After a highly satisfying visit at Hvor, one that propulsed it in my top 3 in YUL, I went back, curious to see what they had to offer now that autumn is approaching. I was a bit reluctant, though , after the non enthusiastic review of my preffered local food journalist, Marie Claude Lortie, who used terms such as “unaccomplished” to convey her experience at Hvor
My second journey at Hvor did boot with a home made prosciutto of local quebec lamb that was not a pale copy of what the finest charcuteries of Europe has to offer. Superb dry-cured charcuterie, indeed, though not surprising given that Quebec has some of the finest lambs your palate will ever have a taste of. Still, there is some serious technique to master, if you want to deliver serious charcuterie, and that technique they nailed it. Superb!
Then a mini, minimini miniature (as to convey how mini that was) veggie tartlet. The Chef purposely not overwhelming his minimini mini miniature tart with seasoning as to allow your palate to enjoy every single ingredient at its peak (as fresh as you’d have handpicked them from the garden just moments ago). Nice touch, but I am not a fan of miniature food (which was fine, here, as it was the only miniature item of the tasting menu and it was part of some amuses….I know some restaurants that would serve it to you as the sole amuse!). Still, I considered that miniature veggie tartlet as a perfectly well executed clin d’oeil to Alain Passard’s tartlets
. In the medias, only Marie Claude Lortie did mention that the Chef had, once, trained at Alain Passard’s L’Arpege. Passard’s touch could truely be felt in that miniature tart of veggies which intent was to mimmick a pizza. Mission accomplished as it tasted of the better aspects of a pizza.
Choux bruxelles, fourees au foie gras torchon, reduction vin rouge, crumble cacao. this was amusing: only couple of brussel sprouts were stuffed with their home made foie gras au torchon, but what a foie gras au torchon that was! A benchmark of its kind (I am talking about the foie gras au torchon) 9/10
Then foie gras de lotte (burbot fish’s foie gras), Yuzukoshō
– first rate burbot fish’s foie gras. The Yuzukoshō
condiment showcasing outstanding skills (the effect of its heat entincingly complex) as it was as genuine as your reproduction of the Yuzukoshō
will feel and taste out of Japan. 8/10
Then another first rate item, a tartare of duck that did benefit from Japanese accents (mixed with rice, seasoned with Japanese seasonings). Then a dazzling piece of kinmedai
fish elevated by superb seasoning and condiments.
Grilled guinea fowl (pictured) was also excellent, and, clearly ahead of what most would do with their guinea fowl in town (meaning, dazzling taste, accompaniments that were packed with superb textures) .
To wrap up the meal, some excellent desserts (sorbet au pommes, brioche a la canelle, Etc)
Bottom line: So, still in my top 3 in Mtl? Absolutely. Enticing Franco-Japanese flavors (Despite the scandinavian-inspired name, the Chef is inspired by Franco-Japanese cuisine) on this particular evening. Just keep in mind that the way I assess the skills of a kitchen is by “micro analyzing ” some very specific aspects of what I am fed with. Here are examples of just that: (1)the miniature pizza. Some may say ” ah, it was way too mini, so not much to talk about”, but I say “when it is miniature, but done with such skills, then why not? as long as you do not feed me with just that, which is a mistake that they did avoid at Hvor”. (2)the brussels sprouts of which some may say “hey, why that display of plenty of brussels sprouts, but only a few of them are filled with the foie gras” … to which my answer would be “it is one of those amusing tricks of the nowadays contemporary cuisine, found at plenty of contemporary restaurants around the globe, but what I do care about was that foie gras au torchon and how well it went with the red wine reduction, that particularly great quality of brussels sprouts, a bit of cacao crumble… it is a lot of risks to accompany brussels sprouts… cuz they can be bitter..with cacao…another ingredient known to be bitter, obviously..to foie gras au torchon. But they nailed it where many would inevitably get either the cacao crumble or the brussels sprouts to overwhelm the foie gras. That (fabulous skills that allows my food to taste great, especially after NOT taking the easy road, which they do at Hvor) is all I need to know about the skills of a kitchen. I grew up considering great cooking as that ability to make what’s tough to get right (condiments, sauces) sublime, which, to my palate, is what Hvor delivered. This is a kitchen that has the potential to elevate franco-quebecois-japanese combinations of food ideas to another level. I can imagine some witty stuff with, say, a tartiflette, a six pattes, etc…but with Japanese accents. The ball is in their yard. All I know is that the skills are there. URL: http://hvor.ca/en
HVOR 1414 Rue Notre-Dame O, Montréal, QC (514) 937-2001 Subjective personal overall assessment for the food: 8/10
, Service: 10/10, Ambience: 10/10
–Tiradito is the new kid in town. It is a (contemporary) Peruvian bistrot bathed in an attractive contemporary interior
. You basically sit at a long bar surrounding the Chef (another trend, in town, nowadays).
