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Critic Says Mile End’s Elda Delivers Intelligent, Original Food

And another critic says Laurie Raphaël is damn underrated


— The new Mile End restaurant, Elda, from Mile Ex owner Gregory Paul, along with Valentin Wajda and François Schepens gets a warm reception from Jean-Philippe Tastet at Le Devoir this week, just days after a mixed review from La Presse. Tastet’s first visit, a little while back, was rave-worthy: successful, original, fine work, he writes of dishes like a lemongrass-ginger consommé and duck breast with beet sauce. The second visit, with a new menu, doesn’t reach the same heights — crab accras taste like the fryer, and a Caesar-style grilled romaine heart “isn’t anything transcendent”, although a Maritimey guédille is a success. But Tastet’s third and fourth visits redeem Elda with shrimp and lamb cutlets, and Tastet (often critical of weak desserts) reserves particular praise for the mousse-like spoum, a Mile Ex specialty, also declaring the brunch one of the best healthy options around. Three stars. [Le Devoir]

Chef Samuel Sauvé-Lamothe (left) with Daniel Vézina

— At the Gazette, Lesley Chesterman has one of her best reviews of the year so far at big-name Quebec chef Daniel Vézina’s Laurie Raphaël (the Montreal one). Chesterman declares Vézina and his restaurant to be almost criminally underrated, especially by the Anglo media. The menu may not be strictly seasonal and local (read: pineapple), but chef Samuel Sauvé-Lamothe turns it out on the tasting menu: a “silky” trout gravlax is only made better by extras like juniper berries and puréed ramps and among the mains, a duck magret with strawberry compote, broad beans, and nasturtium, impresses most. Desserts — which are served as spheres that melt when a sauce is poured over, are a highlight. There’s a little rubbery pork at one stage, but it’s a rave overall — three and a half stars. [Montreal Gazette]

— Finally, Journal de Montréal critic Thierry Daraize visits new-ish St-Henri Portuguese resto 3734, coming up with a much better outlook than when La Presse visited a while back (possibly a result of new chef, Sofiane Ghanmi). A boudin with apple, grape, walnuts, and dill is the star — finally, a non-clove-heavy boudin, Daraize cheers. Seafood rice with anchovy emulsion, lobster stock, and parsley root is another winner, but the Portuguese staple of piri piri chicken is a little dry. Everything else is “elegant and flavourful”, though, so it’s four stars. [Le Journal de Montréal]

Restaurant 3734

3734 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Montreal, Quebec H4C 1P7 514 303 0777 Visit Website

Laurie Raphaël

2050 Rue Mansfield, Ville-Marie, QC H3A 1Y9 (514) 985-6072 Visit Website

Osteria da Elda

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