Moxies is a chain of  bar and grill . As much as I am partial to artisan Chef cooking (that personal touch of the cook cooking his own food will always remain the standard to beat in my opinion), as much as I have no problem at all with chains of restaurants. As long as it tastes fine to my palate, a chain restaurant will please me. Moxies food was quite tasty  (I ordered their  peppercorn sirloin with  peppercorn brandy butter sauce – the brandy butter sauce superbly executed —rich as it should but judiciously seasoned—, the sirloin cooked at requested doneness, which was medium rare in this instance. My dining companion went on with a faultless pizza — Rustic italian pizza |  grana padano, pulled short rib, caramelized  onions, prosciutto & pancetta– , as tasty as they come).

PROS: By Montreal standards, in the context of a chain restaurant, I think that Moxies offers a fautless bar and grill experience.

CONS: Sirloin steaks have rarely dazzled, for my taste. And it is their reigning steak.

Bottom like: 7/10 (Category: Grill and bar in Montreal) I liked Moxies as it succeeds where many failed- the ” cool-place-to-chill  with friends while munching on some tasty bites and good drinks” scene is prosperous in town, but few manage to offer both Moxies relax ambience as well as something that can appeal to the palate. My dining companion suggested that the  peppercorn sirloin is an overpriced and overrated affair and indeed,  steaks can easily fall in the category of the most overrated food items. But based on that delicious Pizza my dining companion was having, I trust that Moxies is one place that perfectly understands what appeals to nowadays palates (aging the meat of their steaks, adding “punch” to their pizza, etc) – enjoyable  festive   bites by chain restaurant standards. In the  category “Grill and bar” , Moxies clearly pertains to the top 3 in Montreal (NOT to br confused with my top 3 restaurants in Montreal) . Moxies   1207, boulevard Robert-Bourassa, Montréal, QC Phone:(514) 393-1207

Poutine BalthazarIn the city of Laval, a poutine attracts its share of raves. It is the poutine Balthazar. Home made french fries, swiss cheese, pepper sauce and pulled duck confit. All fine enough -the cheese tasting fresh, the not too peppery pepper sauce an interesting alternative to the classic poutine sauce, pulled duck confit always a popular choice –,  though not really a poutine that I  would rave about (the pulled duck fine rather than dazzling, same could be said about the french fries – In such condition, I prefer a  classic poutine). A 6/10, above average, in my (subjective) assessment, but I was not as impressed as many have been reporting about. Newer generations  of foodies or people bored with classic poutine may like this better, perhaps. But Balthazar is a classy place, the service charming and I will go back for more of their great beers as well as the other food items that I haven’t had a chance to sample. Le Balthazar 195, promenade du Centropolis Laval,Québec H7T 0B3 (450) 682-2007 http://lebalthazar.com/

05Ichigo Ichie Izakaya – I went twice at Ichigo Ichie. The first time, I ordered marinated tuna served with yuzu sauce (the picture above), the bowl of ramen that was a hit the last time I had it, as well as some skewers (chicken gizzards, pork belly, shishito peppers ). The bowl was not as impressive as on my first visit (noodles cooked longer than what i came to be accustomed to, the egg not runny, so cooked too long), and the marinaded tuna left me indifferent (here, the tuna needs to be   stellar   to leave an impression but on that evening, it did not, for me) . On my 2nd visit, I remembered that at an isakaya, the items of the day and recs of the staff is what I should look for, and I did just that. So, I sat at the bar and asked the bartender what were his top  picks and his (a first rate piece of beef tataki nigiri / some mochi with a twist (mixed with beacon) – thoughtful take on the theme of the mochi and one that was  well made) were some of the best isakaya food  items I had in this city.  My verdict: 8/10 by our local Isakaya standards.  Many isakayas have opened in town, and this one pertains to the leading pack. Just ensure that you ask the staff for their suggestions. Ichigo Ichie  360 Rachel Est, Montreal, QC Phone:(514) 282-0009

La Caye is a Haitian restaurant situated in the heart of downtown Brooklyn.

