Monday, August 29, 2011
Chef Martin Picard's Au Pied de Cochon has become a quintessential spot on the Montreal restaurant scene for tourists and locals alike. The busy and loud Quebecois restaurant that may very well have created the shift towards upscale dining conceptualized for the average joe combined with its altar to all things foie gras perspective has gained the restaurant praise, an almost cult-like following and many imitators. With the good though, comes the bad and with it's explosive popularity not only here in Montreal but on the world scene this well deserved attention has also made it the focus of critics and detractors who like to downplay the restaurant's phenomenal success, focusing on the rock and roll attitude and reckless abandon for calories and subtlety.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
A person who is gourmandise generally means one who is well versed in the culinary arts, but at one time in history the notion of being a gourmand was contradictory to the church's teaching of modesty. The seven deadly sins, or in French "les sept péchés capitaux" refer to the seven most unforgiving vices that a person may act upon in their lifetime. The fifth, gluttony or gourmandise in French, can be defined as the uncontrollable desire and anticipation to over consume. There is however nothing at all sinful about the restaurant we visited this past weekend - Au Cinquième Péché.
Au Cinquième Péché is a bistro style restaurant on St Denis a few steps from the corner of Mont Royal. We had never been before but heard that it was one of the best, and only places in the city where one can regularly find seal meat on the menu. The restaurant has very little in the way of a design concept, but where good food is concerned, this rarely matters to us. There's a small mural on your right-hand side as you enter, all the walls have been taken down to expose the original stone, nice antique style light bulbs hang over the bar where the stools look a little bit like tall office chairs and the tables and chairs in the dining room are all wood, which brings a little warmth to the color palette. The menu is short and as we would learn, not always as descriptive as it could be with about 5 mains, 5 appetizers, and 3 desserts posted on blackboards on the wall. Also on the blackboards are 4 or 5 choices each of red and white wines by the glass all under 10$.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
This weekend was a first for Foodie Date Night. Recently we received an e-mail inviting us to come eat and review a meal at a new Montreal restaurant called Ryu Tapas. As our regular readers know, we normally arrive to prospective review locations anonymously so as not to receive any preferential treatment or skewed representations of the food or service; this way you, as a reader, can expect a similar experience to the one we have described. After a short e-mail exchange clarifying that we intended to reveal the bias of the invitation to our readers we felt honored and excited to accept this generous invitation.
Ryu describes itself as being a Japanese tapas restaurant, combining Japanese food with Quebec produce and a modestly portioned plate sharing concept familiar to many as tapas. We arrived on a Friday evening to a full and lively dining room, the restaurant is in a very accessible location in Outremont on the corner of Parc and Laurier. Upon entering we are immediately greeted by a friendly gentleman who would end up being our waiter for the night. He showed us to our table and provided us a menu to consult but informed us we would not be needing it because we would be eating in Omakase fashion. Omakase is a Japanese term that literally translates to "it's up to you" so all the dishes we were trying would be selected by the chef. Our anticipation peaked, we were very excited for the meal to come.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Historically in Quebec, a brasserie refers to a blue-collar, working class dining establishment with vast menus, daily specials and of course, plenty of beer. Lately the term has been used by chefs and restauranteurs in a form less true to it's roots, referring to more casual versions of high-end dining restaurants. Brasserie T! is a more financially accessible version of renowned chef Normand Laprise's restaurant Toqué which is a world class, five diamond, four star dining experience.