PLATEAU — Fans of the punk bar Perfecto may have been sad to see it go, with its wall-to-wall black paint and dive bar vibes. However, with its prime location on the corner of Duluth, it wasn’t long before it was snatched up by new restauranteurs. This was one of many factors which drew in Olivier Farley (Majestique), Charles Vaillancourt (Saint-Sacrement) and Éric Le François (Philemon, Pub West Shefford) to begin their new bar and restaurant Suzanne, a speakeasy and dumpling restaurant with “a touch of funk”. The venture opened softly last week, and celebrated an official opening of its doors last night. It’s been a long time coming, being a culmination of efforts by the aforementioned principles in addition to as many as 17 other partners, friends and family alike.
In a sharp contrast to the address’ previous milieu, Suzanne promises a much more brightly lit space riddled with plant life. “You won’t be able to recognize the space. We did a lot of work; huge skylights, a huge patio door looking out on Duluth to open up the space, huge windows,” owner Olivier Farley told Eater. “(The idea) is that we want you to feel like you’re outside when you’re there; when we were conceiving the design, we knew we wanted a greenhouse feel to the place.” The design was pieced together Olivier himself and the artist and painter Manuel Bujold; this location marks the latter’s first foray into restaurant interiors.
Among the points of interest for Suzanne are its wines — formulated by sommelier Joëlle Guimont (Manitoba) — and its cocktail list, outsourced to the nomadic bar company Taillon Langdon & Cie, which has provided catered selections to private parties and restaurants around town. “They wanted to work with a couple ingredients they had in mind, namely sake, soju and sherry,” Bradley Langdon of the cocktail company told Eater in a separate interview. “Those were the parameters we had going into it. There’s eight cocktails we’ve put together, three of which are signatures and the others are spins on classic cocktails.”
As for food, Suzanne is proud to tout Michael Madokoro (former sous-chef at Le Filet) as head of its kitchen. Having accrued experience abroad in cities such as Hong Kong and at the high-end Montreal restaurant, Madakoro has put together a menu that provides the bar’s main focus: Dumplings, a dish that can shared between patrons. “It’s a bar snack type of thing, but (Madakoro) built the menu so you can have dinner (as well),” Farley notes. “There’s dumplings as a hook because it’s such a bar food type of thing — you order six or twelve and share — but he’s created dishes that are more elaborate too. Coming from Le Filet, for example, he can’t help himself.”
Despite the signature cocktails’ contents and the bar’s culinary point of pride, Suzanne doesn’t aim to ascribe itself to a specific trend and instead aims to act as an everyman’s type of bar. “I don’t like to be too specialized. We tried to offer something good in every aspect, in every step of the way,” Farley notes, “and while we’re offering dumplings, for example, we haven’t designed the place to have Chinese design (elements). I don’t want the place to even be labelled as a cocktail bar, despite a great cocktail list. I really just want this to please everyone.”
- The Eater Montreal Cocktail Heatmap, July 2017 [EMTL]
- Delicious Dumplings: Where to Get Them in Montreal [EMTL]
- 30 Epic Montreal Terrasses [EMTL]