Thazard, the Japanese bistro from Edward Zaki, Dave Schmidt, Pierre-Olivier Besmer, and chef Hachiro Fujise, scores a solid write-up in the Montreal Gazette this week. The restaurant is a suitable complement to other Main hot spots in Mile End, asserts Lesley Chesterman. The critic favourably compares Thazard's buzzy millennial vibe with the strip's 1980s heyday, when the bygone Lux was the place to be. The difference with Thazard? Better food (despite management's apparent decision to drop the much-hyped French-style guéridon service). "What a treat it was to be in this stunning space filled with young diners feasting on spring rolls, salmon and ramen," beams Chesterman.
Hits from Fujise's kitchen include salmon tataki, green papaya salad, chicken karaage, and tonkotsu ramen. But then comes the poutine: "The poutine was piggier and even more delicious. Starting with a bowl of dreamy french fries, the poutine variation included a topping of kimchee, miso butter and cheddar cheese curds. The combination of flavours was an absolute treat, with a serious dose of tang boosting every bite along with the gooey cheese and perfect fries. I ate the whole bowl. Wonderful."
Cocktails, the modest wine list, and even desserts, impress Chesterman, who concludes that while her "generation was lucky to have hot spots like Lux to make us feel with it in our youth, I’m kind of jealous that young people today can enjoy restaurants like Thazard with its slick decor and inventive Asian menu." Verdict: Two and a half stars on four.