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Critic Finds ‘Hip Asiatique’ Cuisine Done Right in Verdun

Also, which restaurant gets called out for uncomfortable seating?

Boneless chicken wings with sausage
Les Street Monkeys

Montreal Gazette critic Lesley Chesterman is the third major critic to visit Verdun’s new Cambodian restaurant Les Street Monkeys, and the third to give it a stamp of approval this week. After an opening parable about not judging a wine by its label (and on that note, Les Street Monkeys’ wine list is just “passable”), Chesterman finds that in fact, the restaurant does live up to its comparatively interesting name. She notes that this kind of “hip asiatique” cuisine can go heavy on fried food, salt, and sugar, and Street Monkeys dodges that. Curried shrimp with basil, chili and tomato is rich and with a just-right “tingle of heat”, and deboned chicken wings stuffed with Thai sausage is a handy meat-on-meat combination. Seared trout with extra crunch from a ground peanut crust is a third big success; it’s only the green papaya salad that falls flat, with excess fish sauce. Chesterman has one unusual (but still valid) complaint to add: the chairs are uncomfortable (hey, nobody wants to throw down fifty bucks to get a sore butt). Two and a half stars. [Montreal Gazette]

Restaurant Hà
Patricia Brochu

Also getting its third write-up from a critic is the Old Montreal version of Plateau Vietnamese original . It seems a little odd that the restaurant has been visited so many times, not because it doesn’t deserve it, but mostly because it overlaps heavily with the original location on Mont-Royal, so it seems a little redundant. Anyway, like the others, Daraize likes it, noting that it’s “more festive, more charming” than the first Hà; ever the softie, he gives most plates a thumbs up: Laotian sucré-salé chicken wings, a fresh scallop ceviche with foam (what type of foam goes unspecified), and pan-fried cod with peanuts (Daraize goes relatively light on details this week). The tuna tartare is the sole slip-up, with an aggressive sauce and slightly sloppy feel. Three and a half stars. [Le Journal de Montréal]

La Champagnerie

It’s a Quebec City review week at Le Devoir, and critic Catherine Ferland is at bar à sabrage (a bar where the champagne bottles are slashed open with knives) La Champagnerie. While the sparkling bent of the resto-bar might imply expensive and fanciful high-end eats, Ferland finds “honest bistro food” — a burger has just enough vegetation to break up the richness, and the pairing of sparkling wine with dishes works well. Deer tartare does equally well, although the pickle in it is somewhat in your face. Desserts like a Bailey’s crème brûlée get a nod, too, in a review where Ferland doesn’t offer a star rating. [Le Devoir]

Street Monkeys

3625 Rue Wellington, Verdun, QC H4G 1T9 (514) 768-1818 Visit Website

Restaurant Hà (Old Montreal)

600 Rue William, Montréal, QC H2Y 2E5 Visit Website