Big in Japan
Conveniently nestled on the nightlife stretch of St-Laurent, Big in Japan is the perfect post-party eatery.
Japanese food usually insinuates sushi, but the menu at Big in Japan features an entirely different take on the culture’s cuisine. Featuring about 15 options for late-night diners. I would categorize the food as Asian pub fare meets Eat St.
I ordered the barbecue pork steamed buns, for $12. It consisted of a pork filet and Japanese cucumber slivers sandwiched between a sticky bun, drenched with a sweet and salty hoisin-type sauce. A small but very spicy Kimchi salad came in a bowl on the side. The sandwich was that perfect combination of sweet and hearty, an anchor for a stomach churning in a sea of tequila.
The late night menu also features a huge meal-sized bowl of ramen soup with a myriad of vegetables, pork, and a hard-boiled egg floating in it, as well as several meat and rice plates, Japanese style sandwiches, and tuna tartare, none of which cost more than $13.
The restaurant also offers an extensive daytime menu, and has a decent selection of beers and sake. The house beer was nice and light, and the Sayuri sake was extremely smooth, though much stronger than I expected.
Big in Japan is open daily until 3 a.m., to eat in or take out and is located on 3723 St-Laurent Blvd.
There isn’t enough one can say about good food — think about how happy it makes you feel. I’m here to praise one of the greatest culinary legacies in Montreal. A place that stays open for our late, grumbling appetites or our drunken snacking. He’s created a name for himself in the city, and all citizens should thank him for his epic shish taouk in that little hole in the wall on Crescent St. I’m talking about Boustan, of course.
Boustan was owned by none other than Imad Smaidi, known to his customers as the infamous Mr. Boustan, for 25 years. He recently sold his establishment to George and Peter Hatzis. At the time, I was extremely worried that this change might alter the mouth-watering quality of Boustan’s food. However, the new owners have managed to beautifully preserve the Boustan legacy. Sometimes, I can still imagine Mr. Boustan cutting up the meat in the back.
What makes this place so great is that it serves some of the most delicious Middle Eastern food in Montreal. The shish taouk, the shawarmas, and the delicious, always glistening, golden garlic potatoes are all spectacular. It is the king of restaurants and I say you haven’t really eaten until you’ve eaten there at least once.
Boustan is located on 9832 Crescent St.
Although it may not live up to the Boustan legacy, there is another restaurant, only a few blocks away, that has also created a name for itself serving Montrealers some of the best paninis in the city. Joe’s Panini is the place I’m talking about. This may sound far-fetched, but as a Montrealer with a voracious appetite, I’m saying with a lot of confidence that you aren’t a true Montrealer until you’ve had Joe’s paninis in the wee hours of the morning.
Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Joe’s Panini takes the words ‘late-night fix’ to an entirely different level. No matter what time of day, you’re sure to always have a small line-up upon arrival. That’s fine, because you’ll need a few minutes to decide on which of the countless paninis to try, all written down on a blackboard above the counter. For your first time, don’t think twice; you must have the Philly cheese sub. Needless to say, all of the other ones are absolutely delightful as well; the spicy-rib panini, the spicy chicken, the egg salad panini, are all great and cost $5.50.
Joe’s Panini serves up sandwiches like none else. It’s no wonder it’s been around for 35 years, etching its name in Montreal’s restauranting scene. It too has become a legacy, and has provided Montrealers with the opportunity to have some of these delicious sandwiches everyday. Joe’s Panini, Montrealers thank you.
Joe’s Panini is located on 1404 Drummond St.