Hoogan et Beaufort (opened to the general public on Tuesday December 22nd 2015) is the latest member of the four major recent restaurant openings in Montreal (Le Mousso, Lili Co and Montreal Plaza). Their Chef, , Marc-Andre Jetté is a well known Chef on the local restaurant scene with stints at restaurants such as Laloux, Newtown, as well as Les 400 coups. According to this article of Index-Design.ca, Chef Jetté and Sommelier William Saulnier are the masterminds behind Hoogan et Beaufort. That article covers some very interesting details about the interior design of the restaurant. I went dining at Hoogan et Beaufort on December 31st and picked their New year’s eve 6 course tasting menu.
The NYE’s tasting menu’s first course consisted of three nibbles:
Oeuf/Oursin/Pain brioché (not pictured) was an exciting take on the classic French oeuf à la coque/mouillettes de pain, the egg of a quality that you do not find easily even on our finest local tables, meaning not of the ordinary sort. Its freshness coupled with the equally well sourced sea urchin made of this Oeuf à la coque a benchmark of its kind. Oeuf à la coque, especially for us French people, is not something we tend to rave about as it’s an item that we have started to sample way back in our tender childhood, but it can dazzle if you take the time to rely on exceptional produce, which was the case in this instance. No flaw neither on the technical front: the boiled egg’s cooking timed to precise soft consistency, the sea urchin mixed to the egg not too quickly, not too late, so that both the sea urchin and the yolk form a perfectly smooth creamy texture (this is, in theory, very easy to get right but at many restaurants, the upscale ones included, mixing sea urchin and egg yolk is rarely as flawless as what I was having on this evening) . In Montreal, I never had a take on the “” oeuf à la coque/mouillettes de pain “” executed this well, tasting this great. 10/10
Then pétoncles princesse / pamplemousse / poivre rose – Scallops (pétoncles princesse – a well praised type of scallops), served raw, with pink peppercorn and grapefruit . It is clear that there is an obsession for quality produce under this roof as pink peppercorn is rarely found in our local restaurants. More importantly, the pink peppercorn went really well with both the scallops and grapefruit. 8/10
The last item of the series of nibbles was Mousse de foie de volaille / orange sanguine / craquelin maison. A first-rate chicken liver mousse (exquisite taste). 9/10
The second course was Crevette sauvage/panais/citron/bottarga/oseille – Wild shrimps came in the form of a soup, topped with an espuma (foam) of clam. The blend of soup/velouté and culinary foam oftently fails to be exciting, but that was not the case here as the fresh maritime flavor of this dish was remarkable. It takes a good palate to deliver exciting flavors of this sort. 8/10
Third course: Ravioli au homard/topinambour/chanterelle/rabiole/vadouvan – Homemade lobster ravioli (the seafood particularly well sourced) came with a perfected bisque showcasing a high standard of culinary skills (a bisque with superb texture and depth of flavor, pasta executed with a high level of refinement, the use of the vadouvan blend of spices adding punch/surprise effect to a dish that was already hard to improve upon). A benchmark dish. 10/10
Magret de canard de la ferme Canardière/salsifi/trompettes des morts/baie de genièvre – A benchmark purée of salsifi, a purée of black truffles that is also a standard bearer of its kind, and a duck magret with an intensity of meaty flavor that is not of the ordinary sort. An excellent duck magret. 9/10
Fifth course: Renversé à l’ananas, gateau à l’amande, chantilly à la fève tonka – The pineapple was cooked on their fire pit, the almond cake and chantilly properly executed. This was simple, indeed, but really well done. As with everything served all along this meal, the textures are vibrant (as an example, the almond cake is a simple cake, true, but where many almond cakes are ” tired loking”, here it looked freshly baked and had that same effect on the palate, etc ). 8/10
Sixth course: Chocolat Caraïbe / grué / thé pu-erh, glace à la vanille grillée . As mentioned earlier on, the sourcing here is top class, so that kept shining through the entire meal with, in this case, prime chocolate (in the form of a ganache), vanilla imported from Madagascar (rarely found in Montreal) that they grilled on the fire pit and made a perfectly well made ice cream out of it, some well made thé pu-erh meringue. 8/10
Pros: Skilfull kitchen brigade, cooking exciting French food, with an obsession for great produce.
My overall verdict: 9/10 As ever, at restaurants, there are times you rave because the kitchen’s performance forces you to do so (the case of my meal at Le Mousso), and cases like this meal at Hoogan & Beaufort where the perf is top and your heart is happy. I was curious to see how Chef Jetté would do without his long time partner Patrice Demers, now that Chef Demers has his own Pastry shop (which I reviewed here, aready ), but I did not have to worry about that as this meal, by all accounts (the superb food, excellent service, great wine pairings, tasteful interior, first-rate overall dining experience), gave me no other choice but to consider Hoogan & Beaufort in my top tier of Montreal restaurants (The other two members of that top tier are La Chronique and Le Serpent). Hoogan et Beaufort, Type of cuisine: Contemporary French, Addr: 4095 Rue Molson, Montréal, Phone: (514) 903-1233, URL: http://hooganetbeaufort.com/
What I think days later: My coup de coeur of 2015!