It is one of the most anticipated new restaurants in Montreal. Montreal Plaza, the long-awaited project from ex-Toqué! chef Charles-Antoine Crête and partner Cheryl Johnson. Crête recently sat down to discuss the concept with Tastet. Here are 10 key (translated) facts:
1. Why Plaza St-Hubert? "It's been a year that we were seriously thinking about it. We find the neighbourhood is very cool, interesting, and has life. We're receiving a lot of love from people. We love our location. People are super excited, it's really fun."
2. Montreal Plaza is for everyone. "Now it's like, 'if you're not a cook, you won't get the concept.’ We don't want that. We want a restaurant accessible to all; from 0 to 100. Everyone."
3. Montreal Plaza is a family affair. "With this restaurant I want to recreate my parents' house; my mother collects flowers, and there will be a room with flowers, my father is a wood-worker and sculptor and a lot of the wood in the restaurant will be fashioned by him; he collects clocks and on the walls we will have some old clocks."
4. Montreal Plaza will be very unpretentious. "At our restaurant, you're barely in the door and we hand you a glass of wine. I want that kind of atmosphere. I don't want to impress anyone, I just want people to feel welcome and good, like at home."
5. Montreal Plaza will be open seven days a week for dinner. Breakfast is a possibility but definitely not brunch. "Not brunch okay. I hate that term."
6. The restaurant has veteran staff in place. Amin Nasrahllah, who spent a decade at Toqué!, will be chef de cuisine. Sophie Juneau, late of Le Continental, will run the kitchen with Johnson. Sébastien Blanchette, also a partner in Montreal Plaza, will run the front of house. Samuel Chevalier is in charge of the beverage program.
7. The menu will range from $12 to $30. "There will be a backbone of dishes that stay, but also tweaked classics; 50% classics, 50% specials."
8. Montreal Plaza's design is courtesy the prolific Zébulon Perron, with an assist from Crête. "We worked together to develop a space that resembles us both. Zeb, he brings a vision and has the sensitivity to recognize my vision too; it is two heads thinking of this space. Sometimes I tell him: it's too nice, stop! It has to be less pretty."
9. Crête will be present. "I'm opening a restaurant to be in it. I'll have my little office and everything to be able to watch the game with Normand [Laprise] and Martin [Picard]. I like that. I can't wait."
10. Montreal Plaza, at 6230 Saint-Hubert in Plaza St-Hubert, will open sometime in August.