Two days after a "media" dinner, Chez Sophie is open in Griffintown, in the former Viva Galerie antique store.
The restaurant was a big hit with the usual bloggers and publicists. Every plate was met with a miam, it seems.
The restaurant is not the first from chef Sophie Tabet and husband Marco Marangi, who serves as both manager and sommelier. The couple had a restaurant in Beirut with the same name from August 2010 to February 2013. Tabet's father, Chérif, and brother Samir were principals as well. On the shutter of the first Chez Sophie, Samir Tabet told a Beirut newspaper: "The place was too large relative to demand in the segment of a semi-gourmet restaurant. This is an opportunity for Sophie and Marco to explore Paris, Montreal and Asia for a year to renew their culinary curiosity."
The orginal plan was to return to Beirut to re-open Chez Sophie but the Lebanese capital's loss is Montreal's gain, apparently. One Beirut blogger called the restaurant Lebanon's only Michelin star candidate and, upon learning of Tabet's departure, wrote: "I almost cried."
This excerpt from a Time Out Beirut review of Chez Sophie in 2011 may be of interest and serve as a caveat for Montreal diners as well: "Chez Sophie delivers the most upmarket French-Italian experience it can, but Parisian prices don't make a truly gourmet Parisian experience. Perhaps, though, the bankers won't notice."