Less than two months after it opened, the first review for Le Mousso is in, and, just wow, chef Antonin Mousseau-Rivard could not ask for better. Lesley Chesterman gives the Village/Centre-Sud newcomer a very rare three and a half stars on four, and falls for the chef's hyper-minimalist concept, and dégustation menu format—a format the Gazette critic calls, "Risky man, real risky."
Risky but effective. Mousseau-Rivard's cuisine is very personal and "prepared with a sharp technique and a wide array of cool ingredients and ideas," writes Chesterman. The son of singer Michel Rivard, and grandson of painter Jean-Paul Mousseau, offers not just an "artistic experience", but delicious food as well. It starts with a "dreamy" caviar-based amuse that hints at Mousseau-Rivard's penchant for "diverse-texture-meets-funky-flavour" mash-ups. There's celery root mousse with smoked trout and trout roe; carrots, confit-style and pickled, with ginger and garam masala sponge cake, goat's cheese cream, and apple molasses (Chesterman's favourite); and a "showstopper" dish of slow-cooked beef with nasturtium, charred onions, and sour cream. A couple of dishes are less successful (leeks and mussels, cod and matsutake mushrooms), but serve only to prove "that Mousseau-Rivard is human after all."
Happily, the meal ends well with a "mind-boggling" buttermilk ice cream, Oxalis leaves, pear, and peppered meringue. And while the lack of wine list is unconventional, Chesterman reserves praise Le Mousso's by-the-glass tasting menu pairings. Tally it up, and it's one of the critic's strongest reviews of 2015. "I exited Le Mousso elated, not only because my dinner was so stimulating but because I was just so thrilled to be eating seriously sophisticated food in Montreal again."