Sea Monstr Sushi

 I found myself on Friday making a trip to Sea Monstr Sushi to “destroy my hunger” and find some new fodder for this blog.

Sea Monstr Sushi (photo by a.baye)

 First Glance

(photo credit: Daniel L)

If you can judge a restaurant by the quantity of people dining and milling around for take-out, I figured I had chosen a good lunch destination. It was hopping and me and my dining cohort had to wait for a seat at the bar. But it gave us a good chance to look around. A small room–holding about 12 at the bar and roughly the same at table tops in the back–with very sparse decor. Granted, Japanese style errs on the side of minimalism, but somehow the space felt unfinished and slightly stale. The wall opposite the sushi bar–white and bare–screamed for attention. If it were up to me,  I would put an oversized funky adaptation of their logo in graffiti or some mural done in yakuza tattoo style, at the very least some pictures.

 



But there is one thing that works here, and that is the use of texture.

 Texture

Scales on the bar at Sea Monstr (photo by a.baye)

The element of texture provides another dimension to the room and Sea Monstr Sushi has done that very well. The combination of the unfinished brick wall and the stainless steel sushi bar gives the room a bold and modern look. But what I loved is the actual texture of the bar itself. Sadly when the bar is filled with patrons there is little hope in seeing it, but peeking underneath, you will be delighted. Yes, those do look like scales right off the back of a sea monster and they continue down the entire length of the bar.

ebi sunomono

Texture also came into the presentation of the food–a colourful ebi sunomono was served in a white rough clay bowl–a harmonious balance with texture and hues. 

In traditional Japanese cuisine, it is said you eat with your eyes first so the visual presentation of your meal is never by happenstance. You know you will get this at your upscale places, but for this little joint, I was pleasantly surprised that they have the presentation zen. 

Food
Sea Monstr isn’t the cheapest sushi option in the city nor is it the coziest locale, but the Negitoro Maki (chopped tuna belly and green onion roll) is six slices of heaven for only $3.50. All in all not a bad deal and the best part, it isn’t served with a side of fake plastic grass. The tea was warm, the service not as quick as you want for a week-day work lunch, but hey, presentation takes time and you just don’t go for the tea.

 NOTE: Just got word 2 days after this post was published that Sea Monstr Sushi launches a new menu built for extra short lunch breaks on Monday, November 29.

Final Thoughts
Where is the “E” in Monstr? (I was told “it was just done that way,” but my question is why?)

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