Le Devoir restaurant reviewer Jean-Philippe Tastet really did not like the Plateau’s oh-so-French Laloux. He hated it so much that it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him out front of Laloux handing out photocopies of the brutal review he gave it this week. Laloux has been around a while and has typically drawn glowing reviews when the local media check up on it — Daraize gave it a rare four stars last year, and Tastet highlights a former colleague writing that Laloux is worth a major detour. But he amends that suggestion to recommend a detour literally anywhere else.
Tastet’s list of grievances is long: no oysters, pedestrian charcuterie, carpaccio pulled from a “cranky bison”, insipid halibut served on a plate loaded with distractions, cheesecake so bad it can’t be described. But Tastet does understand the concept of a concessionary point in a review, so he gives the tarragon lemon meringue pie a pass. That aside, it’s a mesmerizing narrative of a once-loved restaurant’s fall from grace. One star. [Le Devoir]
Elsewhere, the reviews are rosier. Lesley Chesterman braves Laval’s strip malls to visit Le Boating Club, a boathouse-turned restaurant taken over by the Philémon crew a couple of years ago. Despite her confusion by a menu sporting wintery dishes in late summer, she mostly digs the homey dishes — an autumn salad with miso vinaigrette gets Chesterman “excited”, the steak tartare has a zing that’s usually missing from a lazy Montreal restaurant staple, and the beer-maple-sambal oelek roasted chicken main seems to have impressed. It’s topped off by a strong organic wine list; although Chesterman does have a small whine list of her own with the desserts — specifically, raw churros and a key lime verrine with no lime taste. “The dress balls and regattas may be ancient history at Le Boating Club, but fine dinner and an even better time are yours for the taking,” she writes. Two-and-a-half stars. [Montreal Gazette]
Marie-Claude Lortie and Thierry Daraize take on some lower stakes options this week. For La Presse, Lortie lunches on tortas at Saint-Henri’s two-month-old Torteria Lupita. It’s great, no complaints, etcetera, try the Pépito Mi Corazon torta or crunchy flautas. And for the peoples’ paper, Daraize finally gets around to chowing down on classic Italian snacks at Buonanotte’s less-tacky downtown little sister Fiorellino. The porchetta and desserts (tiramisu, lemon cake) shine; the wine list is a little lacking and some of the hot dishes have too much chill (i.e. they were served cold), but Daraize mostly lets those slide. [La Presse, Journal de Montréal]