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Old Montreal’s Rockwood Fumbles First Review on Food and Service

While salad spinners Foodchain get a fresh first write-up


Open for six weeks now, Old Montreal Canadian brasserie Rockwood, from Thomas Vernis (Santos, Dolcetto & Co.) had its first critic visit this week — and La Presse’s Marie-Claude Lortie wasn’t a huge fan. The “Justin Crudo” salad grabs her attention with its name, but features yellowfin tuna that lacks flavour, with radishes, radicchio, and olives that add little. Though it does allow for one gag about Quebec culture: “It was as if two solitudes had been superimposed,” writes Lortie. A scallop dish doesn’t quite land (although it’s not a disaster), although Albertan steak with chimichurri does well. Lortie has some issues with the service — the same dish arriving twice, for one— the sort of small errors that, while not heinous, don’t help the cause (and it’s maybe a little picky to complain that a Canada-themed restaurant has an Australian artist on its playlist instead of say, Bryan Adams). Overall, she probably wouldn’t go back. [La Presse]


Also getting its first critical visit is downtown salad spot Foodchain, from Cheryl Johnson, Charles-Antoine Crête (both of Montréal Plaza), designer Zébulon Perron, and partner Jean-François Saine, open since May. Le Devoir’s Jean-Philippe Tastet is there, and while it’s much more casual than his usual beat, he approves warmly. He admits that on principle, he would be skeptical of a small menu, and with no meat to boot — but Foodchain has a way with vegetables, he finds. Tastet doesn’t go into detail on specific salads, but declares everything tasty, noting that his posse left the table sated. “Beau, bon, pas cher,” he declares, with bonus props for the speed of service. Three stars. [Le Devoir]


Le Journal de Montréal critic Thierry Daraize is at Plateau Asian fusion spot Kozu, also getting its first critic since opening in May. It’s mixed: while beautifully designed, some off-putting smells lingered in the air (notably fish): “it’s good to be beautiful, but better to feel good”, he writes. The dishes are a mixed bag, too — seared tuna is just great quality, melt-in-mouth fish, and shrimp-pork gyoza dumplings are perfectly cooked, if heavy on garlic. Other dishes fall down to different degrees: a green papaya salad-esque slaw lacks punch, while fried salmon with sesame and sansho peppers is dry and compact; “bland”. Three stars — which seems generous, given the tone of the review. [Le Journal de Montréal]

Bertrand Bazin at Café Bazin
Randall Brodeur/Eater Montreal

Finally, Lesley Chesterman has a round-up of the best of the city’s pastry world. It’s more a feature than a review, given she did interviews with the pastry chefs. In any case, it’s clear that Chesterman deems Stéphanie Labelle (Rhubarbe), Bertrand Bazin (Café Bazin), Nick Kemball (Libertine Bakehouse), and Patrice Demers (Patrice Pâtissier) to be among the city’s best. [Montreal Gazette]


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