Montreal diners get a nice reminder from Le Devoir critic Jean-Philippe Tastet today that Antonio Park's Lavanderia, fifteen months in, is terrific. The restaurant that showcases Park's South American roots looks (photo gallery here) "un peu asiatique, un peu latino, un peu québécois" and, on the plate, shows "aucune hésitation." "Beaucoup de fraîcheur, de couleurs invitantes, de saveurs rassurantes," writes Tastet.
The first plate from Lavanderia's kitchen, where chefs Takeshi Horinoue and Paul Posada preside, is a showstopper. Sea bass ceviche with corn, red onion, coriander, sweet potato purée, lime, and aji amarillo paste is "si bon que l’on a forcément des craintes pour la suite." There's no need to worry, of course; the next dish, a jicama and chayote salad, sends Tastet to the brink of ecstasy (his words).
Lavanderia is a parrilla of course, and so it's on to meatier stuff. A half Cornish hen, skin spiced and golden, is inhaled. Tastet's Black Angus 1855 sirloin steak is perfect, cooked as requested, and "impeccable." Sides like roasted, seasonal vegetables cost extra at Lavanderia, and, while not the stars of the show, are worth a try. Save room too, Tastet advises, for pastry chef Rebecca Belleau's desserts, namely, on this occasion, chocolate-peanut cake with dulce de leche ice cream, and apple pie. Consensus: Lavanderia's worth a splurge. Call this the week of unanimity from the city's food writers.