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Mile Ex’s Marconi Shines Bright In Its First Review

Also praiseworthy: a reformed east-end rotisserie

Gnocchi prep at Marconi
Randall Brodeur

— He was quick off the mark to get to Tiradito last week, and now, Le Journal’s Thierry Daraize is also the first out of the gate at ex-Pied de Cochon chef Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly’s Mile-Ex bistro Marconi. The Mozart Street spot has only had a few weeks to settle in, but Daraize is glowing about it. The top dish for him is duck breast with apricot, molasses, and root vegetables, but a lamb sirloin with bolognaise, spätzle (handmade German-style noodles) and garlic cream also coaxes the exclamation points out of Daraize: “merci chef!” Daraize’s critiques are limited — the ambiance is a touch sombre, and the plates, while uniformly praised, are a touch small. Four stars. [Le Journal de Montréal]

— “If the New York Times can send its readers to discover the Plaza St-Hubert, I don’t see what’s stopping us from venturing beyond Honoré-Beaugrand métro to try something new.” That’s La Presse critic Ariane Krol’s train of thought as she heads far east to visit lowbrow sexy-server restaurant turned creative rotisserie spot Le Coq de l’Est 2015. The staple dish from owners Omar Zabuair (ex-Joe Beef) and Vanessa Beeching (ex-Au Pied de Cochon), tandoori roast chicken, is perfect: juicy, with crunchy skin. She also gives major props to the poutine, all too often a blank canvas for novelty experimentation at other restaurants. Special items like Brussels sprouts with tamarind sauce also please, and Krol finds almost no fault with the Coq’s comforting yet original set-up, although the décor could have a little more pizzazz. [La Presse]

Le Pier 66 Makes a Big Splash on Bernard With Fish and Seafood Galore
Le Pier 66
Randall Brodeur

— Not so satisfied was Gazette critic Lesley Chesterman at Mile End seafood resto Le Pier 66. With almost a year to get things in order, Chesterman isn’t as pleased as Daraize was, with some ominous opening wisdom: “when you’re paying upward of $30 for that sea bass, snapper or cod filet, a certain level of precision is not a lot to ask.” The entrée “seacuterie” platter isn’t a great start, with Chesterman comparing it visually to leftovers, saying “not one bite wowed”. Other flops included mushroom tortellini with truffles (but no evident truffle flavour) and overcooked sea bass, all on the pricy side, too. Tender octopus with root vegetables on the entrées, and a decent wine selection are the saving graces. One star. [Montreal Gazette]

— Using Portuguese dance metaphors aplenty, Le Devoir’s Jean-Philippe Tastet goes for a spin at Helena Loureiro’s revolving restaurant (yes, they still exist), 30 floors above downtown. Despite the view, it’s hit-and-miss at the seafood-oriented Portuguese spot — for all its flavour potential (with chouriço and more), the starter green soup is a “tepid broth”, a black pudding dish is inaccurately described on the menu, and the desserts (half of which are unavailable) earn a shrug. But there are some gems: arroz con mariscos, a seafood-rice dish with Quebec lobster tail, is flavourful and praiseworthy. It’s also a problem that Tastet has a lot of trouble wrangling a priced wine list out of Portus for his reviewing. Two and a half stars. [Le Devoir]

Le Pier 66

361 Bernard Ouest, Montreal, Quebec H2V 4H3 (514) 903-6696 Visit Website

Marconi

45 Avenue Mozart Ouest, Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC H2S 1C1 (514) 490-0777 Visit Website

Le Coq de l'Est

8803, rue Hochelaga, Montreal, QC H1L 2N1 (438) 385-9455

Portus360

777 Boulevard Robert-Bourassa, Montréal, QC (514) 849-2070

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