Pastaga, the well-regarded Little Italy restaurant from Martin Juneau and Louis-Philippe Breton, gets another look from the food critic for Le Journal de Montréal this week. A little over four years in, Pastaga "fait toujours le bonheur des gourmands," affirms Thierry Daraize. In need of some comfort, "un petit câlin de gourmandise," the critic makes a beeline for the restaurant for Sunday brunch. Take the kids, counsels Daraize. Pastaga is on the higher end of the dining spectrum, but plays it pretty relaxed weekend mornings. For non-breeders, the space is plenty intimate too.
Brunch starts off well, with choux pastry filled with delicate cream and pistachio paste. "Oh mon Dieu! Un pur délice!," exults Daraize. We're far from the usual eggs Benedict here. Up next, two albacore tuna burritos, stuffed with guacamole, potato, black beans, pineapple, and yogurt. Very pleasant, and well-balanced.
On to mushrooms, herb salad, and a poached egg on toast. Not as strong a dish, writes Daraize. The mushrooms are served on top of the egg (the critic prefers the yolk ooze over the fungi), and lack punch. A lamb burger fares much better. The use of sliced bread as a bun is a surprise, but the flavour bombs sealed inside the patty, and from top-notch garnishes, make up for it. The taste of marinated onions lingers, however, well past dessert; delicious chocolate crêpes with berries.
Ultimately, Daraize proclaims Pastaga's brunch one of the most generous in town, and awards it three and a half stars on five. An option then, perhaps, for the long Easter weekend, when the restaurant opens exceptionally on Monday for brunch as well.