The makeover of the bygone Van Horne (see gallery below) officially opens to the public today after a soft launch. Provisions is the brainchild of manager, and front-of-house guru, Tina An, and chefs Hakim Rahal and Pablo Rojas. The industry vets have spent considerable time in other people's restaurants and are now poised, and excited, to helm their own project. Rahal spoke at length about the 25-seater yesterday, offering a coherent glimpse of what to expect food-wise from the Outremont newcomer.
"For last week's soft opening we were working with sockeye salmon, rockfish, and humboldt squid all from Organic Ocean, onglet (tartare and cooked) from Laroche farms, and duckling from Canard Goulu. Our vegetables are mostly from Birri. In terms of the menu, we've been able to change a couple times already with an emphasis on rotating our veg offerings and garnishes—the no-menu concept has been really well received so far."
"The no-menu concept has been really well received so far."
Last week Rahal revealed that the kitchen featured "beets and melon with home-made ricotta; raw and cured salmon with cucumber, grapefruit and coriander seed yogurt; beef tartare with roasted eggplant, miso sauce, piquillo pepper and pickled beech mushrooms; foie gras and pig's head terrine with cherries, almonds and radish; humboldt squid with flat beans, chopped egg, confit tomatoes and dried salami; rockfish poached in pumpkin seed mole with corn, cranberry beans and lobster mushrooms; duckling: seared breast and confit leg stuffed with duck salami with roasted, glazed carrots, sunflower and sesame seeds. If people take a stroll through Jean-Talon Market on any given day, they'll have a pretty good idea of what we'll be serving."
"If people take a stroll through Jean-Talon Market on any given day, they'll have a pretty good idea of what we'll be serving."
The menu concept at Provisions will be pretty straightforward, offered Rahal. "We let people know the main ingredients that we have in house, but part of the fun has been the element of surprise so I can't let slide the coming weeks menu. For our protein, we're working almost exclusively with small responsible producers, with an emphasis on sustainable seafood (I know I know...who isn't! But it's important to us!). As far as the details go, if people take a stroll through the Jean Talon market on any given day, they'll have a pretty good idea of what we'll be serving." Provisions' food will be complemented by a wine list built by sommelier Francis Arkinson (H4C), and a cocktail program headed by Jason Griffin (Maison Boulud).
"To us it's more interesting for everyone, and has encouraged a really fun interaction with the customer."
As far as pricing goes, this is how the menu breaks down. "If people want apps or mains alone, we fix a standard price across the board based on the products. Last week it was $15 for apps, $27 for mains, and $8 for desserts. After that we have a prix fixe option for those who want their own app/main/dessert. What we've been encouraging, and what most clients have opted for, is a tasting of sharing plates. We send out three or four apps in two or three services, followed by smaller portions of mains and dessert, all to share. It lets people taste way more, and helps us in the kitchen. Pablo and I are pretty detail oriented and to send out the food to our standard, it's easier to do, say, two plates at a time for a four-top rather than everyone having a plate. To us it's more interesting for everyone, and has encouraged a really fun interaction with the customer."
Status: Provisions, 1268 Van Horne, (514) 508-0828, now Tuesday to Saturday, 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.