With the critic for Le Journal de Montréal fresh off raves at the likes of Le Fantôme and La Table des Gourmets, Le Gladstone was in tough this week. Thierry Daraize takes enormous pains to criticize (no surprise), but read between the lines and the takeaways from his review of the Westmount bistro lean negative. First off, the concept—a bistro-brasserie française—has been done to death: "C’est vu et revu partout, je me demande jusqu’à quel point ce concept n’est pas un peu usé." The décor is nice enough—too bad the vibe is stale. "Bref, l’ambiance était absente, c’est bien dommage."
The kitchen does little to improve Daraize's assessment of Le Gladstone. Céleri rémoulade with boudin tartine is decent, but a lobster roll is hard, rubbery even. "L’assaisonnement manque, l’enrobage de la sauce aussi, nous sommes déçus." Lamb shank is "parfaitement cuit, bien assaisonné", but at $39, tough to swallow, especially when compared with La Table des Gourmets' succulent, more sophisticated lamb dish at $31, sampled a few weeks earlier. (One crucial difference: Le Gladstone pays rent in Westmount, not Val-David.) Still, the point Daraize seems reluctant to make that is that good bang for the buck is absent at Le Gladstone. The food is just not up to snuff, and, moreover, expensive. The restaurant earns three stars on five; a rather deceptive rating, really, and based largely on the fact that it's a family business. Daraize has a weakness for such things, obviously, and is quick to forgive Le Gladstone's defects. Will diners?