LA CAYE 02My starter was a faultless acra, freshly fried,the texture nicely crunchy (not dry as it is oftently the case elsewhere) on the outside, superbly soft on the inside (oftently mushy at most tropical eateries), the taste genuine (exactly as a talented Haitian Mammie-cook would cook it, but here the texture  is more refined than rustic) and  great. 8/10

LA CAYE 03My dining companion went on with a  lambi  (stewed conch) – the seafood  of superb quality, cooked to a perfect chewy texture, the sauce well made. Again and again, talented Haitian Mammie cooking quality, with refined presentation.   8/10

LA CAYE 04Faultless is also how I  would describe my red snapper, broiled to perfect moist consistency on the inside, the skin lightly crisp as it should, the seasoning well judged. Hard to improve upon that one. 9/10

Rounded off the meal with an excellent  Pen Patat/Pain Patate (sweet potato bread), the potato flavor particularly  exquisite 9/10 as well as a pineapple upside down cake which was technically  baked properly and tasted fine, but I had pineapple upside down cakes which pineapple flavor was more expressive than this one.

Pros: A first-rate Haitian restaurant

Cons: No Rhum at a Haitian restaurant (there was none on the evening of my visit)?

Overall: 8/10 (Categ: Finest Haitian restaurant in North America) Many restaurants cooking caribbean food  suffer from occasional issues such as rice not moist enough because it was not cooked to order, fried bananas bathed too long in oil, overcooked seafood, etc. In a nutshell, issues due to a problem of time management. And yet, you get used to it. But during this meal, not one single item could be faulted on the aspect of the timing (cooking of the fish? timed right. The plantain bananas. same thing. the lambi, same thing, etc). For someone like me who expects a certain degree of mastery (mastery of the timing of the cooking in this example) at a restaurant, the level  of  perfection found on this evening had to eventually  jump to my attention. I liked La Caye (a small but tastefully decorated interior, bathed in dark wood, good service) as it offers  refined food that is  genuinely Haitian. But it  can be  pricey  ( fresh quality ingredients, which is what they use — especially seafood — is never going to be cheap, obviously  ). La Caye, Addr: 35 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217, United States Phone:+1 718-858-4160  http://www.lacayebk.com/#!menu/c24tf

What I think weeks later: Sometimes people ask me if it is possible to have an accurate opinion of some food if you are not from the country of the food you are assessing. You do not need to be from  the country of the food you are talking about. I do not need to be Haitian to understand genuine Haitian flavors.  You can be Haitian and have no real interest in Haitian food. The key, if you can’t afford travelling, is to reach out to a Haitian friend’s Mom and ask her to  cook some Haitian food for you and teach you how genuine Haitian food should taste, smell  and feel like. Ask the same thing to 2,3 other Haitian Moms and next time you will know what you are talking about, lol.  That said, in North America, most Haitian eateries  do usually reproduce the flavors of the homeland effortlessly —- that is widely confirmed by Haitians of all generations, eventhough  you can always be  surprised, at times,  by some few laughable attempts at Haitian cooking  (especially here in Montreal) — and La Caye is no exception, though,  for now, it stands as  the best Haitian restaurant that I know in North America.

***Hoogan & Beaufort was my coup de coeur of 2015. Impressed with my first visit, I dropped by 3 months later.

02Malpeque oysters from Prince Edward Islands topped with a delicious apple cider sabayon, and a bit of apples. In Montreal, the only restaurant that impressed me with a better sabayon was La Porte (now closed). You would think that a sabayon is not a big deal,  but not many local restaurants do deliver sabayons of superb quality. This was one of good standard. The apple brunoise not in big quantity at all (a mistake I sometimes stumble upon at many restaurants, a recent example was the ceviche at Boulud) which was well judged as it allowed  the meaty flesh of the oyster and its sabayon to steal the show as it is supposed to be. Easy to do, in theory, but, alas, many tables fail to deliver it this well. 8/10

01Couteau de mer / carotte blanche / concombre / oignons sauvages – Razor clam (extremely thin slices), white carrots (as a cream – or  “soup”, as my waiter did introduce it to me) , cucumber and onions – Oftently, at most restaurants, a dish of more than two ingredients is about the two ingredients, then the rest is meaningless (just for the “show”), meaning that the full collection of ingredients do rarely complement each other. But here, razor clams, white carrots, cucumber, onions…they all, individually as well as a whole, were significant. Certainly not a dish for the flinstones, rather  a “gourmet” dish  which  utter  refined work of the colors and the shapes  revealed a remarkable understanding of ingredient combinations that work superbly well. 9/10

