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400 coups

 

First time back since the chef change. New chef used to be the sous, also wont the Quebec equivalent of top chef, Les Chefs.The new pastry chef, used to work for Demers and then ran the pastry kitchen at some of the other restaurants within the group.

 

Nothing has changed with the room, other than a change in staff. The sommelier has changed but the list is consistent with the one left behind. There are more natural wines. It also isn't quite the difficult reservation it used to be, with a half empty dining room on a Tuesday.

 

I had two apps to start. The first being an onion soup with smoked sturgeon, elderberry and sorrel. The soups was deep in flavour, perfectly seasonned and enhanced with the smoke from the sturgeon, the sweet/tart combo of the elderberries, and the vinegar from the marinated onions. Overall, a well conceived and executed dish. Could easily have found it's way onto previous menus, though not quite as good as the white beet soup. The second app was a boudin blanc with tarragon cream, kohlrabi slaw, marinated honey mushrooms, and powdered dehydrated raspberries. The raspberries surprisingly were a good complement with the spicing and fat of the sausage, giving off acid and tart rather than screaming raspberry. The boudin was sufficiently fatty without being greasy while the tarragon cream was subdued enought to marry with the other flavours. The kohlrabi slaw however, was flat, lacking either vinegar, wine, juniper, or anything to brighten it up. The texture was also suspect, with the kohlrabi shredded too thinly, making it slightly wet and spongy. If the slaw were fixed, this could be a great dish.

 

For the main i too the piglet dish. Two medalions cut from the shoulder with a pig-head croquette, on a bed of celery-root puree, with mushroom, turnip, a cherry chutney, and a myrique baumier sauce. Every element of the dish was well executed and tasty other than the medallions. Cooked sous-vide, the shoulder cuts had some pieces that were tough while others were quite tender. Maybe cooking at a higher temp would have helped break down some of that. Other than that, the flavours were coherent and the plate was well put together.

 

For dessert, I too a chocolate mousse, with cocoa meringue, pistachio and tarragon cream, rhubarb sorbet, bits of chocolate cake and brown butter powder. As with nearly everything else in the meal, the execution was great. The meringue was perfect, the mousse and sorbet had the perfect texture and great depth. While the pairings worked*, the plating style was not conducive to getting the perfect bite. More thought needs to be given to composition in service of eating rather than looking nice.

 

Overall, a good meal, and a pretty good second act for the restaurant. The chef is still very young and it's normal that the level of polish isn't quite to the level of the previous crew. The staff seemed eager for feedback regarding the food, which suggests to me that they are aware of their lack of experience and wish to improve. So not quite up to the previous standard, but could be one to watch.

 

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*This was largely due to the fact that the tarragon was barely perceptible in the cream

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Well, we did it. Have rented an apartment again in Montreal for the first two weeks in July, again in the Plateau.

My two " must go" places are bagels at St V. and Les Trois Petits Bouchons.

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Well, we did it. Have rented an apartment again in Montreal for the first two weeks in July, again in the Plateau.

My two " must go" places are bagels at St V. and Les Trois Petits Bouchons.

 

so, you'll be there during the Jazz Festival

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Joe Beef is the most necessary. Patrice Patissier is a must if he's got any interest in pastry. Also necessary are either or both of Atwater and Jean Talon market. PDC less than the others, but still probably something he should do.

 

Otherwise, Schwartz's (lunch), L'Express (brunch, lunch or dinner), Chasse et Peche (dinner), Olive and Gourmando (lunch), possibly Toque! if he's got an interest in fine dining, Kouign Amann bakery, Chocolates des Chloe, Dieu du Ciel (beer)

 

Patrick will be able to take this further, but this is where I'd start.

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Patrice is good. They also do a dinner service of sorts and a dessert tasting(with plated desserts) thursdays to saturday. If they can't get in to Joe Beef, Liverpool House next door is really good, usually a more local crowd too. Vin Papillon, also next door, great winelist, but not great if he's riding solo since there isn't a bar. If they find out hes a chef they might try to kill him with food at the JB places. Sitting in the garden in the back is really nice in the summer.

 

Maison Publique in the plateau is great, for brunch or dinner. Shitty Canadian wine list, but they seem to have gotten a better beer list. Tiny but putting out some great food, really good ingredient quality. Patisserie Rhubarbe a few blocks away makes some of the best pastry in town. Hotel Herman is a good joint in mile end, small plates, good for a somewhat lighter meal. Also in mile end is Lawrence, great for brunch, though popular. Their dinner service is also very good.

 

L'express is a must, even if its just late night, eating at the bar, getting served by M. Masson. Nora Gray for southern italianish food. Sit at the bar and Ryan will take good care of you. Laloux's newest chef is great but the room and atmosphere, while nice, is maybe a little staid for some. The owner of Van Horne just wrote a manifesto , but the food looks interesting. It comes recommended by others but I haven' t made it around to it.

 

These are some quick ideas. Adrian's suggestions are spot on. As for Schwartz's, I haven't seen any difference in the smoked meat since the takeover, though the staff has gotten younger and nicer. Smoke Meat Petes does great smoked meat, but I don't know if its worth driving 30 minutes from the city centre to taste it, especially for a tourist.

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Tell me more about the new Laloux chef. The menu looks great. I for one love the luxury brasserie room. I hope it still comes off more as classic than staid. This dish looks great:

 

Veal sweetbreads, creamy polenta, Québec fiddlehead and cherry tomato, morel and Vin Jaune sauce

 

I was going to suggest Lawrence for brunch. It's a very well run operation.

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He's been around the scene for a while. Did stages at Pierre Gagnaire and the like.Did the rounds of bistros in Montreal and worked as a sous for the Mercuri brothers at Bronte and XO. First chef de cuisine gig was at second incarnation of La Montée de Lait. His food there suffered from the classic young chef syndrome. Too many flavours and ingredients. Moving to Laloux where they still impose a level of classicism to the food has helped reign him in a little. He'll also throw in some classic french dishes every once in a while.

 

As for the room, last time I was there the room was starting to show its age. It is still a wonderful room, especially when the sun is still shining and coming in through the windows. But the tablecloths seem to invite an older and more demure crowd then some of their neighbors. That said, I love the place.

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