Welcome to Eater Scenes, where photographer Randall Brodeur visits key Montreal restaurants to capture them at a very specific time of day. Today, a special holiday edition at Maison Boulud Ritz-Carlton.
When Montreal's Ritz-Carlton hotel re-emerged in 2012 after a $200 million facelift, the Golden Square Mile got its crown jewel back, and, with it, some of its strut. The city's bygone, moneyed anglophone uptown, from Ravenscrag to the Beaver Club, felt newly burnished, and invigorated. "The reopening of The Ritz-Carlton, Montreal makes a notable contribution to what makes our city different," then mayor Gérald Tremblay professed at the time.
Food has long made Montreal distinct too, but the city's downtown felt flat on that front (odd anomaly aside) before Daniel Boulud's Dinex Group took up residence at the Ritz with chef Riccardo Bertolino. In Boulud’s Maison Boulud, the Golden Square Mile has an occasion restaurant that befits the restored grande dame of Sherbrooke Street, and harkens back to an era that food writer Alan Richman fondly recalled in a 2013 interview.
"When I was working [in Montreal], the place was filled with wonderful, almost-French restaurants. There was a lot of cheese—maybe too much. I remember that. But wonderful French chefs, and every other day I ate in a restaurant that was almost like being in Paris. There was wonderful ambition and classic food. Wonderful times."
The Ritz revamp is no one-off for the landmark-laden district; another Golden Square Mile icon, the Mount Stephen Club, is about to undergo its own hotel and restaurant makeover, and speculation about the derelict Eaton's Ninth Floor restaurant has reached fever pitch. Other holiday-themed anchors of downtown Montreal remain—Ogilvy's Christmas window, Les Grands Ballets's run of Casse-Noisette at Place des Arts—and don't feel entirely out of step with an elegant lunch at the so-called new kid on the block, Maison Boulud. Enjoy the photos.