Peruvian cookery is “en vogue” (to the point that a simple marinade like the “leche de tigre” is a very trendy term) these days, thus a winning formula a bit everywhere in North America. As explained elsewhere on this blog, I never review food that I am not familiar with or simply can’t appreciate for reasons that have nothing to do with the food itself. For eg, you will never see any review of Romanian, Brazilian, Polish food on my blog. They are great cuisines that I do respect but my palate simply can’t appreciate them. So instead of laying down inaccuracies on paper (things like ´there was fish in my sushi’ or ´my neapolitan pizza had burnt edges, therefore it was bad’), I always ensure to familiarize myself with the food first, then I will assess it. By familiarizing myself with the food I am assessing, I mean getting to taste how the food is cooked by those having the proper kno- how, understanding the genuine flavors of my food. So Tiradito was going to be a restaurant from which I knew what to expect.
Tiradito de thon albacore ($12) would be the sort of dish to look for, here, as the name of the restaurant implies (tiradito
is basically peruvian crudo
). This featured fine fresh tuna, and accentuated heat coming from the amarillo chilli
of the leche de tigre. I appreciate the fact that the Chef opts for the bold genuine spicy flavors of his motherland. This came with bits of cancha corn. Fine
Papa rellena $5 (1 papa rellena for 1 person is enough as the portion is sizeable) was properly executed – the potato flavor present, as it should, the taste of the ground meat enticing (which is a sign of fine quality meat and proper seasoning) the accompanying sweet sauce having its sweetness nicely balanced.
Empanada of blood sausage was also correctly executed, the accompanying coconut curry went really well with the empanada –
Bottom line: Expect dishes that are done as it should, in the spirit of a refined Peruvian bistrot, the flavors and textures properly rendered. Perhaps some nice grilled charcoal-grilled meat would have boosted my level of enthusiasm, but this place is not designed for that. So no charcoal-grilled anticucho
, at least not for now. In the category “Peruvian bistrot” food, I had my share of dazzling as well as pleasant food and these were pleasant bites. Tiradito has no issue with the fundamentals (seasonings are mastered –it will be spicy where it should, balanced where it needs to be), which is a good start. It is also perfectly fine the way it is right now. I just need a little bit of wittiness *** (though, to be fair, restaurants do sometimes have menu items that do not feature on the standard menu and those are generally more exciting — I did not ask for those. I think you should, as, based on the pics that I can see on their facebook page
, there seem to be items that could be of better interest, under this roof, than what I chose ) to get this whole thing to spice up my enthusiasm (Tiradito is young, so it has plenty of time to switch from “perfectly pleasant” to “dazzling” ). Overall food rating: 6.5/10
Tiradito 1076 Rue de Bleury, Montreal, QC, Phone: (514) 866-6776 URL: https://www.facebook.com/tiraditomtl/
***People oftently ask me “Hey, what do you mean by wittiness?”. I’ll answer, as truth be told, we tend to “lay down” words but do not take time to explain what we truely mean. Everytime you see me using the word wittiness, I mean any of these : a work of flavors and or textures that went above an beyond what is usually found for the kind of food that I am assessing. Furthermore, food is about little details: If I bake something and serve it right away to you, it will never be the same as I bake the same thing and serve it 10 mins later. Flames tend to bring more enjoyment than by other methods of cooking. Crudo is generally fun, but it relies a lot on exceptional quality produce (which of course is costly, sadly) to make an impression. So when I talk about wittiness, it is the ability to bring all those little details together.