Amid blockbuster announcements from Joël Robuchon and Arcade Fire, one of the best restaurants in Montreal is in the throes of a difficult, unplanned Outremont relocation. Damas was tragically gutted by a suspicious fire in February. The Syrian restaurant had, over the course of four years, garnered unanimously enthusiastic reviews. In 2014 Eater's roving critic Bill Addison wrote that Damas was evidence "that elegant Middle Eastern cooking is finally taking its overdue and deserved place in North America's food culture."
Several months after the deadly inferno, chef-owner Fuad Alnirabie tells Eater that it won't be long before loyal customers can sample his food again. "We should be open maximum by mid-June but the exact date is yet to be confirmed. We had many problems with the building and some permit delays with Outremont. The budget went too high and the financing became a challenge as a result. I'm confident though that we'll make it for that date, hopefully with few compromises to the concept and final design." The new Damas will be located in the old Influences restaurant at 1201 and 1205 Van Horne, corner Bloomfield. With Les Fillettes, the rebooted Paris Beurre, set to open across the street, it should make for a dynamic spring in Outremont.