Jellyfish crudo+charbon, a relatively new Old Montreal restaurant from Francis Rodrigue (of Longueuil restaurants Madame Thai and Magia), and Roberto Pesut (Buonanotte, Globe), nabs a solid write-up this week in the Gazette. Lesley Chesterman likes the revamp of the former Aziatik in the Nouvel Europa development, and most of what comes out of chef Mathieu Masson Duceppe's kitchen. "There are 16-foot-high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows and a stunning central bar. Beautiful chandeliers grace the front of the space and the colour scheme is black, white, grey and leaf green."
Dinner gets off to a bit of a rocky start with two so-so cocktails. Once Chesterman focuses on the wine list, however, her mood improves. Duceppe's starters help, too. The first to hit the table elicits an eye roll, but the chef's duck tataki, Reese's Pieces style, is no gimmick. "Seared on the outside and raw on the inside, the duck breast was served with a peanut sauce and a hoisin sauce spiked with chocolate. Fabulous!" Other winners include dates with bacon and a goat's cheese espuma, and pork belly with an Asian-style slaw, aioli, and a slow-cooked egg. There are some inherent problems with both, but on balance, Chesterman enjoys the apps.
The critic ranks three mains thusly: curry-crusted salmon, a rack of pork with pear, ginger and soy, and white miso cod. The salmon, with yogurt and shallots confit, provokes a "What’s not to love?" The pork is "very good," and the cod, while "quite bland" gets a boost from sides like Brussels sprouts with bacon.
There are some glaring missteps from Jellyfish, however. Two of three desserts ordered are total duds (Chesterman recommends the strawberry cream with stewed rhubarb and strawberry). Service too, borders on overbearing, a sign that the new restaurant lacks confidence. Still, Chesterman is optimistic. "[I]t’s still early days, and I’m convinced it won’t be long before Jellyfish fulfils its glamorous destiny." Verdict: Two and a half stars on four.