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Lesley C

enRoute's Best New Restaurants

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I can't speak for en route. But again, the same reason why someone would rate a restaurant because of how sexy patrons look, the same reason this list was put together.

Like I said, Uber, minimal, cyber, geeky, concrete and Prada shoes might make as much points as a roast sandwich...

I think En route is more of a livestyle listing than a food magazine, but that is just my opininon and I may be wrong.

One could make the same model for the travel industry. It may be considered chick and nouveau to be sipping Campari in Montenegro just as it would be to wonder around the scariest part of Tijuana on designer mountain bikes. It might be fun to be overlooking Vatican city from the highest terrasse in Atlantico hotel just like I know CEO's who pay huge lumps of money to find out what it is like to become a homeless hobbo for a week...(I'm not kidding)

So this is how I read En Route's choices... add in there the fact that it must represent Air Canada and as such, the cheapest fair, the highest fair and the ever political correctness to show a winner in every part of the country...This is why Resto's not making the list should read absolutely nothing in En Route's selection. Folks can be critical of the potential lack of basic judging practice just like others, I'm sure, are positively suprised at the ecclectic choices.

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BTW, having a fish Taco outside of the Sobo van before finding out the best tide times for boogie boarding at the Surf shop isn't really unpleasant. Don't diss it if you haven't lived it.

I still remember having the absolute best breakfast experience, getting out of my tent 18 years ago to see naked scandanavain women testing the cold waters of Long Beach. Walking back to the highway through the rainforest, thumbing my way to the village with a salmon fisherman. Having the best huevo rancho at the Alleyway before going out sea kayaking with a school of killer whale.

I'm sorry but that beats any of my last dinner experience by a mile (maybe Tofino has changed a bit since then...) but I'll take that 1000 times before many Montreal resto's... that's just me and it's just an opinion.

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Assuming that this thread was intended to get opinions from people who have actually dined at some of the restaurants on the list and not a forum for people’s hurt feelings then I would like to add that I was disappointed with the food at Beckta and surprised that it is ranked fourth on the list. I found nothing modern in employing antiquated plate towering – Although the salmon I ordered was not awful, the best I can say about it was that it was not served cold. I was entertaining a Professor from Italy (never mind the fact that the staff insisted on serving me first despite my directing them toward my guest) and was praising Quebec (and some Ontario) cuisine and thought that Beckta would be a sound choice. I could tell that he was less than impressed but too kind to say. What finished it was when we ordered short espresso – we were served regular coffee, but not in regular coffee cups. This, at least, could have suggested that they had made a mistake – clearly, I was the one who had made the mistake. The look on my guest’s face said it all. I sincerely hope that he does not come across the EnRoute list.


Anthony - aka "unreserved"

"Never eat at a place called 'Moms', but if the only other place in town has a sign that says 'Eats', go back to Moms."

W. C. Fields

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I have to admit that i was dissapointed not to see Rosalie or Brunoise on that list. The people of Cluny have nothing to do with this and let me tell you that they were in our restaurant on tuesday night to celebrate.They are very nice. BUT if i compare the overall experience when i eat there with my past experiences at Rosalie and Brunoise, i just don't understand. I'd would have really liked to see my friends up there, specially because i know that they're working their butts off but,maybe the magazine wanted to give different levels of dinning. This all comes back to the recent thread where we discussed Lesley's ratings. Some people here were saying that the byow restaurants and snack bars should perhaps be rated in another category.It's funny how the wheel turns eh?

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Who better to unite Canada with one definitive list of new places then that bastion of journalism en Route magazine. That's the one next to the Barf Bag in the little pocket on the airplane right. I have no doubt that Bymark is a great new place with Mark Mc. at the helm. I really enjoyed watching him on Opening Soon. Here in Vancouver the people have spoken about the best new place. Try getting into Cru and try getting into Bis Moreno. Do a search on this site for Bis Moreno and Cru.


David Cooper

"I'm no friggin genius". Rob Dibble

http://www.starlinebyirion.com/

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Stelio, what's the deal with grouping BYOW restaurants with snack bars? BYOW restaurants like Christophe and Les Infideles have a heck of a lot more in common with Les Chevres than a snack bar like La Paryse and Schwartz's, or a cafeteria like Cluny. Oh, and come to think of it, Christophe is another excellent restaurant -- a BYOB no less -- that could have been considered one of the best new restaurants of 2003. :hmmm:

Unreserved, thanks for bringing the thread back on track. :smile: I was just looking at the Beckta Web site and the menu seems a bit odd. I'll have to drive to Ottawa and see what it's all about.

