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Bar George in Hotel Mount Stephen Gets A Warm First Review

While a critic’s visit to Monkland Tavern is uneven

Inside Bar George
Cindy La

— Just a few weeks after Bar George opened in the Mount Stephen Hotel with Britain-meets-Quebec fare from executive chef Anthony Walsh, its first review is in from Le Journal de Montréal. It’s perhaps a little early; some critics prefer to wait a little longer for restaurants to settle in, but critic Thierry Daraize approves, so no harm done. After glowing about George’s woody, period-style decor, he dubs a pork hock with mustard and pickles the dish of the night: delicate, refined, and an all-up great moment of charcuterie. Among the larger plates, pickerel quenelles with bay scallops, Nantua sauce, licorice, spinach, and Gruyère shows off chef Kevin Ramasawmy’s skills best. That said, the kidney part of a veal and kidney pie is so garlicky as to destroy Daraize’s tastebuds, and desserts — a meringue-berry option and a heavy whisky pudding — get a unusually harsh “bof” from Daraize, requiring more delicatesse. Three-and-a-half stars. [Le Journal de Montréal]

— Every other critic is revisiting more established spots this week, and at the Gazette, Lesley Chesterman is on the terrasse at NDG staple Monkland Tavern. Going in, Chesterman’s impression is that it’s an ideal neighbourhood spot, although the outcome is a little mixed on her visit. The tavern’s classic Black Angus burger fares best (although the fries could be better), and meatballs on a rigatoni dish are not-too-heavy, not-too-light, just right; lightly-battered Thai shrimp are a “winner”, as well. But a beet salad is overpriced and under-flavoured, and desserts — a salty pineapple cake and pedestrian pecan-chocolate cookie — flop. Chesterman sees the issues as easy fixes, though, writing that “it wouldn’t take that much work to make it that much better.” Two stars. [Montreal Gazette]

Enjoy Your First Look at Joe Beef's New and Improved Le Vin Papillon Wine Bar
Le Vin Papillon
Randall Brodeur/Eater Montreal

— In a surprise to nobody, wine bar and youngest of the Joe Beef three Le Vin Papillon has still got it, finds Le Devoir critic Jean-Philippe Tastet in the venue’s first review in a couple of years. Sommelier Vanya Filipovic’s wine picks are on-point as ever; ditto chef Marc-Olivier Frappier’s work with fresh produce and seafood. From cucumbers on a bed of beer-garlic bleu, to ugly-but-delicious squid ink fried gnocchi with smoked sturgeon. The meatier dishes, including a brisket brochette, don’t shine quite as much but still get thumbs-up. Four stars. [Le Devoir]

Step Inside Agrikol, a Tropical Escape From The Black Hoof and Arcade Fire
Inside Agrikol
Randall Brodeur

— Perhaps equally unsurprising is Ariane Krol’s review of Jen Agg and Arcade Fire co-production Agrikol in La Presse. It’s festive, the terrasse is a winner, and so is the Haitian food. Krol deems the fried plantains the best she’s found in Montreal, the slow-braised-then-fried pork griot stuns, and sweet potato bread with a rum sauce (a dessert) is a veritable star. Cashew chicken is a little less stunning (although not bad), and fritter-like acras with a tuber in place of the traditional fish are a little heavy. That said, Krol would return, no questions asked. [La Presse]

Monkland Tavern

5555 Monkland, Montreal, Quebec H4A 1E1 (514) 486-5768 Visit Website

Bar George

1440 Rue Drummond, Ville-Marie, QC H3G 1V9 (514) 669-9243 Visit Website


1844 Rue Atateken, Ville-Marie, QC H2L 3L6 (514) 903-6707 Visit Website

Le Vin Papillon

2519 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Le Sud-Ouest, QC H3J 1N4 (514) 439-6494 Visit Website