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Critic: Ex-Hôtel Herman Crew Is Killing It At Réservoir

And Lesley Chesterman has a surprise bistro discovery


— Back in November, the three owners of now-closed mega-hit Mile End restaurant Hôtel Herman announced they were taking over Plateau brewpub Réservoir (although it wasn’t yet known that their original project would be closing so soon). That’s made the critics keen to drop by — first Thierry Daraize, very early in the game, and now La Presse’s Marie-Claude Lortie. And it’s a very positive reception — Lortie notes that the physical vibe definitely isn’t Hôtel Herman (although renovations are slated), but the Scandinavian-influenced dishes scream Herman. It’s light, fresh, and delicious — a daikon-soy tuna dish has melt-in-mouth fish texturally matched with the radish. Heavier fare works, too — zeppoli with apple purée, mascarpone, and lemon confit all mixes perfectly. Leeks with butter-lemon-caper sauce are the only disappointment, being watery, and lacking acidity — but that’s the exception to the excellence. [La Presse]

— Over at the Gazette, Lesley Chesterman is at popular but oft-written-off Plateau brasserie Café Cherrier. She notes that she, too, had dismissed the rarely reviewed restaurant popular with both high-profile Québécois and tourists, because of “familiarity, I guess, that feeling that the French bistro menu would be boringly predictable.” But she was “utterly charmed” — it’s pretty much a rave review, from a generous serving of “delicate, melting” house-smoked salmon, to braised rabbit with mustard and tarragon, and a hearty rumsteak. It’s boosted by a strong wine offering, that’s affordable too. Dessert — particularly a tarte tatin — is a little on the flatter side, but three stars overall. [Montreal Gazette]

Alep on Jean-Talon Street
Google Maps

— Meanwhile, Jean-Philippe Tastet drops by four-decades-old Syrian-Armenian restaurant Alep, a Villeray mainstay. The menu might not really change, Tastet writes, but Alep is still going strong he decides — much like every other other critic who drops by every now and then. Tastet thoughtfully dines with companions from Armenia who can provide more expertise on the food. Mezzes from hummus to baba ghanouj and more are all enjoyed, save the overly salty sabanegh (onions, red peppers, and spinach). Tastet isn’t offering bold declarations on the food’s quality too much this week, but describes juicy, plump kebabs galore for the mains, adding up to three and a half stars. [Le Devoir]

— Almost everyone is revisiting older favourites this week, as Le Journal’s Thierry Daraize is at perenially well-reviewed St-Henri tacos-and-more spot Grumman ‘78 — and it’s simply good. The vibe is festive, convivial and “sans flafla”. Food-wise, the well-seasoned smoked meat tostada excels, while a corn fritter has a good texture but needs a flavour boost on the appetizer side. Tacos are still a strength, but Daraize’s winning dish is a pearled barley risotto with chanterelles and horn of plenty mushrooms, with boudin. “A total jewel”, he writes — although he says a few more signature dishes wouldn’t go astray. Three and a half stars. [Le Journal de Montréal]

Café Cherrier

3635 Rue Saint-Denis, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, QC H2X 3L6 (514) 843-4308 Visit Website

Grumman '78 HQ

630 rue de Courcelle, Montréal, QC H4C 3C7 514 290 5125 Visit Website


9 Avenue Duluth Est, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, QC H2W 1G7 (514) 849-7779 Visit Website


199 Rue Jean-Talon Est, Montréal, QC H2R 1S8 (514) 270-6396 Visit Website