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Bon! As one of those who were asked to list their choices for this award that EnRoute magazine gives to their BEST NEW restaurant for the current year, I may have some comments to add. I think that the idea of making it "the best of " is anything but scientific, on that we all agree. It's a weird and imprecise notion and perhaps even a little subjective!!! The way I see it, the magazine wanted to establish a list, and lists always eliminate, that's their privilege. That some of you take it personnaly, is quite irrelevant to the editors. The exercise was certainly very popular with the readers of Air Canada and that's what counts, which is why it came back this year. I must agree however, that asking 2 journalists from the same paper is a bit testy, but remember, I was still working for another one when asked and had no desire to leave it...until.... Of my 7 choices this year, one made it on the list: Les Chèvres. As for Cluny, regardless of what Marie-Claude thinks about it, (and I like it too for that matter), it's a place that makes a difference, an idea of what a restaurant CAN be instead of the usual SHOULD be (which implies that the person who thinks that way, is convinced that there is only one good way of doing things). Cluny is highly original, it's funky, it's audacious, and a very seductive place to go and eat. In the social sense of seductive. Not all restaurants have to be High Ends to be considered good. Do I sense some hint of jealousy in some of you? (Tst!Tst!Tst!). That Lesley had wilted salad leaves, or that the waiters wear sexy tops is not what this place is about. The wilted leaves are a fault I agree, but not one I would judge a restaurant by. I look at the forest, not the trees.

Beaucher

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I really wonder what Mr Beauchemin's other 6 choices were... unless he is sworn to secrecy, of course! :smile:

And I want to congratulate Patrice and Stelio, whose nomination was entirely deserved, in my opinion: although I haven't tried the 8 ROC's winners, I can't imagine there being more than 10 new restaurants in Canada that could be rated above Les Chèvres...

As for Cluny, well... I've been there a couple of times, and was unimpressed. I can eat that kind of food - decent sandwiches, tarragon chicken, etc. - at innumerable anonymous, hole-in-the-wall half-basement lunch shops downtown that never get mentioned in newspapers, let alone receive any kind of award.

Reviving the Darling Foundry is a great and laudable idea, don't get me wrong, but I thought these awards were supposed to be given to restaurants, not architectural renewal projects.

Mr McMillan: I'll take your cheeseburger any time for lunch over Cluny's wares (plus it's at walking distance from my office... none of that Cité du Multimédia daytime parking hell)! Diane Lemieux loved it too and asked me to tell you... :cool:

Stéphane


Stéphane Ethier

Montréal, Québec

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Hi Robert,

Welcome to eGullet and thanks for sharing your thoughts. :smile:

I'm with Rabbit Angstrong on Cluny. I really have to question whether Cluny does Montreal justice. The decor and concept perhaps, but considering the high level of culinary skill in our city, the food just doesn't cut it. I visited the place this summer to add to the casual section of my book and walked away unimpressed (needless to say it didn't make it to the book). And I would never take a friend or family member for a meal there -- no matter how hip or stodgy they may be.

Frankly, I would never eat there again. In the area, I can have an $18 lunch at Cube -- and they bring it right to the table.

PS: Some of us look the trees up and down to understand the forest. :wink:

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Okay-dokay Leslie, Fair enough.

I am not going to defend Cluny for what it is not. What I was suggesting is that there was room for a place like that, with a fresh kind of vision. and frankly I must say that I am surprised at the poor quality of the meals, some people on this forum have admitted to having. Because it was not my experience. Then again, I went a few times last winter and have not been back since. However, I thought that the owners had made an interesting statement, first at their Titanic, which I reviewed exactly 12 years ago when all the customers had to share a unique table or sit a the bar (and there was only 5 or 6 seats). And then at this Cluny which for all it's apparent pretention, really has little me-thinks. The food is very simple, I mean it's mostly sandwiches there, unadorned, and it's made on the spot, right in front of you. That to me is valid. The rest, Bon! it cannot possibly be compared with Cube. One may compare it (if one insists on comparisons that is) to places like Le Cartet, which is also quite "inégal" in it's production. Not to mention the plastic wares. At least at Cluny, you get to eat in porcelain.

Sorry for this long defense, but in rality, I did not wish to defend En Route's choices at all. Just the practice of food-writing. A noble art, whatever one may think.

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Beckta's definitely deserves to be there - though I don't trust enRoute's arbitrary selection process at all. It would be better to say "Hot new Canadian restaurants" instead of "Best"

Interesting tidbit: Chef Stephen Vardy worked in Ottawa at Domus Café under John Taylor (one of Canada's most underrated chefs) and Café Henry Burger. He then went out east for a stint at the Inn at Bay Fortune with Michael Smith. I think he also worked at Bishop's too.

He moved back to Ottawa a while ago and where did he worK? He replaced Joel Watanabe as the chef of Kinki, promptly changing the menu in the hot kitchen from asian to french with asian influences (I dare not call it fusion) with great success. Strangely enough he found the owners a major source of stress too and left for Beckta's after only 6 months. How stressed? He used his very first days off to get a fist-sized tattoo of a pineapple. ("I find getting a tattoo very relaxing" and "Because I f***ing love pineapples; they're beautiful" being the responses to the obvious questions). Weird? Maybe, but this is also a guy with a chinese cook's knife and a crazy red KitchenAid on his arm. Any chef with that kind of dedication is tops in my books... and he has the skill to match.

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robert you screwed up, admit it.................?ill be waiting for my scathing review now for opening my mouth............

