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Where are the 5 Stars!


cookatlarge
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Ok,

heres my question, i buy the Gazette every saturday anxious to rip it open to the food review section, and to be honest lately i have been very upset by the quality of reviews and honestly restaurants. I dont know why Moishes and Globe gets the same stars as Bronte or Caprice and lately the only 3 star has been Bice!!!

i highly doubt its in the same ranks as Bronte, Chronique and Anise, they serve spaghetti tomato on the main course menu!. I know theirs alot of restaurants in Montreal and must be difficult to review, but at the same time wondering where oyster bars, shucking champions and steaks come into the ranks of organic guinea fowl,rack of milk fed piglette and shaved truffles.

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We spent last weekend in Montreal and had two excellent meals

which I would be happy to rate as stellar...

-Les Caprices de Nicholas..While there is a small menu here, every

choice was excellent. Foie gras w. crumble & figs

Guinea hen --I eat this everywhere & with its crisp, lacquered

skin and moist meat, this was the best I've

experienced!

Piglet, rack & ? belly

-L"Autre Saison Crisp asparagus w. hollandaise

Moist, flavorful Confit of duck, w. raspberry sauce & greens

Veal mignon w. morel sauce

Fabulous stuffed quail w. raspberry sauce

[blueberry tart was dense..didn't care for it]

A bistro lunch on a Sunday afternoon at l'Express was also enjoyable.

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I think it's easy to understand why!

The critics rates restaurants for what they are.

Moishes and Globe are 2 very different restaurants than Caprice and Bronte.

Maybe for these kind of restaurant, they are really good? It's not only the score that is important but the complete critic. Globe and Moishes do not pretend to be La Chronique but maybe they are good at what they are doing.

Globe is more a party restaurant were the food is always good, good service, a nice wine list (not fine cuisine) and Moishes is a true steak house. While Caprice is a french restaurant and Bronte is a mix of french, italian. I can't see any comparision between these 4 restaurants anyway. But all of these can be rated well or not even if their style is totally different.

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Hmm, big subject.

I will say this. I have been re-reviewing many of the city's top restaurants lately and disappointments have been many. Also, some excellent chefs are no longer cooking their best. Has it been a bad year for restaurants? Yes, lousy even especially compared with 2004. But fear not, there are some good ones to come.

As for awarding three stars to a restaurant like Moishes and two and a half to others like Cafe Ferreira, Les Caprices and Bronte, here's a clip from a story I wrote for the Gazette last year explaining how I go about that.

The ranking breaks down into three key factors: the type of restaurant, its ambitions, and its success in reaching its goal.

When I say type of restaurant, I refer to the cuisine being served, i.e. French, Italian, Chinese, fusion, sushi, and so on. When reviewing a classic French restaurant, I compare it to the city’s other classic French restaurants to determine where it fits in the category. For example, a restaurant like Les Halles would be in the same category as La Rapière, and on the steakhouse front, Gibbys would be in the same box as Rib’ n Reef.

As for ambitions, it’s clear some restaurants merely aim to please while others beg to be taken more seriously. That’s where expense comes into the equation. Are we talking about a luxury restaurant like The Beaver Club, a high-end restaurant like Cavalli, or a restaurant verging on the casual like L’Express? And expense necessitates added features such as a seasoned maitre d’, a well-schooled sommelier, extravagant ingredients used in imaginative ways, and topnotch tableware such as fine china, heavy cutlery, the appropriate stemware, and fresh flowers.

Restaurants gunning for the four-star rating must exploit the finer points -- the extremes -- of the gourmet experience. We reviewers keep that extra star in our back pockets for restaurants that go out on a limb and succeed. For that reason, one cannot compare a restaurant like Rosalie to Toqué!. It’s obvious the former’s ambitions are topped at the three-star level, while the latter is shooting for the moon.

