The critic for Le Journal de Montréal pays Mimi la Nuit a visit this week. Better late than never; the bar with food from principals Michel Lemieux, Edward Zaki (Chez Victoire, BarBounya), Simple Plan's Jeff Stinco (Mangiafoco, Le Shinji, Laurea, Lorbeer, Drinkerie), and chef Eloi Dion, opened just over a year ago in the ex Piano Rouge in Old Montreal.
Thierry Daraize is a huge fan of the space—"L’ambiance est parfaite pour ceux qui souhaitent sortir dans un lieu relax, chic, mais pas pompeux."—but reserves the full brunt of his exuberance for the food. Leeks, mushrooms, whelks, and smoked onion is a shoo-in contender for app of the year. Beets, peaches, carrots, oregano, and crème fraîche spruces up a tired staple, but the herb overpowers. A tartare of onglet, conversely, wows, thanks in part to tangy anchovy cream. Blackened chicken with broccoli, celeriac, and cipollini is a standout; swordfish with squash, onion, rapini, and roasted garlic is described by Daraize as "trop neutre."
Two fine desserts, warm service, and a strong wine and cocktail list ensure that Mimi le Nuit comes out relatively unscathed, however. The room is much too noisy for Daraize's taste, but with four stars on five, the resto-bar is plainly one of the critic's coups de coeur of 2015.