Brasserie Harricana, a craft brewery and restaurant in unlikely Jean-Talon Ouest digs, is a boon to the Park Ex, Little Italy, and Villeray corridor, writes Lesley Chesterman. The Gazette critic, whose ambit expanded to include more casual restaurants after Sarah Musgrave's departure from the paper this past winter, thinks Harricana nails the formula: "An original concept is always welcome, really good food will always play in a restaurant’s favour and a lower price point helps. These three attributes are probably what make Brasserie Harricana such a hit, and to those I would add a fourth: beer."
Beer is the draw, undoubtedly, "but what I really liked about Brasserie Harricana was the food," professes Chesterman. "The menu is part modernized tavern snacks and part comfort food. From the first bite to the last, it was obvious the person in the kitchen can really cook." The cook at Brasserie Harricana, as it turns out, is owner Marie-Pier Veilleux's mother, Danielle. Over two visits, for dinner and lunch, Chesterman samples fattoush, a Caesar salad, beer can chicken, veal liver, a burger, club sandwich, kale salad, and the ultimate hangover cure, a "pain poutine sauce maman." The Québécois tavern fare converts the critic, for the most part. "Mme Veilleux and crew’s cooking is not complicated, but the ingredients are first class, the plating is clean and the seasoning is bang on."
In conclusion Chesterman calls Harricana a "brilliant new restaurant" and awards the microbrewery three stars on four. "I’m not the world’s biggest beer lover, but after a few meals here, that’s bound to change."