Bleury, which is within blocks of McGill’s downtown campus at the corner of Rue de Bleury (which turns into Avenue du Parc) and Sherbrooke. Unfortunately, the restaurant was fully booked from 6-9pm that night…but based on a good sign of a fully-booked restaurant, I was determined to visit this place the next time I was in town.
Fast forward a few months and I finally got to try Furusato. The staff are all Japanese (not necessarily a sure-fire indicator of deliciousness but nonetheless a decent indicator), the restaurant seems commonly booked up for a decent part of the night (disclaimer: I’ve only been in on weekends), and the place has an authentic feel to it. As a bonus, I was there with my entire family, meaning discerning Japanese parents were in tow.
We arrived a bit before their 6pm opening time but were allowed to sit at our table and out of the cold while the staff finished off their preparations for the dinner service to ensue. The service was friendly and prompt. The food was homely and overall decently priced.
We had just had my mom’s homemade chicken karaage a few days before coming to this restaurant and I have to say, her karaage was better (juicier, with more spices in the batter) than the chicken served at Furusato (meat was a bit dry).
The tempura had a nice crisp to it, which I appreciate; I find it difficult getting crisp batter at home. The fish in the sushi was better than most sushi I can find in Ottawa and the proportion of rice to fish was appropriate (not too rice-heavy).
The night that we were there, they had run out of red bean ice cream (cue the tears) so we had black sesame and green tea ice cream; I highly doubt they make their ice cream in-house so the ice cream had the taste and texture of store-bought ice cream. Not bad but nothing special.
Overall, I liked the old-school Japanese restaurant feel and the food was decent. If Furusato were in Ottawa, I’d consider returning to it every so often since it’s hard to find good authentic not-too-pricey Japanese food but in a place like Montreal where there are just so many places to try, I don’t think I’ll be heading back there anytime soon. Besides, I could make a lot of the cooked dishes they serve at home.