Sake It To You! at Imadake
I'm going to be honest here. I come to Imadake primarily for the pure primal joy of being able to let out a guttural shout in public, pound my fists on a table-top sans judgement, and shoot back a glass in the most natural of motions. I'm speaking of course, of doing a sake bomb.
If you are not familiar, acquaint yourself with one at Imadake, preferably accompanied by a gaggle of your most boisterous comrads. Be ready to be raucous and rowdy- it's LOUD in here. Don't worry, the waitress will coach you through the ritual ("When I say SAKE! You say BOMB!") Your efforts will be summarily judged and one-upped by your fellow patrons at surrounding tables, who will gleefully let out expressions of disapproval should your call-and-answer responses be insufficiently robust and uninhibited. Seemingly against physics, your shot of sake will remain precisely and securely balanced over the chopstick-bedecked lip of your beer glass until exactly the right moment. Repeat as necessary.
Imadake is an izakaya : a casual Japanese house of food and drink that stresses having a cold one accompanied by small communal dishes shared with friends. They won't serve you alcohol without at least one edible item on your bill, so it's best to at least minimally pad your stomach for the ensuing alcohol absorption. There are a range of cold or hot sakes available, as well as unexpected cocktails like the Hello Kitty (appropriately rosey hued and strawberry sweet) or a soju & grapefruit mix where half the fun is in applying some elbow grease and squeezing out your own mixer from the citrus and juicer plunked down in front of you at your table.
Alright yes, we did eat as well. A favorite is the grilled calamari- a large specimen fanned out, proud and purple, with an accompanying dipping sauce, or the delicate slices of wasabi octopus.
Of course, the ramen here isn't just your nuked&ready Cup-O'-Soup variety. You get a choice of miso or original-style broth, savory and delicate. Ours was floating with plump, meaty oyster mushrooms, although those with less vegetarian inclinations can choose the pork belly or beef steak variety. A dish of thin, sweet beef tongue was also fantastic- don't be squeamish, put yourself out there! Discs of mashed potatoes, studded with corn and coated in panko are also an indulgent and fun side.
The only miss was the chicken skins, deep-fried curls resembling chips too salty and greasy for my blood. The waiter was nice enough to leave them off the bill when he saw them untouched. I can maybe imagine them being compulsively irresistible after a few of those massive mugs of beer, but in conjunction with the parade of plates we had consumed, they was a little much.
Desserts include a green tea cheesecake or delicate little mochi balls filled with ice cream in a rainbow of flavours.
Bring a bunch of people, contribute to the noise pollution, go a little nuts. Their website (substituting a jolly green Ville Marie skyline and blimp in lieu of Godzilla-threatened Tokyo) implores you to "Come eat & drink, Yum! Good!" Thanks Imadake, it really is just that simple.
4006 St.Catherine West (near Atwater Metro)
Monday to Friday
LUNCH: Noon - 2:30 pm
DINNER: 5:00pm - 10:30 pm