It's only February, but an early review of the year candidate was just filed by the food critic for Le Devoir. Tuck Shop, the standout Saint-Henri restaurant from Jon Bloom, Amelia Stines, and chef Theo Lerikos, has the honour. It's amusing to read Jean-Philippe Tastet's preamble, wherein he instructs his francophone audience not to be fooled by appearances. Tuck Shop is not just "un resto anglo pour les gens de Westmount ou de Côte-Saint-Luc et Hampstead qui descendent s’encanailler dans Saint-Henri," the critic reassures, tongue planted somewhat firmly in cheek.
Language silliness dispensed with, it's on to Lerikos and company's food. Two starters hit the mark: pork belly with aged gouda, oyster mushrooms, and julienned chioggia beets, and grilled octopus with a deconstructed samosa and onion rings. "Mis à part le fait que la chose est détaillée 21 $ (sans doute à cause du chou-fleur dont le cours a récemment explosé), tout est parfait."
A main of Cornish hen, white carrot purée, tabouleh, pine nuts, confit lemon, cassis, and a red wine reduction is so delicious, the critic "prévois retourner là juste pour cette assiette." Veal cheeks with bone marrow is assiduously mopped up with bread from Hof Kelsten. For dessert, it's apple-cranberry pie made by Lerikos' mother, served with homemade vanilla ice cream. Winner, and, all told, one of Tastet's most enthusiastic reviews in recent months.