The first review for the much-buzzed-about downtown restaurant Soubois, from a group of partners that includes Les Enfants Terribles, comes courtesy of Lesley Chesterman. The Montreal Gazette critic expresses some doubts from the outset. "As much as I enjoy a fun setting, I feared this restaurant’s supper club concept, not the food, was the priority. The last time I dined at the Les Enfants Terribles in Outremont, it was a huge disappointment. As this group’s experience is more bar/bistro than fine dining, expectations were low."
Surprise, surprise. Chesterman's dinner is "amazing." Chefs Guillaume Daly and S’Arto Chartier-Otis produce such gorgeous, delicious plates that the critic is at a loss to finger any foibles. There's a dull cocktail to start but, happily, the food more than makes up for it. The modus operandi at Soubois is Quebec ingredients—that can stray dangerously close to gimmickry but Chesterman swoons over salmon confit with sea-buckthorn chips, pickled cipollini onions, smoked crème fraîche, cucumber, radish, and lemon cream; venison tataki with beets, horseradish, and spruce; and "fabulous" mains like a wood-smoked hen with juniper, grilled peaches and, green beans. That wee fowl proves to be "the star of the show."
Desserts are less impressive but, overall, Chesterman admires "the risks this kitchen is taking with all sorts of wild edibles." The solid wine list from Master Sommelier Élyse Lambert is well-priced, and the service, "lovely." Don't call this place a supper club, hints Chesterman. "As wow-worthy as the setting may be, and as crazy as things must get after hours, the real action at Soubois is happening in the kitchen." Three stars on four.