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The day Mr. Beauchemin reviewed your restaurant, I was there for lunch, there's nothing scathing about it, did you actually see this:

http://www.voir.ca/restos/chronique.aspx?i...IDArticle=25745

Off topic: Dave, did Rosalie make any arrangements for minors in the restaurant ? I'm making a go or no go list for baby/kids spots, I remember reading about a law problem and minors taped on the door. I'm taking a few weeks off on paternity break and that means we are going to eat out a lot.

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Robert, I need to ask you here. It was charged by a eGullet member here awhile ago, in a discussion at the Montreal section, that for your annual Montreal resto guide, you have told certain restaurants they will not be reviewed for the book, unless they buy advertising in the book. Is this true?? This is a very very serious charge!!

-------------

Steve


Edited by SteveW (log)

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Steve W, I really think this should either be a PM, or better yet, find the thread in question and ask your question there. This question has nothing to do with the EnRoute restaurant ratings. Try to find the post and revive it so it can jump to the top.

David, in Robert's defense, the EnRoute team edit down the choices and then send this Amy Rosen woman to dine out in each city to choose her favourites. I see the journalist selections as just a guide for this woman. Think of it this way, they are doing her work for her -- for a little bio blurb next to the article. Rosen chooses the top ten, not Robert or Marie-Claude or any of the other journalists in other cities. I don't think Robert screwed up. I think EnRoute made the perimeters a bit too wide. I could understand Cluny making it in a weak year BUT 2003 was a very strong year for new restaurants in Montreal. Also, the EnRoute deadlines are odd. Wasn't Cluny open in 2002? Maybe Brunoise didn't make the cut because it opened late in the season. There's stuff like that to consider. I know last year I ended up recommending a restaurant like Lemeac (that I'm not wild about) because it fit into their "new restaurant" time frame.

What I would really like to know is whether Bymark and this Vancouver restaurant are that much better than Les Chevres! Les Chevres has a very strong concept behind the cooking. I wonder if they would have made #1 if they had spent an extra million on decor :hmmm: -- like Bymark and last year's winner, Catch?

Anyway David, who really gives a frig. Last week when George Clooney was in town he ate at your place right -- not Cluny! :smile:

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Lesley I posted this question to Robert here, as it relates to his creditability(yes I really did think long & hard about it, if it should be posted here). The Cluny inclusion in enRoute is being discussed here, where his creditability is now questioned(him being one of the two Montreal-based restaurant panellists).

----------

Steve


Edited by SteveW (log)

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This thread is not about Robert's credibility, it's about the EnRoute restaurant ratings. If you want to explore that subject, it's the wrong place to do it because it will end the original discussion.

Also, if you're asking Robert to comment on an old post, you should revive it so he can read it, as well as the posts that led up to that allegation. He might also want to see the name (or pseudonym :hmmm: ) of the person who made that comment.

Thank You. :smile:

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BTW, having a fish Taco outside of the Sobo van before finding out the best tide times for boogie boarding at the Surf shop isn't really unpleasant. Don't diss it if you haven't lived it.

.....

I'm sorry but that beats any of my last dinner experience by a mile (maybe Tofino has changed a bit since then...) but I'll take that 1000 times before many Montreal resto's... that's just me and it's just an opinion.

Identifiler:

Having just got back from 12 days in Tofino your recollections of surf life [at least at this time of year] are not too far wrong from what is currently happening...missed those Scandinanavian women though :biggrin:

I think many posters here are taking the article much too seriously. Lisa Ahier at SOBO makes great "killer fish tacos" but really, one of the best new restaurants in Canada? Not likely.

However, it is an interesting and novel addition to the dining scene on the Pacific Rim...

Did not get to Temple in Victoria which also made the list...maybe next trip.

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Lesley your suggestion to me is now done. It was originally discussed in the 'Terraces' thread at the Montreal section. I have now posted the question to Robert in the 'Terraces' thread, & have quoted the allegations. Thanks.

----------

Steve


Edited by SteveW (log)

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Thanks Steve.

And Guru, you know what you can kiss... :hmmm:

Oh, and I guess I should take back all the nice things I said about Les Chevres. I wouldn't want anyone to think I was kissing your butt.

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He moved back to Ottawa a while ago and where did he worK? He replaced Joel Watanabe as the chef of Kinki

Somewhat off topic ....

Whitefish commented that the chef at Beckta had been in the kitchen atKinKi replacing Joel Watanabe.

One of the few shows I have enjoyed of late on FoodTV [an increasingly rare event given the drivel that usually is broadcast] was the season opening partial retrospective of some of the restaurants they had featured on Opening Soon.

I noticed that Watanabe was apparently working in Montreal but could not make out the name of the restaurant when he answered the phone.

Can anyone assist?

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In the restaurant he was at Le Petit Toscan. But he also works at Cafe Melies (where the sit-down interview took place).

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merlin,

my point being that folks who just describe Sobo as a camper cantine without having been there should maybe try it. I'm not dissing places that I have never been before, it doesn't make sense. As far as the en route, for crying out loud, keep your panties on folks and start cooking already. Who gives a crap's ass, if someone's dining research is based on En Route magazine, then I feel sorry for them...

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