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Critic Laments BYOB Restaurant Prince’s Plump Price Tag

And Lesley Chesterman has lunch tips to share


— Courtesy of Le Journal de Montréal critic Thierry Daraize, Plateau BYOB Prince — from bring-your-own-wine big gun Georges Blais — has earned its third positive write-up. Well, kind of — the end rating is positive, but in terms of tone it’s Daraize’s first partly negative review of the year, with the critic opining that given its high prices, Prince should be a little more refined. In ambiance it’s all very solid, and he raves about some of the French-leaning dishes: the highlight is grilled octopus with endives, noisette butter, and sherry. A boudin with salmon, Granny Smith apple, noisette, and crème fraîche fares well too, as do all desserts. But the meat on the short rib dish needs more attention and seasoning, and Daraize effective calls a $33 cod plate with cherry tomato, brioche, and basil a flop — it’s far too simple for the price, he writes, and the cod has a floury texture to boot. At $170 for two (no wine, obviously), Daraize wants more, but still gives three stars. [Le Journal de Montréal]

— At the Gazette, critic Lesley Chesterman regrets the fact that people no longer do lunch — fancy lunch, that is, although she thinks this might be on the upswing. Chesterman checks the pulse at two lunch-offering restaurants, starting with Italian spot Moleskine. She already gave the more formal upstairs section a rave review last year, and while that part also offers lunch, Chesterman takes on the casual downstairs section. The pizza is one of the best in the city, she declares, trying one with sausage, mozzarella, Parmesan, peppers, and arugula — “crisp” outside, and “pillowy” inside. Beet salad, antipasto, and dessert also get nods of approval.

— Chesterman’s second luncheon is at Le St-Urbain in Ahuntsic, now a coproduction between Marc-André Royal and chef Adam Ganten, who primarily takes care of the food at the restaurant now. The market-driven, soigné cuisine gets another rave, as the clam chowder is “expertly-seasoned”, “the best soup [Chesterman has] had in ages”. A pork belly with clam teriyaki broth wows in both texture and flavour, and a salmon filet stuns too. On the dessert side, a maple parfait is a wee bit unbalanced, but Le St-Urbain is more than worth the trek north. There’s no star ratings this week, as Chesterman didn’t try full menus, but it’s two thorough stamps of approval. [Montreal Gazette]

— Le Devoir critic Jean-Philippe Tastet is at chef Luciano D’Orazio’s eponymous Petite-Patrie restaurant Luciano Trattoria, a place where, he writes, you can “eat like a king”. It’s a simple menu — four entrées, four pastas, a meat, and a fish dish, and D’Orazio’s food might be home-style but he hits no off notes. Among the entrées, a beef carpaccio with chives, and just a little parmesan and aioli gets the biggest props. Every pasta dish, like ravioli with mushrooms, butter, and sage, or meat-stuffed shells, is perfectly cooked, and breaded veal milanese with tomato sauce and “superb” gorgonzola gnocchi also seems to impress — four stars, all up. [Le Devoir]


— Finally, La Presse critic Marie-Claude Lortie heads over the Champlain Bridge to oyster bar and seafood spot Cru, open since winter 2016. Thierry Daraize liked it last year, Lortie isn’t so impressed — for similar reasons to Daraize at Prince this week. It’s pricy: mains run up to almost $50. It’s by no means a total flop: the oysters are “glorious”, ditto for grilled giant shrimp with an onion-paprika salsa. A snapper plate is good on the fish side but somewhat strangely accompanied by burrata, and the Italian spin on the dish misses the mark somewhat. The desserts seem to be a low point, with a giant cookie covered in Toblerone, and much more — it’s “inelegant”, and Lortie says it seems like an idea concocted by drunk teens. [La Presse]

Le St-Urbain

96 Rue Fleury Ouest, Ahuntsic-Cartierville, QC H3L 1T2 (514) 504-7700 Visit Website


771 Rue Rachel E, Montreal, Quebec H2J 2H4 514-528-8555 Visit Website

Luciano Trattoria

1212 Rue Saint-Zotique Est, Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC H2S 1N5 (514) 303-1204 Visit Website


3412 Avenue du Parc, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, QC H2X 2H5 (514) 903-6939 Visit Website