It's the lunch service, however, that grabs my attention and is one of my favorites in Montreal. Prices aren't cheap, but the quality is high, and the food not only tastes great, but is good for you, too.
At lunchtime, Park attracts a local crowd of business people and friends meeting up. The ambiance is casual. No white tablecloths here. The room has an open, slightly industrial feel to it. The wooden tables and bar spaces accommodate a good number of people given the relatively small size of the room. The menu is written on giant chalkboards on the walls.
The rush here is later than it is at many places, usually peaking around 1 p.m. Reserve a table or come early to ensure that seats are available.
The lunch menu is short and sweet. Starters are priced between $6 and $15 and include miso soup, green salad, Asian salad (thinly shredded vegetables that are lightly dressed), and sashimi. These are complemented by main course choices that are priced between $13 and $21 and include the following:
- Bibimbap - A Korean dish of multi-grain rice, vegetables, poached egg, and a choice of tofu or (for a supplement) organic chicken or salmon, all served in a blazing hot bowl with a side of spicy chili sauce
- Yam noodles - Noodles, vegetables, sesame, and an option of upgrading with organic chicken or salmon
- Beef teriyaki don - Sliced beef over vegetables and rice with teriyaki sauce
- Freestyle bento box - A bento box filled with the chef's choice of fare
- Park lunch - Park's lunchtime sushi platter
I have tried several of these and thoroughly enjoyed every one. Interesting, high-grade ingredients result in good food, but it's attention to detail at Park that puts it over the top.
My favorite lunch item is probably the bibimbap. At $13, it also happens to be the least expensive. The base of bibimbap is often plain rice, but Park uses a more sophisticated mix of brown rice, wild rice, and quinoa, and it's topped with perfectly cut vegetables and a perfectly cooked egg. The tofu version is excellent, but the $5 up charge for organic salmon is worth it. Either way, the bibimbap makes for an extremely satisfying and delicious meal, especially on a cold winter's day.
During the warm summer weather I enjoy the Park lunch, with its pristine and beautifully presented nigiri and maki sushi. If you are searching for the perfect sushi lunch, this might be it.
On my last visit I tried the freestyle bento box, which came with a taste of Park's Asian salad, 4 pieces of maki sushi, seaweed salad, and teriyaki chicken on a bed of noodles and vegetables.
The grilled chicken was easily the best I've had in a long time. It was incredibly moist, flavorful, and delicious. The accompanying salads and sushi were also awesome.
Moderate portion sizes and fresh ingredients that tend not to be on the rich side mean that the food is of a lighter nature. While the main dishes are preceded by miso soup, if you are a heavy eater you might consider adding on a salad and/or dessert (like green tea ice cream topped with berries, nuts, and fresh mint). Regardless of what you choose, you are likely to love it.
This is the kind of food that your taste buds and your tummy will enjoy. Park serves up delectable, healthy, fresh food that is attractively presented. Every time I visit, I can't wait to go back for more.
378 Victoria Ave.
Parking: Street. Free indoor parking available evenings by advance arrangement.
Price: Allow $20 - $35 per person, including tax and tip, for lunch.
Dress: Casual or business casual.
Highlights: Delicious and healthy food. Terrific bibimbap. Well balanced bento boxes.