Montreal’s French food scene gets a boost today as a new bistro, License IV (that’s “License Quatre”) opens on Notre-Dame in Griffintown — and there’s serious emphasis on the “French” part of that descriptor.
Ludovic Marionnet is the principal here (see also: Marché de la Villette in Old Montreal), helped out by manager JF Duriez (ex-Holder, Brasserie Bernard), and chef Darryl Crumb.
Crumb was formerly at Hôtel Place d’Armes in Montreal, but has bounced around Canada and beyond — originally from Manitoba, he attended Ottawa’s Cordon Bleu and has worked in Paris and Vancouver. He also appeared on Top Chef Canada’s first season when fairly fresh out of culinary school, placing seventh. He tells Eater that French food is where his heart lies — and while Canadian, he understands the way France views its food.
“I’m classically French trained — and that’s what I like to do best: ris de veau, I love working with that, torchon de foie gras.”
“Food to the French is like hockey to Canadians, it’s close to the heart, it’s something that everybody is passionate about...it’s probably the butter and cream.”
Crumb says he wants to make forgotten French classics, and recover other classics that have been reworked so much that their original forms have almost been ditched.
“We’re definitely more into the real French style over Québécois...we have the classic tartares that aren’t full of sesame seeds and soya sauce.”
(For the record, Crumb says his classic tartare uses brunoise, cornichons, capers, a quail egg yolk, and espelette peppers.)
Other dishes include crepes suzette, a compostelle, a parmentier dauphinoise with oxtail, as well as house-cured or prepared charcuterie, pâté, rillette, and terrines — peep the full menu here.
Crumb happened upon Marionnet just as he was developing the idea for License IV, and says it’s a perfect fit.
“It was uncanny how we were able to meet, right away we knew we were both on the same page.”
Food aside, former Hoogan & Beaufort sommelier Olivier Fuentes is serving a host of French wines, paired to food. The French approach continues with the interior: according to Crumb the vibe is that of a classic bistro.
“There’s Gainbourg, Brigitte Bardot, Edith PIaf, all over the wall, black and gold with green banquettes, this is a place that’ll definitely make you feel like you’ve walked into Paris in the 60s and 70s.”
Take a look below.
STATUS — License IV is open as of today (April 20) at 1524 Notre-Dame West — Monday to Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. with brunch running until 3 p.m.
- License IV [Official]