L'Auberge St-Gabriel sports big name owners with deep pockets like Marc Bolay, rocker Garou and, most notably, Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté.
The new star of the Old Montreal restaurant, however, is chef Émilie Rizzetto (a former contestant on Les chefs!), who took over from the enigmatic Éric Gonzalez this past summer.
Alas, the new look menu elicits a tepid review from Gazette critic Lesley Chesterman. Two stars:
"I was happy to hear that this restaurant was aiming for a more casual experience instead of trying to find someone to simulate the style of the former chef. But they haven’t really changed all that much. It’s as pricey, almost as fussy, and unfortunately, not as good as before. I think they need to rethink their rethought business plan."
Wine bar Pullman is as good as ever, asserts Jean-Philippe Tastet in Le Devoir. In a subtle reference to another Montreal critic, Tastet allows for a "minute de name-dropping danois" and writes:
"Dix ans après son ouverture, le Pullman n’a pas pris une ride, il a juste grandi et confirmé ce qu’il laissait présager aux premiers jours, c’est-à-dire que c’est une maison qui tient très bien la route."
Thierry Daraize is the first major critic to visit Lea, the new (and noisy) Iberian-style restaurant in Westmount from the Grinder and Hachoir group. The Journal de Montréal critic (behind the paywall) gives it a healthy three and a half stars on five:
"Attendu depuis des mois, la petite soeur du Grinder et du Hachoir, le restaurant Lea, est enfin ouvert. Chacun de ces trois restaurants, dans son registre, trouvera sa niche évidemment, mais pour l’instant c’est le restaurant Lea qui retient toute mon attention. Évidemment, une seule visite ne permet pas de toujours de tirer des conclusions, mais cette première expérience culinaire est bien prometteuse."
Sarah Musgrave walks her casual beat over to Mile End to Mile End, a "new generation, old school Portuguese" restaurant. The Gazette critic gives the churrascaria from sibling act Grace and Nelson Oliveira her "Good Bet" endorsement, mostly on the strength of poultry:
"But what mattered more was that grilled chicken, that churrasqueira gold standard, was delicious. A subtle smokiness from the charcoal had enveloped the barbecued half-bird on my plate, getting under the slightly gold and charred skin to the juicy meat, the best kind of wake up call with a brush of that piri piri on top."