Montreal’s critics all had a satisfying week, taking on some restaurants that have had anywhere from a few months to multiple years to settle in and straighten out their offerings.
Le Devoir’s Jean-Philippe Tastet appears to have been left breathless by Le Mousso, in the Village, likening it to an emotional roller coaster. His kicks off with an aside, admitting that he likes to compare the restaurants he reviews to musicians or songs as he writes. Apparently Daft Punk is the band that best fits Mousso - and presumably, Tastet really, really likes Daft Punk.
Tastet’s praise is universal, highlighting his meal’s presentation, the culinary refinement and even the art on the walls (that’s a given, since owner Antonin Mousseau-Rivard used to be the head chef for Montreal’s contemporary art museum). It’s tricky to parse Tastet’s highlights from amidst the gushing, but he seems most partial to the roasted duck breast with beet purée, freeze-dried wild blackberries and raspberries and a garlic emulsion, dubbing it “harmonious, intriguing and absolutely delicious”. His one complaint? Mousso’s music — particularly the bass — was too loud. Maybe that explains the Daft Punk analogy. Four-and-a-half stars. [Le Devoir]
Over at La Presse, Ariane Krol (filling in for Marie-Claude Lortie) is a little more level-headed, as she takes kindly to Hawaiian comfort food at Crescent Street’s Poké Bar, though it’s not clear if she thinks it’s objectively good or just “good for fast food”. Likening it to other well-received “gourmet fast food” spots such as Tejano and Tousignant, Krol compliments the “impeccable freshness” of the raw fish, although she finds the sauce accompanying the chicken bowl a little mild (her tip: add Sriracha). [La Presse]
Perhaps fittingly for the Journal de Montréal’s more suburban audience, Thierry Daraize crosses the Saint Lawrence to visit French style bistro Incrédule in Old Longueuil. Despite a spotty review led with the backhanded compliment that Incrédule is “good for those who don’t like to stray from their comfort zone”, Daraize awards three stars. The apps - garlic escargot, mushroom-pancetta ragout and a parmesan feuilleté are his winners, but he writes off the salmon tartare as “lacking panache”. Three stars. [Journal de Montréal]
In the English media, the Gazette’s Lesley Chesterman coins the term “sushi ennui” as she hits up the comparatively old Laurier Avenue sushi bar Ryù. Chesterman debunks popular misconceptions of Ryù as a borderline nightclub featuring “martinis, makis, a scantily clad wait staff and techno tunes wafting in the background”". Despite noting that the menu isn’t “especially exciting”", she finds it all well-executed, recommending the nigiri platter and classic kamikazi maki, while smacking down pork and shrimp dumplings for being overwhelmingly seaweed-clad. Two-and-a-half stars. [Montreal Gazette]