Lower downtown Montreal, on the edge of the Quartier International, is not exactly a restaurant mecca. But Albert Bistro, a relative newcomer, is well worth a detour, writes Jean-Philippe Tastet today. The critic for Le Devoir assures prospective diners that once they taste chef Jean-Philippe Desjardins' and sous chef Billy Galindo's food, they will feel compelled to book a return trip. Albert is a restaurant you want to introduce to good friends, writes Tastet.
The critic samples "quatre plats irréprochables" at the bistro for lunch: impeccable cold cucumber and melon soup; delicious turbot and whelk ceviche; radish and cantaloupe salad with poached egg, nuts, goat's cheese croquettes, and honey-mustard vinaigrette; and, finally, a dish fit for a fancier restaurant that consists of trout, broad beans, and mashed potatoes with lobster bisque Thermidor. Quadruple round of applause and trumpets, drums and cymbals, declares Tastet. Lunch at Albert? Winner.
On to the critic's dinner at the restaurant. A parade of smaller plates are sampled, all of which elicit "des 'Oh !' et des 'Ah !' unanimes" from Tastet's table. Hits range from chicken liver mousse with chokecherry and speculoos, to a salad of crisp vegetables, mozzarella di buffalla, pea purée, and, finally, two "belles" slices of brioche sausage with a mustard made from elderberry must. Albert's beef tartare is good enough "à vous faire regretter d’avoir mangé des tartares ailleurs." Of three desserts ordered, two are good, and one excellent.
Needless to say, it's a "coup de coeur" verdict from the critic. Go eat here, counsels Tastet. Thanks to their charming establishment, Albert Bistro's owners have single-handedly transformed an ordinary stretch of the city into a food destination of note.