One of Montreal's most prominent chefs took one of the city's most prominent critics to task yesterday for what some feel was an unusually harsh review of Les Coudes sur la Table.
Marie-Claude Lortie did not couch her disappointment in the restaurant on Ste-Catherine Est in her La Presse review. Some of the (translated) lowlights:
- "One wonders just why we are here. The other guests that I convinced to join me also ask me the question: why are we here?"
- "We're accustomed to better elsewhere."
- "Apparently, the fact that the room was empty was no accident or misfortune."
The jabs belie the fact that Lortie seemed to enjoy about half the food sent out by Eater chef of the year nominee Cédric Deslandes. But the pointed barbs are what stand out in a review that is at odds with relative raves of Les Coudes from four other top critics, Lesley Chesterman, Thierry Daraize, Gildas Meneu (late of Voir) and Jean-Philippe Tastet.
The review prompted star chef Martin Juneau (Pastaga, Pub Sir Joseph) to post this on Facebook (translated):
"So easy to judge others. But when it comes to criticizing the business–or to harm it in some way-someone who has put his heart, his ideas, his money and HIS BALLS on (or under) the table, we should perhaps think about the consequences of our actions. Especially if said business supports his family. That obviously applies to this review, but I have other examples ..."
"My point was mainly this: What right does one have to harm or even destroy the enterprise (the dream, the finances, etc) of someone else when one is an employee. How do we judge an entrepreneur when our own job security depends on our employer and not our OWN MEANS! The article I posted only permitted me to let off a bit of steam. I've passed my message. Now I feel better."
Juneau's rant has been shared 54 times so far, with multiple comments from fellow Montreal chefs in support of Deslandes and Les Coudes sur la Table.
Addendum: Jean-François Vachon, the chef at Thursday's, left this comment on the Eater Montreal Facebook page today in response to the original post.
"J'ai eu droit au même traitement de la part de Lortie du temps du Projet 67, ce serait franchement le temps qu'un journal comme La presse agisse et nous débarrasse de cette amateure qui n'a aucune crédibilité dans le milieu, on s'ennui de Robert Beauchemin, et je ne parle même pas de Mme Keller qui doit se retourner dans sa tombe..."
Addendum: Les Coudes sur la Table releases a statement.