03Tataki de cerf de boileau/Oignon vert grille / armillaire de miel / Cresson / Raifort /Tournesol – I have always defined great cooking as the ability of  juxtaposing layers of varied flavors and ingredients  without diminishing the enjoyment of the taste of the food. This item was about that and much more: a first rate tataki of venison was enhanced by honey and raifort accents, its puree of sunflower adding surprise effect (as it is no common puree), water cress, honey, onions kept lifting the flavor profile of this benchmark venison tataki. There will never be a shortage of fine tataki in Montreal, but I have to  “”” fly back  “”””  almost 10 years in time  to find another souvenir of what a stellar tataki could smell, taste and feels like at a restaurant in Montreal. 10/10

04Agneau/Sucrine/Bagna Cauda/Olive verte/Noix de cajou –  Morsels of quality lamb, some grilled, others worked as an effiloche (pulled lamb). Succulent,  technically flawless and marked by the usual finesse that is proper to this kitchen brigade.  9/10

Overall: 10/10 (Categ: Top Tier in Montreal) Ingredients of such quality have a price tag, they are not cheap. So it goes without saying that you should  not go there  expecting the huge portions that your favourite pet, Roman Hulkov, the Russian bear, feeds on. It is the universal reality of contemporary restaurants: forget the huge portions! That said, the portions are not exaggeratedly  meager neither: the tataki was of perfectly fair portion. The lamb, too. At  then end of the day,  they are cooking first rate food, they are charging prices that are reasonable in light of the quality of the cooking that is offered  and “first rate” is also how I would describe the overall experience at this restaurant. Hoogan & Beaufort did it again.

 

 

KINOYA***Kinoya was fine by the standards of our local isakayas – As explained elsewhere on this blog, I keep my assessment of a restaurant ..local. Meaning, that I do not think about Japan when I assess a Japanese inspired restaurant that is not in Japan. With that in mind, Kinoya did  surprisingly well on my sole visit there. There is no shortage of isakayas in Montreal nowadays but the big majority of them are not capable of pulling off tokoyaki  (8/10) as well as tuna tataki  (8/10) of the quality that I ate under this roof (superb work of  the texture and the taste in both cases). Even the edamame impressed…yes, the edamame! How come ..you might ask?? as this does not involve anything special  (just buying the edamame).  Well, obviously, some isakayas can’t even get the sourcing of their edamame right and they are not serving us   fresh edamames. But that is not an issue, here at Kinoya as the edamame is first-rate, tasting fresh, boiled  to order. My only quip was with the salmon  tartare. This is my 3rd time trying this in an isakaya in Montreal and it is the last time too! When I was in Japan, I did not play attention at this item while eating at Isakayas there, I am not even sure if they do serve that tartare in Japan the way they do it here in Montreal, but its taste  in our local Isakayas is definitely NOT my cup of tea (I love wasabi, but perhaps mixing it with honey — which is how they flavor that tuna tartare — is a taste that I simply cannot fall in love with). Apart the tuna tartare, there is just the decor that I did  not like, on that evening: way too busy looking for my taste, a bit too “North American isakaya”  -looking for me.  I liked Kinoya and I would be curious to try  their ramen and see if they make me change my unflattering opinion of  ramen at the local isakayas.

STK01***At Vieux Port steakhouse, I had goat cheese on a bed of baby green salad mesclun (the goat cheese a bit tough texture wise)  4/10 in my personal imperfect subjective assessment,  char-grilled filet mignon (which char-grill flavor was missing in action, the meat’s temperate lukewarm for my taste…meat needs to rest upon grilling, indeed, but this arrived lukewarm at the table on  this particular meal) 4/10,  and some pasta (fazoletti, stuffed with ricotta and spinach, which I would describe as being nondescript — meaning just   of the normal/standard/common/undistinctive type of pasta dishes found at most eateries in town) 6/10. Excellent service, cosy  stone wall interior  but for the food served on that particular evening, one needs to  expect more:  my  char-grilled meat should come with CHAR-GRILL FLAVOR. I am not asking for the moon, here. Just the basics and that was not fulfilled during this meal. This was a meal served to a large group of patrons, so perhaps things are usually better than what I was having. But I can talk only about what I know, and of that specific meal all I would have as a message to the kitchen brigade is this: Unleash some madness, folks!

 

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In 2015, 3 major restaurants opened in Montreal: Le Mousso, Hoogan & Beaufort as well as Montreal Plaza.

Montreal Plaza marks the return of local star Chef Charles-Antoine Crête who used to work at Toque!, Brasserie T!, as  well as Majestique. I do not know Charles-Antoine in person, but I once ate at Toque!, several years ago, and he was at the helm. From what I recall, his mastery of French classics stood out at that time. Then, I went to Bistrot T! in its first days and he was in charge of the cooking there, and again, his classical French cooking skills allowed for some well made  French bistrot fares.

