Downtown Montreal's dynamic Place des Arts enclave just got another shot in the arm, and from a familiar source, at that. Mélanie Blanchette and François Nadon, the duo behind the successful and much-lauded Bouillon Bilk, have expanded their restaurant footprint in the Quartier des Spectacles with Cadet. Not unreasonably far behind schedule either; the project was originally slated for April. The new restaurant (not a wine bar, as previously speculated), on Saint-Laurent, between de Maisonneuve and Sainte-Catherine, is a little clandestine, and a little unexpected. This is classic Blanchette and Nadon — Cadet, with no official physical signage or announcements, has taken a page from Bouillon Bilk's understated playbook. The exterior of the restaurant still bears the marker 'Bon Blé Riz', in fact. The facelift of the former military surplus store was handled by Yelle Maillé, the same firm behind Bouillon Bilk's elegant look.
Cadet, in a sense, is an outgrowth of Bouillon Bilk's unmitigated, and enviable success. "Even with the expansion of Bouillon Bilk [two years ago], spontaneity became impossible — Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, we had to refuse clients,” Blanchette told Tastet blog. “We knew there was a need [for another restaurant]. Now customers will be able to try both and come for various reasons.”
Cadet's menu accents smaller plates to share, a bit of a departure from its big sister restaurant, with the likes of smoked mushrooms, a house focaccia and cheese, broccoli with blue cheese, scallops, oysters, cod, crab, clams curry, chicken wings, chorizo, tartares, terrine of venison, chicken livers, and a basse côte de boeuf.
The kitchen is helmed by Bouillon Bilk veteran Antonio Ferreira. Pastry chef Melody Perez Mousseau, another Bouillon Bilk staffer, currently has a rhubarb tart, banana split, and chocolate cake on her dessert lineup. Nicolas Charron Boucher's wine list features private imports between $40 and $100, and there are beers and some cocktails created by Félix Roy. The front-of-house at Cadet is led by Elise Villeneuve and Laura Bernard, Tastet also reports. "The most fun is being able to take people from Bouillon Bilk and grow with them, get them involved with another project, see how strong a team we have," remarked Blanchette. Exciting times for Quartier des Spectacles dining — downtown Montreal has arguably never had it so good.
Status: Cadet, 1431 Saint-Laurent, corner de Maisonneuve, (look for the 'Bon Blé Riz' sign), (514) 903-1631. Now open from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m., Monday to Sunday.