Chef John Winter Russell and company have another rave to celebrate today. A month after Le Devoir critic Jean-Philippe Tastet named Candide a contender for best new Montreal restaurant, the Little Burgundy spot has won over Thierry Daraize in similar fashion. "Une expérience complète à découvrir," extols the critic for Le Journal de Montréal this week.
Candide's charms are manifold, hints Daraize: the renovated St. Joseph's Church space; the lively ambiance that's low-key enough to let diners talk, and not shout; the warmth of maître d’hôtel Valérie Bélisle; the wines proposed by Emily Campeau. The menu at Candide, a four-course $45 prix fixe, with $40 optional wine supplement, is pretty good too. Red cabbage, smoked sturgeon, and yogurt elicits a "Bravo!". Carrot, pheasant, and oats is "Un pur délice!". Another dish, venison, is a bit firm for the critic's taste, but overall the dish, with cipollini onions and pine, is delicious. Candide's take on root veg of the moment, celeriac, charcoal-grilled and served with surf clams and leeks, is "fantastique, carrément divin, fondant en bouche." Desserts fare well too: of the two on offer, Daraize prefers the angelica cake with honey and scotch lovage. The final verdict for Candide? A hefty four and a half stars on five.