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NDG’s Hopkins Racks Up Stars in Its First Review

While Taverne F gets a hit-and-miss review

Restaurant Hopkins

— Chef Liam Hopkins’ eponymous Monkland Avenue restaurant Hopkins (open just six weeks now) gets its first critical inspection this week from Le Journal de Montréal’s Thierry Daraize (well, critical-ish; Daraize has barely strayed from giving four stars out this year). “Elegant” is his key descriptor, with some version of the word appearing a cool ten times throughout the review — as do exclamation points. A tuna carpaccio niçoise has Daraize pounding the “!” key; braised octopus with beets and confit Jerusalem artichoke is deemed a “five star” dish. Fish and chips with scallops go down well too, and the most common review pitfall costs Hopkins a few points, as Daraize finds the chocolate and carrot cakes fine, but not on the same level. Four stars. [Le Journal de Montréal]

— At the Gazette, Lesley Chesterman wades into tourist-jammed Place des Arts during the heart of tourist season to visit Ferreira Group outpost Taverne F, coming away with mixed feelings. A mojito-like cocktail light on booze seems to elicit a shrug; the starters fall short too — octopus salad is a “dreary mix”, salmon gravlax needs some herbs, and the pea soup is too pea-flavoured (OK, that criticism made more sense when Chesterman wrote it). On the flipside, the wine list gets kudos, and the mains turn it around — Portuguese classic pork and clams appear to be the knockout dish; stewy caldeirada, with salmon, shrimp, clams and mussels feels more Thai than Portuguese — a good take on the dish. The burger, while overly hot, gets props too. All up, it’s a very mid-range two stars. [Montreal Gazette]

— La Presse critic Marie-Claude Lortie is back in action, and headed out south to Granby French restaurant L’Impérial (La Presse is planning to cover restaurants outside inner Montreal all summer long, too). It comes from former Toqué and Joe Beef chef François Côté. And while the menu doesn’t get crazy (read: staples like tartare, duck confit), it hits all the right spots — a trout tartare is delicate, cod acras are crispy outside and soft inside, and grilled salmon on a cream of tomato is cooked to perfection. Oh, and it’s three courses for as little as $14.50 — a big success for Lortie. [La Presse]

— Finally, Lesley Chesterman is still on board at Le Devoir as Tastet takes an extended holiday; she, too, heads out of the city to the Laurentians — L’Épicurieux in Val-David, specifically. She laments the shortage of great restaurants in the mountains, but finds this one unpretentious and creative. Raw fare scores well — a herby salmon tartare with just enough mayo to bind, and beef carpaccio. Among bigger plates, pork with beets and the surprising addition of strawberries is also a winner — three and a half stars. [Le Devoir]

Taverne F

1485, rue Jeanne-Mance, Montréal, QC H2X 2J4 (514) 289-4558 Visit Website

Hopkins

5626 Avenue de Monkland, Côte-Des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-De-Grâce, QC H4A 1E3 (514) 379-1275 Visit Website

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