We decided to welcome the year of the fire rooster by treating ourselves to a luxe evening of food and gaming at the new Joel Robuchon restaurant at the Montreal Casino “L’atelier de Joel Robuchon”.
One thing that I must mention right away is that, unless you have been on a winning streak at roulette all evening or that you are doing it for the greater good like us at 2direct, get your wallet ready cause L’atelier is PRICEY!
I wish we could say that the experience we had, the food and the service justified the price but unfortunately it isn’t the case.
Let’s start with the décor which is one of our favorite things at l’atelier. The restaurant is a giant bar concept that wraps around an open kitchen in warm dark and red tones. All the décor is made out of fruits and vegetables and it is very pleasant on the eye. There are few tables and they seem to be reserve for groups. As for us, the bar seats are the best in the house, we are happy to be led to two corner bar seats with a great view on the kitchen. It is 7pm and the restaurant is not busy at all.
The menu offers a la carte options and several set menu options including a vegetarian one. After quickly browsing the menu we are set on the “experience” menu and some a la carte options. As we await our meal we are offered an assortment of mini breads and a “foie gras” mousse cappuccino.
After a bit of a wait, our starters arrive, we ordered the caviar egg mimosa; it is beautifully presented and has a delicately rich texture.
The dinning experience continues with a foie gras and truffles dish, an eggplant trio, a seared cod, and a quail with the “special Robuchon puree” (whaooo). This may sound like a lot of food but all of the dishes are presented in mini portions so you certainly won’t get too filled up! The dishes are mostly well executed but the jus for the quail was overly salty which is disappointing for such an establishment.
Dessert was great, the traditional chocolate ball and hot sauce and the a tasty coconut mousse.
Unfortunately for us, though most of the dishes were good, the restaurant did not present anything new or exciting; rater, tried and tested recipes that are extremely leveraged at l’atelier! The service was amateurish and not very cared for. Given the price range and the strange location of the restaurant (it takes some efforts to get there) we are quite unsure of how it will fare in Montreal particularly given how rich its gastro scene is!
One last note, the restaurant is difficult to find and when you ask around, Casino staff is not aware and will lead you to the 5th floor food court which is packed with casino regulars.
Rating from 1 to 10:
Venue: 9 but only once you get there given how difficult it is to find
Food presentation: 9
Food taste: 8
Wine selection / advice: 7
Cost: 150 before tip (2 tapas portion per person , including 2 glasses of wine)/ 200$ before tip for menu experience, including 2 glasses of wine)
Address: 1 Avenue du Casino, Montréal, QC H3C 4W7