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  1. Have been there a couple of times for drinks. Really nice place with a warm decor. Haven't tried much food, but the venison tartare and mini lamb burgers were great.
  2. Check out Ming Tao Xuan in Old Montreal. It's at 451, St-Sulpice, near the Notre-Dame Basilica.
  3. Wattacetti, I'll take advatage of your post to throw another name to your list: Restaurant du Vieux-Port. We completed our first phase of renovations in May: new bar with closed off deck on the outdoor terrace and we also redid our three main dining rooms and staircase. The second phase will be done in the fall (raw bar/market section, other dining rooms, outdoors, etc.) To the more important stuff... We hired a new chef, Claudio Ambrosi from Queue de Cheval, and a new restaurant director, Maria Mendes, previously from Fereira, Prélude and Queue de Cheval. Our beef has always been great (Alberta AAA+ Angus), but we have made signifcant improvements on presentation and sides. Furthermore, Maria has done a great job with the service team, and the results since the end of May have been fantastic. Definitely worth a try and great value.
  4. Identifiler, don't worry about the magic this upcoming weekend. You are in good hands with our current chef Anthony Young. He has actually taken the reins for quite some time now, being promoted to chef de cuisine way before Janick's paternity leave. The menu epicurious sampled was actually Anthony's. Epicurious, sorry to hear about that one loose end. I am really glad to hear you enjoyed the rest of your evening. Dimitri
  5. Cafe Olympico really makes one of Montreal's best espressi, and you can even taste how good the coffee is in a café latte. The fact that you come out of there stinking like an ashtray, even when there are only 5 people in the place, is an entirely different story. I passed by there the other night and noticed that they use an automatic machine, but have an old piston espresso machine in the corner. I don't know if they use it at all. I still think that you get the best crema from the old piston machines. I guess it is much faster to use the new automatics. Carswell, that is some good advice. I don't think it is fair to censure an establishment on the basis of one visit, let alone without having visited it at all.
  6. Hi Onionbreath, Although I am not crazy about the dry-aged beef, I think that 40 Westt and Queue de Cheval are pefect examples of what a high end authentic steakhouse should be. The owners have done almost everything perfectly. In my opinion, a steakhouse should not be about unexpected dishes and market fresh local vegetables. A steakhouse for me is consistent, excellent cuts of beef, mashed or baked potato, crab cakes, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Big portions are to be expected, especially in a place like 40 Westt or Q de C, which are all about doing everything big and loud... Obviously many people agree since large steakhouses like 40 Westt, Q de C, Gibbys, Restaurant du Vieux-Port, Moishes and Rib n Reef are always full. We cannot put these places in the same boat as most of the restaurants referred to on this board. As far as the future of Montral dining being in small restaurants, we must not forget that, although most of us who are in this business are in it because of our enthusiasm for food, service and gastronomy, a restaurant is also a business. And you can only go so far with a 40 seat restaurant, targeting a very limited crowd.
  7. I definitely agree that it has to be a total package, but I think we both agree that all the places I mentioned, along with Cavalli, have excellent service and very nice atmosphere. The macaroni with fontina caught my eye last night, but I was in the mood for meat. Next time...
  8. Mikado is great. I also like Mikasa on L'Acadie and Sauvé. A bit out of the way, but definitely worth it. They have one downtown as well on Peel, but I have been told by friends that it is not as good their other location.
  9. Although I agree with you Lesley that the star system should not be used as a ranking guide, I think that many people use it as a reference when comparing two possible choices. The problem I see with using the stars as a measure of whether or not a restaurant has fulfilled its potential is that not every restaurant is getting judged at the same scale. While your column covers only fine dining restaurants, the spectrum of different types of restaurants is still very wide. Therefore, there can be restaurants that have much higher standards of quality, service, ambiance, wine selection, etc. versus other restaurants that are very good, but not at the same level of gastronomy. The way I see it, it is much easier for the second type of restaurant to score well even if it may not be up to par with the first type. All this being said, I am simply not a big fan of star systems in any domain. I do not think that 4 or 5 stars gives a critic enough room to classify a large number of establishments. The perfect example is the hotel industry. Simply take a look at what is being considered a 4-star hotel in Montreal right now, and then tell me if that rating really means anything. But I guess, for lack of a better system, we have to live with it. As far as my meal at Cavalli is concerned, I started with the mixed mushrooms, lardons and parmesan, which I loved. Definitely, my favourite course of the night. I then had the rack of lamb with feta cheese crumbles, which was recommended to me by our waitress over the veal chop. I thought it was very well prepared, but I just was not that impressed, keeping in mind that I was going in with high expectations. Finally I had the Illy mousse, Earl Grey (I think) Crème brulée and Mascarpone ice cream. The restaurants I was referring to are Chèvres, Brunoise, Cube, Épicier and a few others. And keep in mind that I am referring only to food.
  10. I went to Cavalli tonight for the first time and just had to post in this thread. I had heard mixed reviews and had to see what everyone was talking about. I loved the new decor and was impressed that the owners made all those changes, especially since Mondo Saks was already a beautiful restaurant. (I guess the only way to reopen a dead restaurant is to completely change everything.) The service was excellent at first, but our waitress virtually disappeared after our main course was finished. We had to wait a strenuously long time for a dessert list and for her to pick up our credit cards. (This was especially annoying since I was in a rush to get somewhere after the meal). As far as the food was concerned, it was very good, but unfortunately fell below the standards I expected for a 3.5 star rating in the Gazette. I am not saying that the food was bad, but it was not in the same league as the 4 star restaurants, let alone many of the 3 star spots I have tried as of late. The atmosphere is excellent and I would definitely return as an alternative to some of the Saint-Laurent eateries. The owners have definitely come up with a great concept and should earn points for the all-around experience, but I cannot see how a Chèvres, for example, can be rated lower than Cavalli. I guess I agree with Food Dwarf that the star system can induce one into error. Regardless, I must agree with LC on the Cavalli thread that it is definitely an exciting restaurant. Good job guys.
  11. Are you a partner with the old boys from Vinnie Gambini Brossard? When are you guys opening? I hear the place is gonna be really nice. I wish you guys the best of luck. Dimitri
  12. To all the restaurateurs and chefs out there, which supplier do you find has the best coffee other than Illy? For the hotel, I order from Caffe Creme in Little Italy, but I also use Astoria at some of my other places.
  13. I agree it's hard to find a great espresso in most places and am sad Cafe Electra is gone. We have a Carimbali automatic machine for our guests at Hotel Place d'Armes. They can serve themselves 24 hours a day. Although it is not the best I have tried, it is very good. A lot better than any of the chains. And speaking of chains, although it is a pity that they will soon be on every street corner, I still think Starbucks is the best of the bunch. Much better than Second Cup, which I believe has the worst coffee in town.
  14. Hi DenK, I'm sorry to hear the service during your dinner was not up to par. I appreciate the feedback and I will definitely take this up with the management to assure that this is not a common scenario and to rectify the problem. This is a problem with newer waiters who are told to try and casually upsell (water, desserts, coffees, and digestifs). They get overzealous and try to dictate the ordering for the entire table.
  15. Unfortunately, there is a building blocking the view of the fireworks from the Verses Terrace. If you like though, you can go to the roof of Auberge du Veiux-Port, a few blocks east, and see them from there. They open up from 9:00 pm for drinks. It is reserved for dinner clients before that.
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