I was there on February 12th 2016, in the evening, and have sampled the following dishes:

Montreal Plaza 01Salade de concombre mariné – Marinated cucumber salad (mixed with  algae)   expressed fresh acidity, the seasoning   judicious. As expected from  a kitchen brigade of this quality, the produce is well sourced, the notion of timing well mastered (we are a world away from the incompetent kitchen brigades that are seasoning their food way too long before serving it,   or marinating their vegetables  to the point of making it inedible). It is admittedly hard to get excited about a cucumber salad but this was  competently  executed.   7/10

Montreal Plaza 02Then a tartare of  artic char and rice crips – the tartare as fresh and tasty as it gets at a restaurant in town, the rice crisps tiny enough so that the star item remains the tartare itself. Oftently,  kitchen brigades do mistakenly mix tartares with sizeable rice crisps which diminish the appreciation of the tartare. A mistake that is avoided here. Very good 8/10

Montreal Plaza 03Sundae de Hamachi, crème d’oursin (Sea urchin cream / Hamachi) – The cream showcasing how confident with classic French cooking the brigade is as it was a flawless classic French rendition of a cream. Slices of superbly fresh hamachi could be found underneath the cream. All good (the taste, the textures), but sea urchin flavor  is tricky to impart in a cream, oftently hard to discern,  as proven by this item. In an instance like this one, just do a cream and leave the sea urchin atop. 7/10

 

Montreal Plaza 04Whelk gratiné / miso butter – whelk,   chopped carrots/celery/daikon atop.  The carrots seemed pickled and you also had a piece of milk bread as well as a some lime on the side. As it is the case with all the other dishes that I have tried on that evening, the execution is without reproach (the taste,  tenderness and freshness of that whelk were worthy of mention), but this dish did not do it for me as I found the intense acidity of the overall dish a bit overwhelming for my taste. Still, there is nothing faulty here, just a clash with my personal taste (I am not a fan of bold  sour flavors  in general). 7/10

 

Montreal Plaza 05Brochette de bavette/Daikon – The  high quality of that meat was a testament to the  serious sourcing found under this roof, the meat  flavorful and its consistency perfectly tender. Potatoes shaped like noodles as well as haskap were served atop the brochette.  8/10

Montreal Plaza 06Polenta/saucisse maison/mozzarella cheese/melon – The Polenta had proper creamy  texture, the corn flavor shining through as it should. They did  add melon, a piece of mozzarella cheese and homemade sausage, all add-ons that made  perfect sense on the palate. 7/10

PROS: The ingredient sourcing is great ,  the service superb.

CONS: Is milk bread what you really want to pair  with that dish of whelk gratiné? My palate did not think so….

My personal  overall rating for the food of this specific meal: 7/10. (Categ: North American, French, Cosmopolitan cuisine in Montreal)   During this specific meal, there was no highlight (no particular work of flavor/textures or combination of ingredients   that appeared, to me, as going above and beyond the standard of what is currently offered on our  local finest restaurant tables as it was the case with  my recent meals  at Le Mousso and Hoogan & Beaufort),  but the cooking is certainly competent.

***Joel Robuchon, unleashes a restaurant in Montreal – In 1989, Gault Millau, once a major competitor of  the Michelin guide,  did not hesitate to name Joel Robuchon their “Chef of the century”. Since then, the legendary Chef has opened plenty of michelin starred restaurants around the globe and this year, Chef Robuchon will add Montreal to  “his map” as it was first  announced by the Journal de Montreal in April 2015 (the article can be found here). The restaurant will be located in the  Montreal casino . It will be an “Atelier Robuchon” (Think  of  gourmet French/Cosmopolitan food  served to you in a  tapas-bar inspired  contemporary chic dining room, in  black and red tones,   where you can sit at a square counter and  interact with the kitchen brigade. In general, at an Atelier Robuchon, you have table seating too )  and  it is expected to open this fall.  For those familiar with the reality  of the local  restaurant  scene, the idea of opening  an “Atelier” Robuchon instead of  a  formal Robuchon fine dining venture is certainly a no-brainer. But time has come for much  more than just “ideas that make sense”  as this is  the 3rd attempt of a  Michelin starred Chef in Montreal after Gordon Ramsay and Daniel Boulud (Gordon’s adventure lasting not long and Daniel, which currently opened downtown restaurant, although  fine and popular,  never managed to overwhelm its local competition).  Atelier de Joel Robuchon,  Addr: 1 Avenue du Casino, Montréal

