It's been some time since a Montreal food critic re-assessed Orange Rouge, the unorthodox Chinatown restaurant that opened in November 2013 with much promise and excitement. After some personnel changes Lesley Chesterman weighed in last summer on chef Minh Phat's food (two and a half stars on four, get the ribs and the duck), but eight months on, in the dregs of winter, it's useful to see what another critic thinks.
“On mange chez Orange Rouge des choses intrigantes et inattendues,” Jean-Philippe Tastet writes in Le Devoir today. Intrepid diners rejoice. Or, as it were, lovers of leafy vegetables less visible on Montreal tables, such as a salad of chrysanthemum. “Les pousses sont tendres, goûteuses, à peine craquantes comme on aime que la verdure le soit,” assures Tastet. Slam dunk crowd–pleasers like popcorn shrimp and jumbo oysters in black bean sauce also go down well.
The critic runs down other faves from Phat and company, from roast duck and Vietnamese-style beef, to sautéed squid and soft-shell crab. All “vous assureront de ressortir d’ici en ayant trouvé de nouveaux amis et une nouvelle adresse de grande qualité.” Tastet's too polite to knock Orange Rouge's desserts — his silence, as usual, speaks volumes. Otherwise, the restaurant wheedles a strong recommend, for lunch or dinner, from the Devoir scribe.