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Mile Ex’s Marconi Stumbles on Mushy Fish, According to Mediocre Review

And Elda is convivial but not without flaws

Randall Brodeur

— Ex-Au Pied de Cochon chef Mehdi Brunet Benkritly and partner Molly Superfine Rivera have drawn ample buzz since opening Marconi in December, racking up two highly positive reviews — but a recent visit from Gazette critic Lesley Chesterman has led to their first bad press. Her visit wasn’t an outright flop; it’s more of a shrug. Chesterman has high praise for the ambiance in the converted old dépanneur, and service seems strong, but there’s a bit of a downhill slide when the food arrives. “So with all this experience, I expected a solid technique with a good dose of creativity. Alas, I got neither,” she writes. A marinated arctic char app with puffed rice is “snap-crackle-mush”, and on the larger plates, a sous-vide salmon plate has similar problems with mushiness. Pork shoulder with sauerkraut and apricot gets a double critique — the pork is undercooked, while sauerkraut is unseasonal. Two dishes — sweetbreads, and a mushroom toast — fare better, and the desserts are fine but Chesterman notes that they don’t display a huge amount of skill. All up, a not-ideal two stars. [Montreal Gazette]

— At La Presse, Marie-Claude Lortie is at Mile End’s Elda, from the folk behind Mile Ex, one neighbourhood over. Lortie is warm about the casual and convivial vibe, although the food is a mixed bag. She questions the wisdom of serving an artichoke-harissa tartine on Indian bread (naan), although seems to ultimately approve. Pork tacos could be more tender, too. Among the mains, mussels are fresh and a lardon-based sauce makes it comforting. The desserts — an oversized panna cotta in particular — are a big let down. That said, it’s affordable and Lortie would go back. [La Presse]

— Journal de Montréal critic Thierry Daraize is at Le St-Urbain in Ahuntsic — not new at all, but getting its second positive write up in a month. It’s more refined than his last visit, with nothing pretentious: “juste du beau et du bon”. Chef Adam Ganten’s offerings are impressive: a spelt, carrot, and buffalo mozzarella “tartare” is original and refreshing; a classic rib steak with parsnip, Brussels sprouts, and truffles just melds together perfectly. A carrot cake for dessert is the only let-down, but it’s still four stars. [Le Journal de Montréal]

— It’s a Quebec City week at Le Devoir, and Catherine Ferland is at the obviously very French Paris Grill. Crab cakes, butternut squash soup, boudin, and cannelloni all wow, one side salad could be a little more fresh, and the wine list is a little lacking for the restaurant’s oh-so-French vibe. Three stars. [Le Devoir]

Le St-Urbain

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


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

Osteria da Elda

5206 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, QC H2T 1S1 (438) 387-6050 Visit Website