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New Rosemont BYOB Totally Tanks During A Critic’s Visit

While a new curry house gets props

Gaston

The headline for Lesley Chesterman’s review at the Gazette this week is plain — “Restaurateurs add Gaston to Montreal's BYOW scene” — but behind that lies an absolutely brutal review of the new restaurant in the BYOB empire of Georges Blais and Marc-André Paradis. Chesterman says she’s a staunch defender of the BYOB approach, but her time at Gaston “left me wondering how much we are willing to accept in order to save on the beverage part of the equation.” She likes their previous work, but (ouch), Gaston “ failed miserably at most every turn.” It’s light on atmosphere (Star Wars music is on the soundtrack) and with disinterested service; while gazpacho and skate wing croquette dishes fare well, all other food flops. A gravlax entrée has “no love”, and meat seems uniformly bad from “fibrous” braised pork overcooked duck with no skin, and tough hanger steak with “beige” béarnaise — all rounded out with unseasonal veggies like cabbage despite the late-summer visit. Oh, the desserts are “dreary”, too. After Bar George back in June, it’s Chesterman’s second zero star review of the year. [Montreal Gazette]

Miel

Also not having a great week is chef Hakim Chajar’s Pointe-St-Charles restaurant Miel — Lesley Chesterman loved it last week, but La Presse critic Marie-Claude Lortie, not so much. Chajar’s impressive CV sets expectations high, and that leads to a greater disappointment, she writes. She picks up that Miel is trying to do its own thing, and not go along with trends, but it needs more refinement: too much sauce on dishes like a creamy ginger salmon tataki, and green beans with roasted almonds and miso vinaigrette. Pan-fried artichokes with lardons are delicious, but the plate needs a greater range of textures; the west coast oysters are out of season. The desserts fare well, particularly a berry cheesecake, but other problems — noise levels, a skippable wine list — don’t help. Lortie would give Chajar a second chance, but not right now. [La Presse]

Bighi Curry

Alt-monthly Cult MTL is back in the review game, with (sometime Eater contributor) JP Karwacki taking on the critic role. This week he’s at Village newcomer Bighi Curry, which has some serious culinary experience in chef Huriel Pitre, who has worked at Le Filet, and Michelin-starred Tokyo restaurant L’Effervescence. Cocktails like the soju sour (gin, soju, egg white) from principal Gabrielle Camiré are a good start, and the food — much more casual than Pitre’s experience might imply — does well, from fried congee balls to “gut-busting” katsu and tikka masala curries, with “succulent” meat. That said, Karwacki notes that the curries are “scaled back” on the spice side, a possible issue for those who conflate “curry” and “heat”. [Cult MTL]

Café Gentile

Journal de Montréal critic Thierry Daraize stops by Westmount to visit the new-ish Café Gentile — the half-century old Garment District Italian resto made the expansion in late 2016. As with one critic before, the “nonna’s kitchen” approach works fairly well for Daraize: well-seasoned, perfectly-cooked meatballs fare spectacularly, as do the arancini, with more props for the tomato sauce. Flaws are apparent though: the oyster mushroom component of the tagliatelle funghi is dry and tough (even if the rest of the dish works), and a chicken parm is tough, lacking seasoning, and the accompaniment of “frites sexy” (yes, that’s the name) is sexy like a lobotomy. The service is “completely absent”, too — but the positives still earn it three stars. [Le Journal de Montréal]

Dur à Cuire

Finally, Le Devoir’s Jean-Philippe Tastet is as Longueuil BYOB Dur à Cuire, and praises the attention to detail: confit arctic char is “delicately prepared”, ditto for PEI oysters. Hefty plates like salmon tartare with ginger and kimchi, and hanger steak with chanterelles, fried leeks, and artichoke purée don’t sacrifice balance for size. A solid three stars. [Le Devoir]

Gaston

2666 Rue Masson, Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC H1Y 1W2 (514) 524-0002 Visit Website

Café Gentile

4126 Sainte-Catherine O, Westmount, QC H3Z 1P4 (514) 925-8686

Miel

2194 Rue du Centre, Le Sud-Ouest, QC H3K 1J4 (438) 381-3838 Visit Website

Bighi Curry

1659 Rue Ontario E, Montréal, QC H2L 1S8 (514) 379-4443 Visit Website

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