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After a Decade on Duluth, Vertige Gets Mixed Verdict From Critic

Some good, some bad for chef Thierry Baron.

Vertige

Wedged between Au Pied de Cochon and standout BYOB La Colombe, Vertige, the French-Mediterranean restaurant from chef Thierry Baron and Fadia Salabi, has stood the test of time for just over a decade. Baron offers "une cuisine généreuse à prix doux," affirms the food critic for Le Journal de Montréal this week. Moreover, Vertige was one of the first restaurants in Montreal "à mettre en évidence ce style de cuisine qui permet de faire un survol du menu sans être obligatoirement un menu dégustation imposé."

Despite Thierry Daraize's apparent fondness for the Duluth standby, and Vertige's winsome service and ambiance, not all is well. Coconut curry shrimps start dinner off on a good note, but Daraize takes umbrage with a braised veal shank. While tasty, "J’aurais juste souhaité que cette présentation soit en plusieurs petites bouchées croquantes". The next course, duck and porcini ravioli, is overcooked, though Daraize praises the sauce. Mushroom cavatelli with peas, Parmesan, and arugula is "la belle surprise de la ­soirée." "C’était vraiment délicieux, on se régale vraiment de cette composition de saveurs et de textures."

It's a tale of good and bad with braised lamb shanks, merguez, chickpeas, and couscous. All the components are there, but the meat is woefully underseasoned. Portuguese chicken is served with dry chorizo, "mais les assaisonnements, eux, sont impeccables." One of two desserts, a chocolate tart, scores. The other, however, an apple croustade, is a complete letdown. "Dommage!"

Daraize is as reluctant as ever to level overt criticism at chef chums, but clearly his experience at Vertige was, on balance, a disappointment. Verdict: "Des petits trucs ici et là, mais c’est un restaurant généreux."

Vertige

540 Duluth Ave. E, Montreal, QC

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