Atelier Joel Robuchon

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.

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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.

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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:
Service: 7
Venue: 9 but only once you get there given how difficult it is to find
Food presentation: 9
Food taste: 8
Dessert: 9
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)
Overall: 8

Address: 1 Avenue du Casino, Montréal, QC H3C 4W7
http://casinos.lotoquebec.com/fr/montreal/sortir/restaurants/atelier-de-joel-robuchon

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Le mousso

Apparently dashi is the new “It” ingredient in Montreal as it has been making appearances on quite a few menus, it was served with the scallop at  Maison Boulud and accompanied the sea urchin at Lilico.  The menu at Mousso made no exception. Mousso offers one mandatory 7 courses menu in a dark and modern environment with communal tables, bar seatings and an open kitchen downstairs. The menu we had that week included, scallops, arctic char, coquelet, lamb and chive ice cream amongst other.
To start off we must say that all of these dishes were excellent, the chef at Mousso clearly has an expertise when it come to flavor pairing.The presentation of each of the dishes was modern and very colorful. Each plate looked like a beautiful painting that was presented to us and we ate it up with our eyes first before tasting it.
Our meal was kicked off with 3 mises en bouche including one of foie gras covered with cotton candy. This was definitely very gourmand but blended amazingly as it melted in the mouth. Then followed the perfectly seared scallop with dashi and radish with some kind of a crunchy crumble on top. Tasty, light and fresh as it was still super moist!
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The arctic char was served with various quenelles (pardon our english) and was like a beautiful painting with a very researched presentation. The char was smoked but it was so lightly done that it felt more like a marinated char than a smoked one. The coquelet was served with paper thin sliced mushrooms in a creamy sauce and tasted like a hearty bouchee.
3-arctic-char
The lamb was the smoothest, tastiest lamb we had ever tried, it was presented to us as a lamb filet mignon and this dish will seduce all of the lamb haters out there.
4-coquelet
To finish, two deserts, with one that was particularly amazing to us, the blood sausage cake with chive ice cream and a light coulis. This may sound like the weirdest combination and tasted separately the items were as their name said…but one you take a full combined bite, this is when magic happens and you truly taste this delightful concoction. Bravo!
Overall the dinner was excellent, the tastes were right on point. The portions are a bit small though, more like a medium style bouchee rather than full course portion, so don’t be overwhelmed by the 7 courses.
The services was efficient, professional yet friendly! We will definitely return again, wanting to know what other creative dishes le mousso can generate!
Rating from 1 to 10:
Service: 8
Venue: 7.5
Food presentation: 9
Food taste: 9
Dessert: 8
Wine selection / advice: 8
Cost: 9 ($55 per person before wine, tax and tip)
Overall:9
Address: 1023 Rue Ontario E, Montréal, QC H2L 1P8

Le Mousso Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Dinner at Lili Co

Lilico! I don’t even know where to begin. First of all, we just love the name Lilico, not sure how it came about but just staying it puts us in a particular mood. We had tried Lilico a few times for their delicious brunch; we can’t get enough of their delicious banana pancakes and their juicy thick cut bacon!
After a lazy Saturday we were looking for a restaurant for an impromptu dinner and decided to try Lilico for dinner. We had been a bit hesitant to try it as its dinner menu focuses on offals and only one half of the 2direct team is a fan of offals. We had reservation for 6:30 pm and when we arrived were showed to two bar seats which is exactly what we were hoping for.
Lilico is a small space with a bit of an awkward design. It has two bar sections, one around the kitchen and one around an actual bar. Along the wall and at the back there are high set tables for larger groups. The décor is modern and the bar catches the attention with its collection of nice bourbons and older aperitifs like Suze and an elaborated cocktail menu to match.
The dinner menu has an interesting selection of offals but a lot of other vegetarian seafood, and meat selection. We are hungry and order generously! We start with the green sea urchin and the Matane shrimps. What great starters! The sea urchin, a beautifully presented small portion in the shell with a broth of cold dashi. Perfect way to kick off our dinner, then, follows a forest of Matane shrimps with a delicately seasoned butter. This dish was amazing! It was so tasty, we asked for some bread to soak in the juices and we took our time to savor the shrimps one by one.
Then followed the offal selection du jour: veal testicles. These came delicately breaded with radishes and a honey mayo. Again a delicious dish that shows creativity and a perfect knowledge a flavor.  Way to elevate such a discarded component!
veal testicles.jpg
We then had roasted asparagus on a bed of fresh cheese, with roasted olives and salted lemon confit. This was very tasty and the lemon confit added just the right touch of acidity.
asparagus.jpg
To finish our dinner we had the Tandoori Octopus with cheek bacon, kale and maitake mushroom. As our dish was brought to us the chef realised that it had been dispatched without the maitake mushroom that he was poaching in butter. He rushed to us with is pan and tongs to delicately place the missing mushrooms on top of the plate before we start. That is a nice touch! That said this was our least favorite plate, although it was a more balance combination that we had in the past, tandoori spices were not optimal to showcase the octopus.
Tandoori Octopus.jpg
To accompany our meal we had an excellent wine suggestion from our server! Generally, the service a Lilico is great! It’s a team or even more like a family serving you, particularly in the kitchen where there seems to be a special camaraderie. We sat at the bar and it gave the perfect point of view over the kitchen, the bar area and even the dishwasher that kept on regularly checking for new plates to clean.  As it got late however and the restaurant became more packed, the waiters got busy and appeared a bit overwhelmed.
We love everything about Lilico, its décor, its ambience (bunch or dinnertime) its food, its red hair Chef you can see at work with his team in the open concept kitchen.
If you have not yet been to Lilico please go and be open and try everything!!
Rating from 1 to 10:
Service: 9
Venue: 8
Food presentation: 8
Food taste: 9
Dessert: N/A  limited choice
Wine selection / advice: 10
Cost: 8 $50 (per person before tip, including a glass of wine)
Overall: 9
Address: 4675 st-laurent, Montréal, QC H2T 1R2, Canada