Once a reviewer has established the ambitions of a restaurant, the goal is to figure out whether or not it is fulfilling its potential. When a recent review of Toqué! garnered a three-and-a-half-star rating, a reader wrote in asking why it was still so high given the number of criticisms. To me, this was a case of a revamped restaurant still shy of its potential -- potential that had been fully realized at its former location. Dropping it down to two stars would have diminished the obvious hard work and expense that went into uplifting it to the higher ranks. Where it failed was not in the obvious structure, but in the less-than-obvious details.

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maybe the general bad tourist market is hurting

also i feel that since the 2 years i left here the quality of the ingredients are getting worse and more expensive

jean tolan marche is bigger but not as good as before i find

maybe i am wrong

lesley, in your opinion what are the best restos in montreal at this time, both for haute gastronomie and casual good dining

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Lesley, La Chronique is still doing really good, Club Chasse et Pêche for a new restaurant is on the ball and for me Toqué on some night can be awesome.

I just need to go back to France and London soon, it's just a other world!

My next trip will include:

Michel Bras

Taillevent

Troisgros

The Fat Duck (UK)

Tom Aiken (UK)

I am working on a reservation for Joel Robuchon at the Mansion (only 65 seats) in Vegas soon also (I heard the restaurant is out of this world) and back in the days I had my best dinner experience when Joel had is restaurant open in Paris.

Edited by jfl91 (log)
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First, if you haven't been, go to Quebec City and eat at Utopie. I was there Friday night and am still full of awe. Montreal should be so lucky to have a restaurant this interesting. And I was thrilled to see a great sommelier there, Bertrand, formerly of Anise and Pop. That man is a genius at food and wine pairings.

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Thank you for clearing things up, i didnt want this topic to be a argument so hopfuly no one took it that way, i'm in the industry and am always on the lookout for restaurants preferably top restos, and yes it does seem that restaurants are slipping according to feed back from many. thanks

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Lesley,  La Chronique is still doing really good, Club Chasse et Pêche for a new restaurant is on the ball and for me Toqué on some night can be awesome. 

I just need to go back to France and London soon, it's just a other world!

My next trip will include:

Michel Bras

Taillevent

Troisgros

The Fat Duck (UK)

Tom Aiken (UK)

I am working on a reservation for Joel Robuchon at the Mansion (only 65 seats) in Vegas soon also (I heard the restaurant is out of this world) and back in the days I had my best dinner experience when Joel had is restaurant open in Paris.

For the France/UK trip, I think all excellent picks with the exception of Talievent which serves geriatric French food. I only mention this because you mention it in the same breath as 4 innovative restaurants. Maybe do Gagnaire instead or if you insist on classical food maybe L'Ambrosie? I still have yet to eat at Bras (spring/summer '06 when I do my ElBulli trip for sure) due to its remoteness, but from all accounts he is doing special there and you should have a fantastic meal.

Please let us know what you think of Robuchon in Vegas, they received a great review in Gayot and hopefully it will give Vegas a true destination restaurant.

Have you eaten at WD-50? Wylie has been spent the last few days in Heston's kitchen, so I would be interested in the influence they have on each other.

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I thought you were the one that yelled at me for saying Montreal doesn't have any restaurants worthy of special praise?

As much as I love Montreal as a city, Quebec City has better food. Most restaurants in Montreal don't source nearly as well as those in Quebec City, garbage in... garbage out.

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I said it many times on this board that L'Utopie in quebec city is a great restaurant. My parents live in Quebec city so I have been 3-4 toimes already at Utopie and I have never been disapointed. As for the sommelier choice, I just care when there is a tasting menu and wine pairing.

A good sommelier is there to buy and find good wine for the restaurant (style of food) and he will help people who don't know really about wine.

Edited by jfl91 (log)
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Um, let me be very clear here. I never said Montreal doesn't have good restaurants. Jesus, i would be the last to say that. What I said is that it has been a bad year for restaurants. Very different statements.

I am sure CCetP, and La Chronique are pulling off some great food as are others.

