DesBrisay Dines

WEEKLY LUNCH PICK Sushi Umi’s new Izakaya menu includes stellar octopus dumplings and strangely appealing sushi nachos

Takoyaki, a popular Japanese street food, are rarely found in Ottawa.

While cities including Toronto and Montreal are in the throws of full-blown izakaya infatuation, Ottawa is still waiting for a true Japanese tapas tavern of its own. Many of us had hoped that the Elgin Street restaurant/bar that calls itself Izakaya would be it, but a menu filled with such peculiarities as fried brie and udon carbonara suggest that it  offers another, less obvious, concept altogether.

Recognizing the unfulfilled appetite for the trendy Japanese cultural tradition, the folks behind the downtown institution that now goes by C’est Japon a Suisha offered a one-night-only Izakaya menu last spring. In spite of drawing in an unprecedented number of customers — apparently more than their busiest day of the year, Valentine’s Day — the izakaya menu has yet to reappear. And so we waited.

Now, Sushi Umi, a casual neighbourhood sushi shop on Wellington Street has added a small izakaya menu to its daily specials.