Time for a long break. I shall be gone till November. Leaving you on the following notes:
-My recent restaurant reviews: Restaurant Mercuri, Bar Mercuri, Le Serpent, La Chronique, Jun I, L’Européa, Sushi Yasu, Kyo, Peter Luger, Kam Fung, Firegrill, Patrice Patissier, Raku, Au cinquième péché, Au Pied de Cochon, Callao , Shinji, Mochica, Bottega .
-I tried B1 bar, a new bar on Saint Denis. They are the first to introduce the concept of the frozen beer to Montrealers. It is hard for me to properly assess B1 Bar as I am partial to this type of place: vintage looking, amazing relax service. My waitress, Laurence Godin, being a breeze in a world where fake / commercial looks predominate…she is at the complete opposite end of the silicone-rubber spectrum , which is what I favor the most when it comes to hospitality standards. It was quiet on the evening of my visit, but it’s one of those rare places that genuinely deserve success because everything is so thoughtful and their passion for their work is truely felt. Over a decade ago, Montreal had an amazing bar/ nightclub called Bar St Laurent. To some, it was laidback, too simple,not chic enough but for ppl like me, for whom the essence of a bar is its soul and potential of being festive, BSL was a star. BSL is still opened but it’s not what it used to be(it has nothing to do at all with the old BSL) . It took over a decade for a bar to remind me of BSL and it came in the form of B1 Bar. B1 Bar is new, though, so the ambience is not as dazzling as at the BSL of the old days (1990/1998), but it deserves that same success. Loved B1 bar but I hope the crowd follows.
-I finally tried Tapas 24 Montreal, which is is affiliated with Barcelona’s reknown Tapas restaurant Tapas 24. I was very pleased with both the food and the experience, and if they pursue with the standards I found on the evening of my visit, then Tapas 24 Montreal will easily rank among the few truely great restaurants in Montreal. My review here.
-I recently tried couple of places in Laval, a city North of Montreal: Enotecca Mozza did nothing for me, Pirate de Laval continues to be a decent restaurant by local standards, Le Cosmopolitain remains my preferred breakfast place in Montreal and its surroundings and my once preferred poutine place in Laval (Le Croque) is not what it used to be. You can peruse that report here.
-Went back to my other preferred Isakaya in town, Kazu, after a previous meal that was average. This time Kazu was in top form with the best Japanese-isakaya inspired roasted salmon that I ever enjoyed in a restaurant of Montreal as well as a spectacular soft ice cream tasting of the raw fresh cow milk of my tender childhood. I could have a bone to pick over the fact that their omnipresent secret homemade sauce lessens (a bit, I find) the enjoyment of the food, and the more affordable offerings are generally not what you should come here for, but Kazu continues to deliver the most delicious Isakaya fares of this city.
Couple of places visited this summer: (1)Bier Markt 1221 René-Lévesque Boulevard West (514) 864-7575- I tried their hamburgers as well as silders which I did both rate with a 4/10 as, for my taste,they lacked the deep beefy bold flavor that such basic fares have no choice but to deliver. Furhermore, the meat was overcooked/border dry on both instances. The variety of beer is amazing, indeed, for a beer destination in Montreal but I wish the food could be up to par. The welcoming, at the entrance, could be warmer. (2)Le Hachoir 4177 Rue Saint-Denis, Montréal (514) 903-1331- It’s being a while that I wanted to visit Le Hachoir which name aroused the carnivore in me. Here, I tried their trio of mini burgers which was certainly not bad at all, the quality of the meat really good, but I wish theirs had a beefier kick. The quality of the meat was also the saving grace of a nice fresh meaty tartare that I also enjoyed there, but the seasoning lacked spark. I get their point though: they want the main ingredient to shine through, but in both cases a beefier kick for the trio of mini burgers as well as an exciting seasoning for the tartare, as long as it’s judicious…they would have brought those items a long way. A 5/10 for me, but this place is popular, fun, the service amazing so consider this to be a NO sour 5/10 (you can see that they are capable of better). (3)-Reubens Deli 1116 Ste Catherine continues to impress me. It is the only other restaurant in Montreal, alongside Bottega on St Zotique, that you can rely on, in my view, in terms of consistency.It has been consistently good,for me, year after year. This summer I had my share of sliders in town and theirs simply blew away any other serving of sliders I have enjoyed in town. The beefy flavor as well as superb moist meaty consistency of those sliders were ages ahead of the rest. Their 10 oz “famous super sandwich “continues to be the most refined smoked meat in town. This is not refinement sacrificing flavor, to the contrary it’s technical prouesse in demonstrating that you do not need messy smoked meat to pretend that it is good or authentic, you just need one that’s deliciously meaty, the meat of top quality, the seasoning exciting. Their Montreal-style cheesecake is also one of the few tastier and better executed ones out there,with strawberry of spectacular fresh ripe /wild flavor. Overall, a 9/10 by Delicatessen standards. Reubens Deli’s refinement may hit on the nerves of those who believe that delicatessen should taste,look and be served in rustic settings –which is pure BS as food is well done or it is not, delicious or not…and nothing else— , but ultimately it is one excellent Deli, one of my few preferred Delis anywhere around the globe.
On a non-foodie subject, the habs have signed Pk Subban for 8 years worth $72 million. This is little money for one of the greatest athletes of our decade, an exemplary ambassador of his sport . I think we are lucky, in Quebec, to have such inspiring athletes such as PK, Georges St Pierre and of course, our latest rising star Eugénie Bouchard.