Canadian foodies look forward to the day every year when enRoute Magazine’s Top 10 list of Canada’s Best New Restaurants comes out. This list, put together from an exhaustive cross-Canada trip by Montreal Gazette food critic Sarah Musgrave in consultation with the country’s savvy food experts, is considered the last word on dining in Canada- and to our delight but not surprise- the list is again stacked with Montreal restaurants that represent the cutting edge of our city’s dining scene. Here is a cook’s tour of Montreal’s three best new restos!…
Van Horne Cuisine du Marché: Art is a high priority at this beautiful little white bistro on avenue Van Horne in Outremont: there’s a Richard Bernstein litho of Picasso behind the bar and a wall gallery of Lichtenstein plates in the dining room and the food is high art as well. Young chef Eloi Dion, who was previously a commis at the ultra-chic private supper club 357c, is actually at the stove in the bistro’s cozy space, and serves up plates that are wildly creative, expertly prepared with an eye towards aesthetics. A recent dinner included a roasted veal salad with piri-piri and a pan-seared savoury pumpkin cake, followed by a deconstructed apple tart that was so fresh and popping with flavour that it may as well have fallen straight off the tree.
Les 400 Coups opened last year amid great fanfare: Marc-André Jetté, well-known on the food scene here from stints at Laloux, Bu, Chez L’Épicier and others, opens his haute bistro in Old Montreal (fans will want to check out the great deal on this foodie tour of Old Montreal) with partners pastry chef Patrice Demers and sommelière Marie-Josée Beaudoin. The menu is iconoclastic, the buzz is high and a reservation here is already sought-after on weekend nights- this enRoute accolade only solidifies this resto’s rep as a new Montreal classic.
Le Comptoir Charcuteries et Vins: Ségué Lepage’s small spot on St-Laurent is almost impossible to wedge yourself into during 5 à 7 (happy hour) time on a weekday, that’s how popular the place is. He’s figured out a winning formula- an accessible wine list complimented by small plates with fresh seasonal accents constructed before your eyes behind the bar in the main-floor kitchen based on the array of intensely delicious, traditional charcuteries that he crafts in his basement kitchen/lab. Lepage is dedicated to upholding and innovating on the rich tradition of Québec cuisine while keeping flavours fresh and inventive. Le Comptoir is what Montreal cuisine is (and should be) all about.
Van Horne Cuisine du Marché, 1268 Van Horne, (514) 508-0828
Les 400 Coups, 400 Notre-Dame East, (514) 985-0400
Le Comptoir Charcuteries et Vins, 4807 Saint-Laurent, (514) 844-8467