This past summer we discovered Ryu, a cutting edge, Asian inspired eatery in Outremont. Last week we were invited back for an off-the-chain menu relaunch that proved the brains and brawn of this restaurant are a worthy contenders in Montreal’s busy restaurant scene. Cocktails, sake and wine got the party off on the right foot as the restaurant quickly filled to capacity with hungry media, friends and foodies curious to try out the new menu. When the food started coming out things got intense as famished Instagramers rushed to the tables to photograph and devour the food. Being the seasoned professionals that we are, we waited with our cocktails until the swarm died down. There was little urgency as tons of food kept coming out of the kitchen, some of it even especially for us (a kind and noted gesture). The food we tried was delicious. Crispy popcorn shrimp (pictured above) fried to perfection, a spicy salmon tartar served with a jellied Szechwan sauce and a fried chicken lettuce wrap were my favorites. Tons of seafood and sushi was served to the masses as well, to rave reviews from around the room. The VIBE that night was young and energetic, exactly the type of crowd Ryu (and every restaurant in the city) wants to gather and feed on a regular basis. Ryu’s menu was good before but the additions have elevated it to great! The new chef knows what it takes to balance things out for people who are looking for a great, next level Asian restaurant that doesn’t stray too far from the Far East; just far enough to make their take on Asian cuisine stand out.