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Le Diplomate Finally Knocks It Out Of The Park

Get your glow sticks out because there’s a rave ahead

Photo credit: Randall Brodeur
Le Diplomate
Randall Brodeur

Le Diplomate — the Mile Ex small plates spot from chef Aaron Langille — has done OK on the reviews front before, but they can now proudly say they’ve been on the receiving end of An Official Rave. Le Devoir critic Jean-Philippe Tastet deems the restaurant somewhat of an oddball, in the best possible way, from its ambiance to its location: “it’s unlikely you’ll find another restaurant of this quality across from a Home Depot.” Tastet calls Langille’s creations “étudiée, équilibrée, stimulante”. Tastet appears stoked on the entire menu, although he does have particular praise for ground eggplant with miso, sesame and vinegar, as well as a deer, artichoke, clam and cranberry plate. The only criticism is pretty darn minor — there could be a bottle of sparkling wine on offer for under $100. Four-and-a-half stars. [Le Devoir]

Le Journal de Montréal critic Thierry Daraize has powered right through the holiday season, not even subbing out one weekly review for his annual best-of list. This week, he’s at La Société, the restaurant for Hôtel Loews Vogue. In what is likely a relief for Société given its checkered past on the critic front, Daraize is mostly positive towards relatively recent arrival Gilles Tolen behind the burners (ex-Brasserie T). He raves about a French onion soup, but dry pan-fried veal sweetbreads with an over-reduced jus-coffee sauce earn an anti rave. Three and a half stars. [Le Journal de Montréal]

At the Gazette, Lesley Chesterman isn’t reviewing this week but offers up a mixed bag of predictions and wishes for the dining and food scene. Chesterman isn’t down for the stock-standard “what foods will trend?” piece; instead it’s industry focused. A few key highlights: Chesterman laments the abject lack of prominent women on the scene, especially as chefs, while recognizing that the issue is quite the hydra — there’s not just a lack of women in kitchens, but also a lack of recognition for the (good) ones who are there, and few role models for women who might want to pursue it. Further down the list, Chesterman also hopes for an end to egregious price markups (no more $9 hummus, please), and some more diversity in Montreal’s upscale dining scene — an area where Chesterman admits most restaurants blur into each other thematically. She’s also hoping and predicting that pastry is going to have a bumper year. [Montreal Gazette]

Week in Reviews took a wee pause for Christmas, but here’s a quick look at the reviews that happened over that time. Thierry Daraize checked out beefy Old Montreal “raw bar” Méchant Boeuf and shrugged, calling out the restaurant’s intense promotion of its AAA beef, when he could hardly taste the beef in the burger: “the worst burger [he’s] tasted in a long time.” Also problematic: an $8 charge for two dipping sauces to accompany another dish, and a shoddy wine list. Two and a half stars. [Le Journal de Montréal]

At La Presse, Ariane Krol also threw down a solid amount of money, but this was at the Ritz-Carlton for Maison Boulud’s brunch. Krol is appreciative of the menu for having a traditional feel, but not trading in personality to achieve that. Plus, the entire menu doesn’t strive for traditionality: a miso pot-au-feu is a “belle surprise”, and squash tortellonis cooked in sage butter are cloud-like. The eggs florentine, with a lukewarm hollandaise, brings it all down slightly in what’s otherwise a solid review. [La Presse]

Finally, Jean-Philippe Tastet has had a few weeks off reviewing, so Le Devoir’s Quebec City critic Catherine Ferland visits oysters-and-raw eats restaurant Le Kraken Cru (named one of Canada’s top ten newcomers in enRoute’s latest countdown). Ferland seems to agree, offering a four-and-a-half-star rave. [Le Devoir]

Le Diplomate

129 Rue Beaubien Ouest, Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC H2V 1C3 (514) 303-9727 Visit Website

Maison Boulud

1228 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Ville-Marie, QC H3G 1H6 (514) 842-4224 Visit Website

Société Bistro

1415 de la Montagne, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1P1 514 507 9223 Visit Website

Méchant Boeuf

124 rue Saint-Paul Ouest, Montréal, QC H2Y 1Z3 (514) 788-4020 Visit Website