Lili Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Buvette Ludger

We have been to Buvette Ludger a few times for dinner and like it enough to keep on returning even though the service and dishes were at time inconsistent.  We decided to give it a try for brunch last Sunday.  We make our way to the St Henri Restaurant and the décor is nice in the Sunday. Very different from the night time look but equally pleasant.

I am more of a traditional eggs and thick bacon gal but my brunch companion is more into the fancy sweet and savory mixes but there are no option on the menu so we both order the 2 eggs combo with pork flank, English muffin and sautéed potatoes.

The whole brunch was rather “quelconque”, the pork flan was in fact small pieces spread around the platter and not the juicy slabs entailed by the menu description, and overly cooked on one of the plates.

Photo 2016-04-10, 12 22 24 PM

The potatoes were not uniformly cooked with some raw and others well done, the muffin were over toasted.

To help the brunch “go down”, I decided to have one of their brunch special drink and settled on one with Gin, Galliano, orange juice and lime. Unfortunately even the drink was not good as it was not adequately balanced.

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Overall, I would not recommend the brunch at Buvette Ludger as it does not really have much to offer. This buvette should stick to what is does best, which is some nice dinner food with nice cocktails and a DJ to shake things up.

Rating from 1 to 10:
Service: 7
Venue: 7 (this is a family style restaurant)
Food presentation: 7
Food taste: 6
Dessert: N/A
Drink selection / advice: 7
Cost:  8 (20$) for brunch tax and service included
Overall: 6.5

Address: 4001 Rue Notre-Dame O, Montréal, QC H4C 1R3

http://www.buvetteludger.com/#buvettegourmande
Ludger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Poissonnerie Rayan

We tried this “pick your own and have it cooked” seafood spot on a sunny Wednesday, early evening. As we arrived around 6pm lots of people were hurrying into the restaurant and heading to the fish selection counter. Poissonnerie Rayan is a poissonnerie where you can simply buy fish and also choose to have it grilled and serve to you at one of the many simple tables in the restaurant. We, ourselves, headed to the fish counter and being quite hungry ordered a generous quantity of various seafood.

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We ordered some octopus, a whole European seabass, some calamari, some shrimps and a plate of vegetables. All of the items would be grilled except the calamari that would be breaded and fried, Mediterranean style. We headed back to our table and waited for our food to arrive. The dishes were brought as they were ready, first came the calamari that were straight from the kitchen; almost too hot to eat. They were fresh and tender but could have used a bit more seasoning and lime. We then received a huge plate of grilled octopus with an herbal sauce. This, again, was perfectly tender and tasted amazing.

The seasoning was right on point. Next we had the shrimps and the whole fish; by the time we received those we were already getting full as the portion were so generous! The shrimps and the fish were very tasty and perfectly cooked; juicy and tender.

The plate of grilled vegetables came last with a garlic sauce and a combination of crunchy mushroom, peppers, courgettes and onions.

Photo 2016-04-20, 6 28 42 PM

It was a delicious dinner and we highly recommend Poissonnerie Rayan for any type of fresh seafood craving one may have. It provides for deliciously fresh and affordable seafood. The quantities were so generous that we managed to go home with a doggie back for several meals.

Minor elements of note is that the seasoning used can be quite uniform so you have got to be in the mood for it. As well the overall look and cleanness of the restaurant could be improved.

