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État-Major Is Not Your Ordinary BYOW Restaurant

Le Devoir with the review this week

État-Major

On an ordinary Friday night, in an east end neighbourhood that so often struggles to rise out of the ordinary, it's unrealistic, perhaps, to expect the extraordinary. And yet, at État-Major, the bring-your-own-wine restaurant from Dominic Laflamme and Vincent Chatelais, there's definitely something out of the ordinary in the air. So begins Jean-Philippe Tastet's review today in Le Devoir.

The HoMa bistro makes a nice impression with its unpretentious, wall-mounted menu, and its solicitous service. Too many restaurants take patrons for illiterate morons by reading the menu verbatim, writes Tastet. That doesn't happen at État-Major. Unfortunately, the first dish the critic samples, a cream soup "de plusieurs choses insignifiantes," is completely forgettable. A salad composed of thinly sliced radishes, judiciously dressed, fares much better, as do starters of salmon and beef, "légèrement citronné, souligné d’érable et d’échalote."

On to the mains. A Gaspor pork chop with eggplant purée, Brussels sprouts, carrots, red wine jus, and caramelized onion sour cream earns a modest "bien faite" from Tastet. Gaspésie char is served with accompaniments — samphire, tzatziki, marinated cauliflower salad, onion crisps — that demonstrate the chef's savvy. A filet of veal, served with hummus, minted bulgur, lemon zest confit, chives, scallions, and more of those thin radish slices, is perfectly cooked. The kitchen then sends out a take on surf and turf (Tastet was made by État-Major's owner when he walked in); the plate consists of fresh pasta in chicken broth, and a Cornish hen ballottine with grilled shrimp. Tastet's not one to comment on complimentary dishes on principle, but "celui-ci était si savoureux que ce serait péché de ne pas vous le signaler."

Desserts are quite decent at État-Major. Not revolutionary, but Tastet musters no complaints about a warm doughnut with vanilla ice cream and salted caramel, and a lemon semifreddo with spicy speculoos crumble and clementine segments in syrup. This is a good restaurant, the critic concludes. "Tous les gens qui travaillent ici semblent en effet heureux de ce qu’ils font." More proof that État-Major is one of Montreal's essential BYOBs.

État-Major

4005 Ontario Est, Montreal, Quebec H1W 1T1 (514) 905-8288 Visit Website

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