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Critic: NDG Newcomer Has “Brand Spanking New Cooking Talent”

While the other critics head to Tremblant and Gatineau

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Chef Liam Hopkins’ new self-titled Monkland Avenue restaurant Hopkins already had one favourable review — and thanks to a Lesley Chesterman visit, it now has twice the praise. She talks him up as new talent on the city’s dining scene, with strong presentation skills to boot. In an unusual move, duck features heavily on the menu: a “velvety” bone marrow flan with duck magret is a “treat”, and while duck ravioli with duck thigh confit, duck jus, duck pancetta, and crispy confit duck skin might seem like overkill on paper, it prompts a wow from Chesterman. Every single savoury dish fares well, including those that lean more classical (tuna carpaccio niçoise, a version of fish and chips with scallop). Desserts don’t hit the same high notes though, particularly a with middling chocolate in a molten cake — still, it’s a strong three star showing.

Le Rustique

La Presse critic Marie-Claude Lortie is progressively headed further and further away from Montreal on her summer tour of the countryside — this week, it’s Mont-Tremblant locavore spot Le Rustique. A Thai-style noodle soup keeps things simple and tasty, while a smoked pork burger from Laurentian meat-maker Gaspor is bulkier and satisfying. Slightly overdone turbot is a weak spot, but it’s followed up by a strong dessert of deconstructed s’mores. A thumbs-up for Lortie. [La Presse]

Il Matto

At Le Devoir, Quebec City critic Catherine Ferland is at Sainte-Foy restaurant Il Matto. With a menu more classic than wild, it checks boxes on antipasti, lightly-breaded, rich arancini, and a particularly strong veal parmigiana, though Ferland writes that she wasn’t a fan of the wild mushroom and truffle pasta. It’s hard to say whether this is a matter of personal taste, or whether the dish goes objectively overboard on truffles (she cryptically notes that big truffle fans might like it), but it doesn’t cost Il Matto too dearly — three and a half stars. [Le Devoir]

Les Vilains Garçons

Finally, Journal de Montréal critic Thierry Daraize goes west this week, visiting Gatineau pintxo spot Les Vilains Garçons. There’s few complaints — barbecue sauce catfish and boudin get easy thumbs-up, while a mackerel escabeche with kiwi is a touch overcooked, and a headcheese dish is a touch too salty. No big deal apparently, as Daraize awards three and a half stars. [Le Journal de Montréal]

Hopkins

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

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