Service: 7
Venue: 6
Food presentation: 7
Food taste: 9
Dessert: N/A
Wine selection / advice: N/A
Cost: 9 $35 (per person before tip)
Overall: 8

Address: 6080 Côte-des-Neiges, Montreal , QC H3S 1Z7

http://restaurantrayan.com/en/

Poissonnerie et Restaurant Rayan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Maison Boulud

We love Maison Boulud and the cuisine of Chef Riccardo Bertolino! We have been there for breakfast, lunch and dinner, tried the regular menus, the tasting menus, the amazing desserts and great wine selection.
It is one of our favorite restaurants in Montreal and we will for ever recall an amazing spring tasting menu that was one of our most perfect dining experience. The fact that chef Bertolino came to introduce himself at the end of our meal did not hurt!
On this occasion we arrived at Maison Boulud at 9:30pm; the restaurant was full and bustling. Given that we did not have reservations, after a short wait, we were seated in the newly minted bar section of the restaurant. This bar section provided for a slightly more upbeat vibe in comparison to the somewhat aged and uptight ambience of the dining room. It also provided for a great view of the team hard at work passionately working to create the wonderful dishes we were about to taste.
Being quite hungry, we ordered an assortment of food, including oysters and the homemade pita as a starter, the smoked salmon blinis and lobster gnocchetti to continue and the coconut and grenadine mousse to conclude. The food was excellent as usual and the coral emulsion accompanying the gnocchetti was particularly worth a mention.
maison boulud coconut and grenadine
However that Saturday night, for a late dinner, the service was quite sloppy. It felt as if we were in a “by Decarie boulevard” steakhouse with the staff ready to go home and not in a highly rated fine dinning restaurant. No bread was offered to us, our water glasses remained empty and our plates were not timely cleared. This particularly disappoint as we had previously received excellent service dining at Maison Boulud and that night was particularly sub-standard given the standing of this restaurant. I must also mention that although we are completely believe that great food can command great prices, we felt that paying almost $50 for 20 gnocchetti and 4 minuscule pieces of lobster was a bit over the top!
Nonetheless, we have since and will return again to Maison Boulud, the cuisine is excellent and it is a must try to all.
 Rating from 1 to 10:
Service: 6
Venue: 7.5
Food presentation: 8
Food taste: 8.5
Dessert: 9
Wine selection / advice: N/A
Cost: 7 $100 (per person before tax and tip 3 courses and without wine)
Overall: 8
Address: 1228 Rue Sherbrooke O, Montréal, QC H3G 1H6

Maison Boulud Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

H4C

“Haca Quattro Chi” as I have re-christened it, is an isolated but popular restaurant in Montreal. It made several lists of best restaurants in the city and the Chef Dany Bolduc seem to be a regular of the Montreal food scene.
The restaurant stands in a former bank and the location has been well used.  You can still see by the kitchen the massive vault doors, with Chef Bolduc leaning on them overseen the action from this privileged vantage point. The restaurant is small and offers table sitting as well as bar sitting. We opt for the bar with its view on the kitchen and the little mixology corner with fresh cocktail making ingredients.
At first glance the menu is intriguing, full of worldly flavor that you do not often see on the menu of mainstream restaurants in Montreal. Tamarind, curry, coriander, coconut, tandoori, kefir all made appearance on the menu next to octopus, carpaccio, gravlax etc. We feel adventurous and ready to explore the concoctions on the menu.
As starters we opt for the veal carpaccio and the Gravlax with yogurt and curry. The carpaccio was placed on a poppadum and is complimented with lime, curry, onions, tamarin and coriander and the gravlax also has some curry and yogurt.
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We excitedly try our dishes but are right away a bit disappointed; our starters were both, not very well balanced: inadequate acidity level and overly salty (to the point of being unpleasant to eat).
Following, we have the quail with strawberry and tamarind again and chili and the tandoori octopus with yogurt, rice and some crunch given by cashew and coconut (this is the start dish of the house we are told). The main are more balanced but all those exotic flavors still don’t quite balance. The quail needed more acidity and more chili and the octopus and rice did not make for a happy marriage with the curry spices.
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From my dining experience, it is clear that Chef Bolduc knows about food and flavor balancing. Each ingredient on the plate seems to have been carefully thought out to create the perfect dish with the right level of sweetness, acidity spiciness. Each dish is a delicate assemblage that unfortunately, does not quite stands on its own with, each dish missing something or having a little too much of something.
That said H4C is definitely some uniquely creative cuisine and seems to be a lot of fun to put together. We also must absolutely mention the service at H4C which we really enjoyed, it was professional, yet casual and cordial!

Rating from 1 to 10:

Service:9
Venue:7
Food presentation:8
Food taste:6.5
Deserts:N/A
Wine selection /advice:7.5
Cost:7 ($93 per person before tax and tip 2 course and 2 glasses of wine)

Overall:7

Address: 538 Place St-Henri Montréal, Qc, H4C 2R9

http://leh4c.com/en/

Le H4C Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato