Welcome to Biiru an Izakaya that can be described as a hole in the wall. Not literally, but it is a place that although very conveniently located, it is not a place you go to when you’re strolling along Ste-Catherine looking for a place to eat. This place is a little off Ste-Catherine, just one turn away on City Councillors Street so do check out the streets that are perpendicular to Ste-Catherine for places to eat!
Is that a sumo wrestler cat? Why yes it is…can the atmosphere at this place get anymore kickin’ (said in the voice of “cool mom”)
An izakaya would of course not be complete without a wide selection of Japanese alcohol including the beloved Sapporo. So before we continue on just to give a little reference, an izakaya is a Japanese bar that serves food to accompany the drinks. That is why most dishes are smaller portioned. Thus, one should go with friends (if do no have any, it’s okay portion for one is fine too) order a ton and share!
The classic wakame salad is a seaweed salad, but this dish adds a citrus zest with the mandarins and a sweet taste with the cucumbers/sunomono. From the juicyness of the mandarins, to the chewiness of the seaweed, and the crispyness of a cucumber, this dish is a great mixture of different flavours and different textures.
To be honest, this was not a dish that my group ordered, it was a dish for the group next to us. We didn’t even really notice just because who says no to free-ish food. I’m not that fond of tomatoes as there is just something about not knowing whether you’re going to get a sweet one or a sour one that turns me off #trustissues. Life’s like a tomato, you never know what you’re going to get. Cannot quite pinpoint how this one tasted, but if any of you go and get this salad, please leave a comment on your thoughts about it! (Somebody please love me with comments…no shame)
A classic Asian dish. How can one really go wrong with dumplings. The gyoza sauce was great, I love the addition of scallions in any sauce for dumplings. They really give the dish another dimension to it that’s not just the softness and deliciousness of a dumpling.
This may be my favourite dish out of everything I tried at Biiru. I’ve only had soba noodles bare with sauce on the side before, but this dish takes Soba to a whole other level. I never really fully pay attention/remember what exactly I ordered so I was very pleasantly surprised by the bacon bits (so much so I have a recording of myself on my phone reminding me how good the bacon was). The smokiness of the bacon and the sweetness of the cranberries is a heavenly combination. Moreover, the kimchi really just combines everything perfectly. I’m telling you this is a party in your mouth.
If you like fried chicken and mayonnaise look no further, you have found your soulmate. Not quite the fluffy crispiness of KFC, because there is no fluff this dish gets right to the point and is crisp. (Did that sound cool? sounded cool as I typed it…heh heh…this is why I have no friends.)
With all the bold flavoured dishes at Biiru, sometimes you just got to give your mouth a break (please do not take this out of context and quote me…I will be forever shamed). The tofu has that miso/bonito taste to it, but overall more on the bland side compared to the other dishes. Not that that’s a bad thing at all. This dish just takes one flavour and sticks to it which is refreshing when your taste buds are going crazy trying to identify whether a dish is sweet, sour, or spicy.
If I were to come here by myself, this would be the dish I would order. I haven’t quite been able to ever really find a japadog in Montreal unless you’re at a festival and there’s one random stall that is serving it, and that’s why I’m super happy I found my love here. Don’t mind the ugliness/messiness of the picture, the hot dog was cut in four so that we could share it. Just read the description, it’s another dish that combines different flavours and makes it work. I am salivating as I type…I am also reading out loud as I type.
First off, let’s just talk about how cute the presentation is. Not sure if this dish is always served in this bowl, but I think this bowl is trying to symbolize that no matter where you are on the table, the lines will lead you to the candied salmon (please I am kidding about the symbolism…I am not THAT pretentious). The fact that they are candied gives them a kind of hard texture on the outside but when you bite in, the salmon is very soft. The sauce can be overpowering but do not fret, it does not penetrate the whole salmon so the taste dilutes in your mouth.
This is something we ordered in our second round when we looked around and realized how beautiful this pile was and wondered to ourselves how could we have missed this. This is another must at this place. Just looking at the picture has me zoning out and probably typing nonsense because I’m just infatuated with it. It’s got enough bite to it (as in it won’t just break apart in your mouth), but also it’s very tender so that you’re not chewing on it like a dog with his dog toy.
This is another dish that I would get if I were alone. I’m not that big of a fan of sashimi that is not salmon, so the fact that this bowl is solely salmon is a plus for me. Again, this dish has a great mix of flavours but if you compare it to the tuna salmon bowl at Kazu, there has never been a chirashi in Montreal that I have found that could match up to it. However if you’re looking for a dish where you can really just taste pure salmon then this might be the bowl for you.
I’m not a connoisseur of Japanese food nor have I ever been to Japan (…next stop Japan anyone?), and the fact that this place is not even owned by Japanese people makes me doubt the true authenticity of the dishes. However, from my basic understanding of food (aka just plain eating) this place does a really good job in mixing various flavours and various textures in dishes that just work. If you’re ever tired of the same food at any other izakaya this is a great place to check out, as the food gives off a more homey feel to it, rather than a gourmet/exotic/not-sure-what-I’m-eating feel. I would definitely come back again, especially since it’s located right off of Ste-Catherine. Shopping + food combo anyone? -silence- …I see.