Winter is the traditional season for oysters, though Maestro owner and Maitresse d’hotel Ilene Polansky reminds us that the thing about only eating bivalves in months ending in “r” went out when refrigerated transport containers came in. But December reminds us that oysters are delicious, so we satisfied our craving the other night at Ilene’s Montreal classic, Maestro S.V.P.
“Maestro”, as locals call it, has been known for almost 20 years as the *best* place to eat oysters in the city. You might be up for competing in their ongoing competition to see who can slurp down the highest count of their saline bivalve of choice, the beautiful Beausoleil (current record: 24 dozen by one couple in an evening). They also offer the best cocktail-hour deal in town, the dozen Beausoleils for 13$.
On a recent weeknight, we sought out the cozy sanctuary of Maestro’s bar as our perch while gazing out at the wintry wonderland on the most stylish block of St-Laurent blvd, to suck back some of our favourites and check out what’s new at Maestro (turns out it’s a revamped small-plates menu and, for now, a special holiday menu for the winter season.
We started with Maestro’s classic oyster shooter, which was both an amuse-bouche and a shot to set us straight.
Then, we moved on to the fresh menu of the day…
They brought us a delectable platter of fromtheir fresh sheet of the world’s best, that even got a little bit sexy and a lot disco when they switched on the blue light of the built-in oyster bar.
We ordered some of our favourites: Massive Gliddens from Maine, as big as the palm of my hand
The only thing prettier than a plate of oysters is the shells we left over, knowing the bivalves belong in our bellies!
Our oyster degustation finished off with a platter of baked oysters, that hit the spot on a cold night (the one in the front is Maestro’s perfect Rockefeller., washed down with a fresh-tasting Sauvignon blanc.
We also sampled some of the standout small plates: from tiny, spicy calamari, to snow-crab cakes, to scallops in their housemade peppercorn sauce .
At the end, we scoured the wall of famous folks who’ve visited Maestro S.V.P. to find our favourite…
3615 boul St Laurent
Montréal, QC H3X 2V5
Guest blogger: Melora Koepke