My girlfriends and I had been hearing a lot of buzz around a Japanese pub called Imadake, so we decided to head there one night instead of going to our usual favourite downtown tavern. I wasn’t totally convinced on going until I saw that they had a Hello Kitty cocktail – creative girly cocktails always capture my attention – sold!

The place was already packed when we arrived so we were happy to have reserved a table. The din in the pub was contagious and we quickly learned what seemed to be getting the crowd going – one of my friends ordered a sake bomb, a shot of sake in a glass of beer – when the waiter brought our drinks to the table (three Hello Kitties and the sake bomb) he put the glass of beer in front of her, placed two chopsticks across the top of the glass and then balanced a shot glass of sake on the two chopsticks. He then chanted four times “When I say sake, you say…” to which we’d reply “Bomb” and after the fourth “Sake/Bomb” cry, he brought his fist down on the table beside the drink and the shot glass fell into the beer creating a splash and an instant party atmosphere at our table.

Since the Hello Kitty cocktail tasted mostly like juice, we decided to try the Tokyotini: Gin + ginger syrup + sake = insta-hit! If that’s what Tokyo tastes like, then I’m going! I believe it also gave me the dexterity and courage I needed to point at a few foreign items on the menu. I ended up with a so-so salad as my entrée (teaches me for just pointing at a picture and not asking questions), but it was the Okonomiyaki (a tip I got from a friend’s Foursquare check-in) that blew me away. Basically a big Japanese pancake/omelette with seafood (you can also get it with pork belly) covered in something similar to Worcestershire sauce but thicker and sweeter, Japanese mayonnaise, aonori (seaweed flakes) and katsuobushi (bonito flakes). I reacted (squealed) instantly to my dish because it looked like it was moving! The bonito flakes (extremely thin slices of dried tuna) were waving at me, I swear. Furling and unfurling from the heat of the pancake, it was freaking me out, but in a good, entertaining way. I’d order it again, mostly for the fun factor.

Btw, it was only the next day that I learned what those freaky flakes were, when Imadake replied to the photo I’d posted on Instagram with the caption “Don’t know what this is, but it’s alive!” They answered, “those are bonito flakes, a thinly sliced dried fish which loves to dance in the heat :-)

Although there wasn’t any human dancing the night we were there, the place was so lively and fun, I can’t wait to go back for more dancing fish, tokyotinis and sake bombs!

Imadake Izakaya
4006 St-Catherine West (and Atwater)
514-931-8833

Find Imadake here:
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