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Critic: Old Montreal’s New Canadian Brasserie Needs Tweaking

While Place des Arts’ new gem is still solid

Rockwood
Patricia Brochu

Le Journal de Montréal’s critic Thierry Daraize is at Rockwood in Old Montreal this week, the “Canadian brasserie” that opened this summer from Thomas Vernick (Café Tommy). It fares better than its first so-so critical outing, with Daraize seeing “potential” but noting that changes are needed: example, the all-Canadian wine list, which Daraize likes in principle more than in practice. Food-wise, it starts well: a charcuterie plate with IPA beer sausage, gin pork sausage and more is “one of the best in Montreal”. Not so for the salmon tartare: it’s middle of the road and possibly prepared too far in advance; ditto for a half Cornish hen, which is dry. A confit pork dish and pouding chômeur for dessert swoop in to save the day, garnering three stars from the critic: passable, but it bears mention that Daraize very rarely dips into the two star range. [Le Journal de Montréal]

Bloomfield
Eater Montreal

Perhaps the winter blues are settling in for the critics, because JP Karwacki at Cult Montreal isn’t so jazzed on Soupesoup founder Caroline Dumas’ Outremont bistro Bloomfield, either. Two previous media visitors were fans, and while Karwacki appreciates the focused menu, he finds a litany of tweaks to be made: the “daily veg” appetizer, while “nice”, is a little off in portioning, and the grilled octopus, while tenderly cooked, is let down by cold accompaniments of lentils and cauliflower, especially given the cold weather. A similar problem befalls the flat iron steak: the meat itself is good quality, cooked right, but the salsa verde on top needs punch, and the accompaniments seem to be an “afterthought”. At least dessert — chocolate cake with a passionfruit ganache” shines bright. [Cult MTL]

Le Blumenthal
Patricia Brochu

Every critic seems to be doing the end-of-year rounds to restos they didn’t get to earlier: at Le Devoir, Jean-Philippe Tastet is at spring opener Le Blumenthal, which took the place of the old Balmoral in a prime position next to Place des Arts. Tastet’s positive take is in line with previous critics: it’s a chic, relaxed brasserie, the decor is neat, and prices reasonable — Tastet should know, since he writes that he eats there frequently. Ex-Leméac chef Rémi Brunelle is still doing a solid job — a sweet potato soup with paprika oil, bacon, and pita crisps “deserves applause” in its perfectly autumnal approach, and mains are three-for-three, too. The burger is worth a detour, roasted Cornish hen gets a nod, and the steak-frites shapes up. Tastet doesn’t comment on the desserts but has a nugget of news: Blumenthal is getting a pastry chef in the near future, too. Three and a half stars. [Le Devoir]

There’s no review from Lesley Chesterman this week — she has a food gift guide with plenty of local suggestions. Meanwhile, La Presse has no review for the third week running: an ominous sign?

Le Blumenthal

305 Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, Montréal, QC H2X 2A3

Rockwood

101 Rue Saint-Paul Ouest, Ville-Marie, QC H2Y 1Z5 (514) 844-9663 Visit Website

Bloomfield

1199 Avenue Van Horne, Outremont, QC H2V 1K1 (514) 277-1001 Visit Website

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