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Critic Finds A Great Reason To Go To Laval

And newcomer Mélisse gets a shining first write-up

Oregon

— Gazette critic Lesley Chesterman visits Pacific Northwest-inspired wine bar Oregon this week, open since late 2016 — and despite what its strip mall location in Laval’s Ste-Rose district might imply (“the least sexy [location] for restaurants”) she finds the farm-to-table spot a “keeper”. She has particular props for sommelier Simon Boudreault’s recommendations from his drinkable natural wine list, and food fares well too (if a tiny bit pricey, Chesterman notes). A poached peach entrée with balsamic and ricotta is “luscious”, and a scaled-up panzanella with smoked scallop and chanterelles is enjoyable, if pushing a homey salad a little too far into fancy territory. But Chesterman’s favourite is a trio of pasta parcels, stuffed with sage and shrimp. There are no flops to be seen, although Chesterman questions why the desserts are lacking in seasonal fruit, given Oregon’s commitment to local produce — all up, two and a half stars. [Montreal Gazette]

Restaurant Mélisse

— At La Presse, critic Marie-Claude Lortie is the first to visit all-day Cité-du-Multimédia spot Mélisse, open since June. The light lunch fare hits the spot: while a caprese salad beefed up with a piece of grilled salmon might seem strange, “it’s great”, Lortie writes. Similarly a tomato-ginger soup seems surprising, “but works very well”. The house tartines (a prominent menu item), notably the “lamb-ham”, are also a “delight”. It’s not perfect: a spelt salad has everything to please but comes out too salty, and a blueberry clafoutis is too floury, but overall, Lortie would return. [La Presse]

Baumann Smokehouse

— Le Devoir critic Jean-Philippe Tastet heads east for some barbecue this week — he’s in Sherbrooke at Baumann Smokehouse. He fixates a little heavily on the “hipsterisée” image of the staff with beards and tattoos (something Tastet has done before). Smoked, jerk-marinated tofu from chef Suzy Rainville is a pleasant surprise (particularly for non-fans of tofu). The smoke-and-grill menu is pretty pleasing (even if chicken and beef plates are rough on the presentation side), but it’s smoked scallops, hazelnut butter, chorizo chips with corn, chanterelles, shallots and more that really makes Tastet salivate. Three stars. [Le Devoir]

L’Épicurieux

— Journal de Montréal critic Thierry Daraize is also out of the city, at Val-David’s L’Épicurieux. It’s a place to “eat well for a good price”, for Daraize: a beef tataki with tomato and chimichurri is a strong start, with tender, high-quality meat, although veal sweetbreads with a creamy mushroom sauce are a little on the rich side. A chèvre cheesecake rounds it out: a “five star dessert”. Four stars. [Le Journal de Montréal]

Restaurant Mélisse

719 Rue William, Ville-Marie, QC H3C 1N9 (514) 379-3794 Visit Website

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