Petite-Patrie has a brand new neighbourhood resto, as Bistro Rosie is now open on Bélanger Street, at Fabre. It comes from two owners of much loved, now-closed Village brunch restaurant Ma’tine, Jérémy Daniel-Six and Sophie Duchastel de Montrouge.
While Ma’tine was very much a daytime place, 30-seat Rosie is focused much more on becoming a neighbourhood dinner spot (although Saturday brunch is on the menu), according to Duchastel de Montrouge.
“We wanted to create a space that’s super affordable with generous portions, kind of like a French bistro back in the day which was there to cater to workers, who needed to eat large portions.”
Daniel-Six is behind the burners (it’s hyper seasonal: the menu will change on a weekly basis), and while he is using French techniques, it’s not classically French.
“He’s always loved the Asian influence, he works with a lot of lemongrass, ginger, curcuma, galanga, fun root spices.”
For example, the most recent menu featured heirloom tomatoes with spicy galanga, peaches, peanuts; soba noodles with a coconut-turmeric broth, mussels, and zucchini, and beef short ribs braised with sautéed corn and satay sauce.
“There’s always a hint of some kind of spice,” says Duchastel de Montrouge.
Rosie is aiming locally for its products, with meat from Pascale Le Boucher in Villeray, bread from nearby Automne Boulangerie, and produce from local markets.
Rosie will serve mostly natural wines, reasonably priced (the most expensive bottle is $55) — Duchastel de Montrouge says she’s aiming for an approachable selection, though.
“I do try to have a few organic wines that are a little less funky than what I enjoy, for people that are just discovering them and aren’t used to it... I want everything to be accessible”
Rosie is also serving beer from Quebec brewery Dunham, and will add cocktails in the near future.
While the food and beverages are a shift from Ma’tine, there’s an even bigger difference: Rosie has a no-tipping policy for customers, making it the only full-service restaurant in Montreal with an explicit “no tips” rule. According to Duchastel de Montrouge, all staff receive a generous salary, which was determined before the restaurant opened.
“We’ll speak with our employees, sit down with them and establish how much a cook should be paid, how much a waiter should be paid. It’s something that’s really important to us. In this day and age tipping has kind of exploded and gone way out of proportion and it no longer means anything.”
“I notice it everywhere. I go to my bike shop to get my tire replaced and on the [Interac] machine it asks for a tip.”
Duchastel de Montrouge adds that in pricing the menu (which offers two, three and four-course table d’hôte options, instead of à la carte), she didn’t simply mark up prices to offset tips.
“We didn’t establish a price and add on 15 per cent...we said ‘this is how much it cost me, this is how much each waiter or cook is worth’. We’re still trying to keep our prices low so that we have an affordable price.”
“It’s not up to the customers to decide how much our employees are worth.”
It all takes place in a former diner, which has been given a fresh coat of white paint, but isn’t aiming for “swanky”.
“We cleaned it up a lot because diners leave a lot of grease. It’s very clean, white, with a big black chalkboard, with lots of tables. It’s quite a simple decor but reflects well who we are.”
STATUS — Bistro Rosie is open at 1498 Bélanger from 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday, as well as for Saturday brunch.