The latest from Lucille's Oyster Dive gets a nod from Lesley Chesterman this week. The steak and seafood restaurant is in upmarket Westmount; an enclave of Montreal that perplexes the Gazette critic: "Of all the restaurant neighbourhoods I’ve frequented, Westmount has been the hardest to grasp. (...) [W]hat surprises me most is that when I do find a Westmount restaurant to review, most of them are straight out of a Fellini film." While Brasserie Lucilles is not quite 8½, Chesterman attributes its early success to the neighbourhood's proclivity for a boisterous scene. Which the restaurant definitely is, she warns: "This place is noisy, possibly even the noisiest restaurant I’ve ever experienced. I basically yelled my way through dinner, gave up exhausted by the end, and woke up with a splitting headache the next day."
Decibel level aside, there is much to like. Cocktails are excellent, the wine list is very good, and, as expected, oysters are "pristine and perfectly shucked." Moreover, two of three starters, chicken tacos and a wedge salad, are hits (crab cakes, alas, less so). A "wallet cruncher" of a rib steak is a standout: "Ideally cooked to the perfect medium-rare, the steak is not only full-flavoured but brilliantly spiced. What a great hunk of meat, and the fries and chimichurri sauce served alongside are also beyond reproach."
Chesterman is less complimentary about other mains; specifically the Portuguese chicken and lobster ravioli. Desserts, too, disappoint, though a carrot cake gets a mildly enthusiastic "good." On the whole, Lucilles has many pros. Service is "warm and faultless" and oysters and steaks are first-rate. And yet, concludes Chesterman: "In the end, I exited this new Lucilles with my ears ringing thanks to the noise and poorer thanks to the bill. But weakened as I was by the experience, everyone around me seemed to be having a heck of a time." Two stars on four.