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Mehdi’s Marconi Keeps On Earning Critics’ Praise

And Antonio Park’s Kampai Garden menu gets its first critic

Inside Marconi
Randall Brodeur

— After last week’s four-star stamp of approval, Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly and Molly Superfine-Rivera’s new neighbourhood bistro Marconi gets more or less the same critical treatment two more times this week. Le Devoir’s Jean-Philippe Tastet finds the Mile Ex restaurant a true dining pleasure: “La vaste majorité de ce qui est proposé permet de quitter l’endroit avec un grand sourire et en se caressant voluptueusement les abdominaux.” Tastet has almost uniform praise, particularly for the meatier mains (and the same ones Daraize loved last week): duck breast with apricot, wheat grains, and molasses, and lamb sirloin with bolognaise, spätzle, and garlic cream. There’s also dual praise for sommelier Émilie Courtois and her worldly wine list, coupled with her approachable service. The cod fish cakes could have some more zing, Tastet writes, but overall, it’s four stars. [Le Devoir]

On a side note, Tastet suggests that he is in possession of a blonde wig used to visit restaurants inconspicuously: is this wig real, or just a joke? Tell us if you’ve seen it.

Marconi
Randall Brodeur

— Back to Marconi: La Presse critic Marie-Claude Lortie also dropped by. She praises the restaurant’s design as super warm, both vintage and modern, with a good dose of hygge. The food gets equivalent praise: Lortie’s star dish is a squash pot-de-crème with a crumble and black Périgord truffles: a “lovely puzzle for the senses”. Cabbage rolls with beef and squash purée are a perfect, melt-in-mouth winter dish for Lortie, and again, the lamb bolognaise gets a shout-out. There is one flop — a toast and raclette offering with beef marrow and escargot, where the cheese drowns out the meat. But Lortie would go back in a heartbeat. [La Presse]

Kampai Garden
Randall Brodeur

— Journal de Montréal critic Thierry Daraize keeps up his string of first scoops on new restaurants this week, visiting the latest Antonio Park project Kampai Garden. Unsurprisingly, given the intricately-designed restaurant-bar from Amlyne Phillips, he is appreciative of Kampai’s sprawling industrial-organic space, although he notes that it can be pretty noisy, and getting a seat without a reservation is a little confusing. The menu is comforting but cleanly-executed: a shrimp pogo and crispy ravioli, along with delicate desserts like passionfruit mousse are all great bets, but the oven-baked cod is intensely spicy. Three-and-a-half stars. [Le Journal de Montréal]

Roast chicken from Campo
Campo

— Lesley Chesterman shakes things up a little this week with a rundown of the city’s best chicken in place of a review, which doubles as a rare foray into faster, more casual dining for the Gazette Critic. In her rotisserie category, Chesterman nominates some of the usual Portuguese suspects: Romados and Ma Poule Mouillée alongside west-side favourites Chalet Bar-B-Q and Côte St-Luc Bar-B-Q. Coco Rico, newcomer Campo, and Villeray’s Imperio also get recognition. On the fried chicken side, it’s Dinette Triple Crown, Icehouse, and Grumman 78 that earn accolades for southern style chicken, Mon Ami for a Korean approach, and Nouveau Palais and newbie Bird Bar are all-rounders. Chesterman even squeezes in a shout-out to Eater’s fried chicken recommendations. [Montreal Gazette]

Marconi

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

Kampai Garden

1616 Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, Ville-Marie, QC H3H 1L9 (514) 379-6161 Visit Website

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