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Critics Review Moleskine, Larry's, Taverne F

And La Presse asks: "Is Milos too expensive?"

Dishes from Taverne F
Dishes from Taverne F
Facebook/Taverne F

With construction season looming, there are fewer new restaurants opening up as Montrealers flee for summer vacations. Thus, the critics took the opportunity to check in on some not-quite-new establishments this week.

— Over at the Gazette, Lesley Chesterman writes that she fell hard for Moleskine, the McGill Ghetto brainchild of sommelier Véronique Dalle and chef Frédéric St-Aubin, which opened up in May. Chesterman took on Moleskine's more formal upstairs dining room, which overlooks a larger and more casual main floor section, and had universal praise for the meal. "The fresh and fabulous food, the stellar wine program, the laid-back ambiance and edgy decor seem to epitomize the best of what the Montreal restaurant scene has to offer these days." Chesterman directed her best compliments at mains such as the duck magret and pasta vongole, and could only muster up one complaint - that the fumes from the downstairs pizza oven were slightly overpowering. Three stars. [Gazette]

— Further north, Jean-Philippe Tastet visits the small plates-oriented little brother of Lawrence, Larry's, as it approaches its six-month anniversary. When Tastet isn't fixating on the so-called "hipstery" tattoos of the kitchen staff, he offers plenty of positive remarks, though he stops short of gushing. Tastet's appreciation is for the simultaneously rigorous and yet laid-back approach at Larry's, dubbing his plates "sympathiques et sans prétention". He goes on: "Il y règne, côté clientèle, cette ambiance de détente et de nonchalance appliquée qui fait les endroits courus. La clientèle est souvent détendue et nonchalante lorsqu’elle sait que la cuisine sera bonne." Three stars. [Le Devoir]

—  Smack in the middle of the chaotic summer festival season, the Journal de Montréal took on one of the Quartier des Spectacles' less formal options, Portuguese resto Taverne F, open since early 2014. Somewhat confusingly, critic Thierry Daraize justifies the review on account of Portugal's recent Euro Cup victory, calling it a great place for newcomers to Portuguese cuisine. Daraize's highlights are simple flavours, well-executed, and he only finds minor technical faults: "des petites précisions pour la cuisson de certains plats et quelques plats plus authentiques seraient souhaités." Three stars. [Journal de Montréal]

— Lastly, Marie-Claude Lortie at La Presse opts for a throwback this week too, taking on lunch at classic Mile End Greek spot Milos. But she offers a slight twist on a typical review, asking not whether Milos is good, but whether Milos is too expensive. Lortie's conclusion is a slightly blunt affirmative: that Milos is pricey given its simple menu. "Quand le plat le plus compliqué est une fleur de courgette farcie ou une tranche d'aubergine frite - impeccable -, on ne peut pas dire qu'on paie pour les années du chef aux grandes école," she writes. But by the end of the review, it doesn't seem to matter, as Lortie dubs Milos one of the "grandes tables classiques montréalaises", despite it all. [La Presse]


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