I stumbled upon Café Neko right after their opening, a couple months ago and had put it on THE list. The BIG list. The ever-growing list. Ugh. so many restaurants, so little time! Café Neko is this cute little Japanese restaurant right at the corner of St-Urbain and des Pins, and although it doesn't look like much from the outside, we were about to be pleasantly surprised! And you guessed it, I was having lunch with my main Asian squeeze, the Asian connection himself, Jer Bear.
There was a lot of construction right outside the restaurant, so once we opened the door, with the lovely classical music, it was like an oasis of serenity. Ya, I'm deep like that. The place is quite small with some tables and some seats at the window. Lots of pictures on the walls that were pretty god damn nice. It's owned by the two sole workers: a white dude and an Asian woman with a baby on her back. Basically, the cutest thing ever. I thought it was a back pack at first, but then realized it was a bébé and then I fell in love.
Jer and I started by sharing a couple very, VERY cheap entrees. Those are my FAVOURITE entrees. First: the Asian slaw with sesame dressing. Mmmm, mmm, mmmmm! So fresh, they had probably just picked the cabbage from their garden 2 minutes prior. It was nice and crunchy and the sesame vinaigrette was a bit gingery too which made it THAT much better. I actually don't think I've ever enjoyed a slaw that much in ma life.
Kimchi. I loooves me a good kimchi. I also hates me a bad kimchi. Thankfully, this one was up there! Perfectly fermented and just spicy enough. It wasn't my all time fave but kudos to the chef!
Beef dashi. FYI, dashi is a fish stock or simple broth usually made with kombu, bonito flakes, and it tastes damn didely delicious! There was rice, edamame, marinated ginger, green onions as well as some boiled onions. This was just wow. You should've seen Jer's face when he bit into a piece of beef. Holy hell that beef was tender. It was just falling apart in my mouth and oh, the flavor that it had absorbed!!! Umaaaamiiiii! Every time I say that word, I remember my Food Science teacher making a 'mmm' sound. Ah, ITHQ! The ginger added just what was needed to complete the lovely taste and the edamame added a nice texture. Oh, and the rice was perfect! Damn that dish was good!
Jer took the salmon tataki. I'm ALWAYS in for a good tataki. By the by, tataki means half-cooked. This was also a hit. The salmon melted in my mouth and the avocado just fit so well in there and had the perfect consistency! The nori added umami to it and the rice was perfect. YUM!
We were forced into having dessert. FORCED I say. OK, not really. We were full but didn't want to miss out on all that homemade goodness! I had the yuzu cheesecake. YES, a YUZU cheesecake. I'm gonna say that again: a yuzu cheesecake!!! I don't even know what to say to this except DAYUUUUMMMM! After each bite, it was like a punch to my taste buds with all that lovely citrus flavor. After Jer took a bite, his eyes opened wide and he said he wished he had ordered that instead of his homemade goodness.
Jer bear had the green tea ice cream sandwich. The ice cream tasted like green tea just the right amount and the homemade cookie was really freaking good and crunchy. But this had nothin' on my cheesecake. Nothin'!
Service was great throughout: water refill, quick service, smiles all around. Extra points for carrying the cutest little baby whilst doing it!
And now, the scores!
Food: 9 overall, 11 THOUSAND for the beef
What a great new discovery this was. Jer bear kept on saying he'll be going back and I'm for SURE going back too. OH, and it was cheap too! Excellent when you're on a budget!