And Tom what I found offensive about your post re: Toque! is that you called the food "crap," a word I find offensive when describing something made by one of the top chefs in the city. Call it weak, boring or dull and I don't give a rat's ass, but call it crap and you're just being mean.

Anyway, yes L'Utopie is an amazing restaurant and one of the reasons I went was because jfl91 mentioned it on this board, so thanks jfl91!

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I just hope Utopie have enough clients! This is not easy in Quebec city these days for fine restaurants. I hope they get enough popular to bring the tourists so they can make money.

Tom, I tried WD when it first open (not so long time ago) and it was fantastic and far to be overprice.

Edited by jfl91 (log)
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Off topic

While on the subject of Utopie. I have to go to Quebec almost every week now. Keep finding new hotel gems by the water. Latest opening is Hotel 71 on St-Pierre Street.

If you need to find a decent stay in Quebec, I suggest:

Au Priori (above Toast!) great terrasse.

Dominion, a classic and Germain owned.

Auberge Saint Antoine, best bathrooms, best archeological class.

Auberge Port Royal, full suites, can stumble upstairs from INOX.

Au 71, just beside and owned by Auberge Saint-Pierre, slick breakies.

Chateau Bon Entente, away from town but best deal with kids and an excellent resto on site too, great summer pool.

With these offering, it's a shame to go to the crappy chain stuff.

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Um, let me be very clear here. I never said Montreal doesn't have good restaurants. Jesus, i would be the last to say that. What I said is that it has been a bad year for restaurants. Very different statements.

I am sure CCetP, and La Chronique are pulling off some great food as are others.

And Tom what I found offensive about your post re: Toque! is that you called the food "crap," a word I find offensive when describing something made by one of the top chefs in the city. Call it weak, boring or dull and I don't give a rat's ass, but call it crap and you're just being mean.

Anyway, yes L'Utopie is an amazing restaurant and one of the reasons I went was because jfl91 mentioned it on this board, so thanks jfl91!

We aren't talking about specifically about Toque now, are we? But seeing as you are bringing it up. Based on what you have said about L'Utopie:

"Montreal should be so lucky to have a restaurant as interesting (as L'Utopie)".

The logical conclusion from your own words is that while there may be many good restaurants in Montreal, L'Utopie is better than all of them and Montreal has no restaurants in its class.

Maybe Toque had a really off-night when I visited and based on jfl91's comments I'll give it one more go, but this time I will have one of his suppliers call and make the reservation for me and ensure Normand will be in the kitchen. The "crap" I was served could not have been overseen by Normand, no way...

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tom you are not alone with the toque criticism some people do not like the emperor revealed to be naked

all chefs go through a dark period maybe this is one for normand. the new toque is one of a few high end restos in montreal that have the right cutlery and glasses and plates and linens and decor to be 5*

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tom you are not alone with the toque criticism some people do not like the emperor revealed to be naked

all chefs go through a dark period maybe this is one for normand. the new toque is one of a few high end restos in montreal that have the right cutlery and glasses and plates and linens and decor to be 5*

I went years ago when he was on St. Denis. Friday night in the winter, dining room was almost empty, food was unbalanced and served in MINISCULE portions by snobby staff. The foie gras was excellent but there was so little of it on the plate! I'm not 100% sure, but my visit may have coincided with his brief NYC venture Cena. A chef of Normand's reputation would not have served me what I had received if he was in the kitchen, but he is ultimately responsible for what is served regardless of who is overseeing the kitchen that night.

Virtually every restaurant will come under some critisism at one point or another, now matter how highly touted they are. Restaurants can have off nights, but too many off nights and your reputation will decline quickly no matter what heights the place reaches when they are on their game.

I still want to go back once more. I love being pleasantly surprised even more than reaffirming what I believe to be true.

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if you didnt like the OLD toque i have no hope you will like the new one

snobby 100x more than before

big empty dead cold dining room

food portions tiny and expensive

wine list is crazy expensive

But is it GREAT food? I can overcome anything for great food.

Small portions can be dealt with by visiting Schwartz' afterwards.

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