It’s winter in Montreal, and the menus are all about meat and more meat: Pork, especially. And pasta and anything else that can warm your insides. Here are a few dishes we love from the winter menus around town right now. Because baby, it’s cold outside…
Pictured above is the roasted cauliflower, salty pork belly and ricotta at Pastaga: The earthiness of cauliflower and the tangy, sharp-soft salt of pork belly warm us to the bone.
Chef Jason Nelsons is almost religious in his devotion to what’s fresh, honest and often organic. He travels the region on Sunday road-trips in search of producers he likes, and the board at Renard Artisan Bistro, his small restaurant on Mont-Royal, lists original dishes that showcase the flavours in a way that elevates them even further. Sweetbreads never tasted so good in this town.
Tourtière is traditional Quebec meat-pie made of a meat mix that often includes pork and spices; this one made by Michelle Marek and Seth Gabrielese at Foodlab is adorned with a small, perfect pastry snowflake that tasted especially sweet and flaky. Michelle and Seth have organized a special set of holiday menus, Les Grandes tablées, which set menus for groups of six people or more – a great place to meet with family or friends over the holidays.
Speaking of pork, Lawrence Restaurant’s wintry Quebec-raised pork chop with braised radicchio and local apples, a signature dish which is always salted and sweet enough to warm even the chilliest bones. Apples are bountiful in Quebec, and cooks can count on them all winter long to sweeten the deal.
Speaking of root cellar-produce, Nora Gray has a mean handmade beet and gorgonzola ravioli on their December menu, as well as some rabbit saddle and tripe that’s recommended.