Monday, February 1, 2010

Eat...at Ping's Cafe

I am a big fan of supporting my neighbourhood businesses...lucky for me, I live on Main St! We have walked by Ping's Cafe quite a few times but it always seems so busy that we haven't ventured in. However, wanting to show off some uniquely West Coast cuisine, my husband and I I brought our friend (and recent Montreal transplant) to Ping's.

Ping's Cafe website http://www.pingscafe.ca/ states that the cuisine is Western Influenced Japanese. However, having lived in Japan as a teenager...I might reverse this statement. We tend to think of Japanese food as sushi, ramen and other traditional specialties - but Japan has always put their special mark on western dishes. As a foreigner, it can be a little disorienting to buy mayonnaise and find it tasting sweet...or potato salad that just doesn't quite taste like home. And that is the food that Ping's Cafe does well...to put you in that headspace of ordering familiar foods that manage to not feel familiar!

The restaurant is beautiful and the website states that everything except for the chairs was made by hand...which when I saw their beautiful light fixtures I was pretty amazed by:



Another reason I chose this restaurant is because it is definitely budget friendly...nothing over $18 and most of the small plates $6-8. The gomae (sesame spinach) was super yummy...too yummy! Gomae is always served in a small bowl but you could double the portion and I would be in heaven. We also had to try the potato salad...which was just like I remember in Japan!



I had very yummy panko breaded Tofu Furai (Tofu Fry in Japanisized English...clever!). The tofu inside was firm yet perfectly smooth textured and the mayo dip was super yummy.



As I had two carnivores with me, they approved of the pork gyoza and the bratwurst - served with pickled beets and sauerkraut:


We also had the veggie poutine...a Japanese style veggie curry gravy and paneer. The fries were great and the gravy was tasty - but the paneer was really small (I would have liked more):



For dessert, we tried the black sesame ice cream...having forgone the red bean as it brought back too many memories of "red bean surprises" having lived in Asia. The first bite was very sesame and then after your nose gets used to it, it becomes the richest, most wonderful flavour. Watch out if you are on a date here, the teeth look pretty black as you munch away :)


All in all, I really liked Ping's...we will definitely be back!

In good health,
Desiree


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