 

WOLFGANG1***Wolfgang steakhouse Park Avenue (New York) –  I dropped by Manhattan which is situated couple of hours drive away from Montreal and ate at Wolfgang steakhouse Park Ave which owner (Wolfgang Zwiener) was a waiter at Peter Luger for four decades. If,like me, you are both a huge fan of North American style steakhouses as well as Arts, then this place combines both attractions  under one roof as the artfully decorated ceiling is worthy of attention. On to the point, I could not order their star item, the Porterhouse for two , because my dining companion insisted on ordering her sirloin, which I did not taste, thus cannot opine on, but she certainly was not unhappy about it.

WOLFGANG2I ordered the Bone-in rib eye steak  which, although not the best I had in North America, was at least not far neither from the (rare) better  ones, the 28 days ++  dry aged USDA prime cut packed with enticing robust taste sensation, featuring a well judged char  (charred enoughly long for a proper crusty exterior while leaving the inside perfectly buttery tender and juicy), the steak cooked  to the exact measure of doneness requested (medium rare). I also  had some excellent blue point oysters from Long Island, big, plump and tasting marvellously of the sea. The sides are also well prepared here: broccoli was timely sauteed with chips of garlic, the french fries packed with fresh  potato flavor and boasting attractive texture, with only the mushrooms failing to be enjoyable because they were  way too salty.  My verdict (Benchmark>Great>Good>Above average>Average): Great (8/10 Categ: World Class North American Steakhouse) NY is a mecca for good steakhouses, so the fierce competition is obviously forcing  the chophouses to step up their game  and the diners to be particularly picky. But at the end of the day, at such  level of perfecting the steak, it boils down to personal tastes:  I like and I am perfectly able to appreciate the nuances of the “feel” of dry aged over wet aged meat, and this rib eye  steak met my expectations. I tend to perceive meat that is dry aged in between 35 to 40 days  to provide the mouthfeel I want, and the taste of that steak  had an effect on the palate that got  close to what I wanted  (perhaps short of  3,4 extra days of wet aging, for my taste, but I am nitpicking here).  There are perhaps two or three  exceptional North American artisan butchers as well as steakhouses that  did surprise me with rib  steaks that were a  tad superior to this one I was having at Wolfgang Steakhouse, but  WS  is a genuinely great North American chophouse.  That said, it is pricey and at those prices, I wished the service could be more consistent: it was not bad, actually really great in the beginning (not overbearing, very courteous) , but as soon as it got busy,  both my dining companion and myself  virtually stopped existing (our  glasses of water were  left empty for 45 mins…I can understand that you want us to  enjoy our meal and not be bothered by the  constant presence of the wait staff…but 45 minutes and not realizing that the glasses of water are empty…well, I can see no excuse for that) – Wolfgang steakhouse Park Avenue , Addr: 4 Park Ave, New York, NY 10016,  Phone:+1 212-889-3369

 

01***The best Hakata style Tonkontsu  ramen in Montreal is at Yokato Yokabai – Usually  I am not a big fan  of Hakata style Tonkontsu  ramen (just google it if you want to learn about the different types of ramen)  which is what they do offer at Yokato Yokabai, but this bowl I was having was the  Hakata style ramen by which I will judge all other Hakata style ramen in Montreal. Fautless texture, great depth of flavor, and well conceived toppings.  My verdict (Benchmark>Great>Good>Above average>Average): Benchmark (10/10) Hakata style Tonkontsu  ramen by Montreal standards, but even in Tokyo (yeah, I know, Hakata style ramen is not from Tokyo, still …Tokyo is a major world foodie hub offering  ramens from all parts of Japan) it would   be considered as a good bowl (though, …. a bit too small in terms of the portion – that is actually my only quip about that bowl). I just hope they do not change their current recipe as oftently seen at other ramenyas which started on the right foot (genuine bold flavors,  broth with depth) but turned into average ramenyas after trying too hard to please local palates (with lightly flavored broths).   Yokato Yokabai Addr: 4185 Drolet, Montréal  Phone: 514- 282-9991 UPDATE April 4th 2016: I went back (my review here). The ramen was not as dazzling as on that initial visit, but make no mistake, it remains one of the very best ramen in town.

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:

HB1Oeuf/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

20151231_220740The 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

HB3Third 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

HB4Magret 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

 

HB5Fifth 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

HB6Sixth 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.

Cons: N/A

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!