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Sushi Poutine: Restaurant Greene

Posted by Stefan / May 29, 2008

would you like fries with that.jpgFish and chips.

When I first ate at a grungy diner under the alleged proprietorship of the former top ranking female member of the Bulgarian Communist Party some years back, it couldn’t have dawned on me that I’d one day be downing salmon maki alongside my gravy soaked hamburger steak. Whether it was indecisiveness or a strong sense of the macabre which compelled the new owners to splice sashimi into their acquisition’s formerly modest oeuvre, the marriage no one saw coming is no less puzzling now that it has been consummated. More giddy than hungry, I accept three separate menus and begin to wonder how this all came to be.

chairs are for fools everybody wants stools.jpgI guess this is where Tom Waits would go if he were a yoga instructor.

Staggering sensory inconsistencies dominate our dinning experience. The artful maki arrives on a tasteful plate, while carbonated beverages are served in paper Coca-Cola cups. I see blue pleather stools next to an outdated jukebox, but I smell intricate fried rice. I hear the cooks speaking Japanese and yet I’m dripping Tabasco sauce on my greasy fries. Upon inquiring into the ingredients of the presumably vegetarian vegetable sandwich, I am alerted to “chicken, lettuce, and bacon” as its distinguishing features. Half expecting Colonel Sanders to emerge in a kimono, I punctuate the rather tasty salmon roll with dollops of onion gravy.

mmmmmm burger.jpgI can all but guarantee that health concerns were not behind the exclusion of a bun from this meal.

It would be a joyful thing to report that the food’s quality here matches the novelty of being able to order such disparate pairings as steamed hot dogs and Szechwan chicken, or poutine and white tuna sushi. Unfortunately, it mostly ranges from pretty good to passable’s barren hinterland, with the diner-side playing Garfunkel to the Japanese side’s Simon.

sashimi and fries.jpgNot pictured: Mac guy and PC guy.

While the rolls aren’t bad, the sashimi is undersized. In fairness, I perhaps had unrealistic expectations of my hamburger steak. Meat drenched in gravy is seldom more than the sum of its parts, after all. But the fries are soggy and the vegetables are cold – two easily avoidable foibles which detract from diner side of things. Perhaps it is this disappointment which makes the Japanese portion seem refreshingly good. It would appear that the bias rap-metal instilled (and neither the spork nor Priuses have thus far been able to reverse) in humanity against hybrids is yet to be overcome.

pickled sushi.jpgReasonable accommodation.

Whatever shortcomings are present in Restaurant Greene’s culinary offerings, the volume at which they scream “St. Henri ain’t what it was” deserves mention. I certainly can’t think of another place which unflinchingly serves Japanese, Chinese, and Thai food under the same roof as a $3.75 poutine. And while I likely won’t order their fries again, I don’t want this place to stop flouting convention anytime soon. As an experiment in micro-gentrification, I want to believe that unlikely pairs can not only peacefully coexist, but do good business together as well. At the very least, I'd like to once again dip some raw fish in a puddle of gravy.

green street level.jpgLivin' the Greene.

Restaurant Greene
3400 Notre-Dame W
(514) 989-7050

Photos by Chase Moser and Mike Lockner.



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