Tri Express and I go way back. It was first introduced to me about 5 years ago. At the time it was still a bit low key and I felt cool because I knew about this little spot where the former chef at Kaizen (i.e. Tri) was serving up delicious and affordable sushi.
I was immediately hooked on this unique and creative sushi and ate it non stop. Over the years the flame dimmed a bit (I think the quality may have dipped about a year ago) and I started experimenting with other sushi joints. Recently I have been rediscovering Tri Express, largely because my GF has remained a fan. So it seemed like as good a time as any to share my thoughts. A little while ago the GF and I had some takeout.
Tri Express does a lot of takeout. You can eat there too, and I have done so a few times but the dining room is tiny and crowded (some might call it “cozy”). So if you do eat there be prepared for the non stop flow of people coming in to pick up their order. Also, when deciding between takeout and dining there keep in mind that they don’t have a liquor license.
What first drew me to Tri Express were the creative maki rolls they serve up (e.g. there’s no California roll on the menu). One of my favourites is the “favori de Tri”, a tuna, salmon or lobster maki roll wrapped in clear rice paper and served with a special dipping sauce. This roll is all about the texture for me, the soft chewy rice paper and the melt in your mouth interior is something that I will always associate with Tri Express. Other notable rolls and regulars in my rotation are the Cartier (tuna, salmon, mango, honey and some other good stuff) and the Quebec (chopped shrimp, enoki mushrooms and tempura and some other good stuff).
The “sashimi a la Tri” has probably been the single menu item most responsible for keeping me coming back. The “a la Tri” refers to the crunchy tempura, tobiko and spicy mayo mish mash that is mixed with your fish (or shellfish) of choice and piled high on a rice cracker. This time, as every time, we went with the lobster and the red tuna (maguro). What makes these things so good? It’s simple – tempura is good, spicy mayo is good and tuna/lobster is good, throw it all together and it works.
So what’s the bottom line? If I’m being honest, I find that a lot of the rolls tend to taste quite similar. There’s a certain “Tri” flavour to everything and the degree of similarity varies from visit to visit. But you know what? That flavour is pretty damn good. When I first started eating Tri Express I probably would have given it a 4, if you asked me about a year ago it may have been heading towards a 2. If I look at the overall body of work I’m confident in standing by a 3.
Price: About $8.00 per roll. Prices available on their website.
Rating: 3 – It’s good, man.
Tri Express – 1650 Laurier Est (corner Marquette) – 514.528.5641