It’s been a while since Le Devoir critic Jean-Philippe Tastet came out with a bad review. He’s at NDG restaurant Hopkins, which until now had received ample praise, but not this time — although he notes that he doesn’t love writing an evisceration, but does feel it necessary to help would-be diners save time and money. Interestingly, he notes that he had a great lunch at the restaurant last fall, adding “I should have written about the restaurant then”. This time, Tastet says he was chided by a server for being four minutes late, and the noise level was “intolerable” (even staff had to leave the restaurant to take calls, he notes).
As for the food, Tastet says not one out of seven dishes deserves praise: the opening charcuterie plate probably gets the best write-up: it’s well-prepared, although over-salty duck and the confusing addition of brillat-savarin cheese bring it down (plus, he baulks at the price). One of the meat plates is dominated by two fatty hunks, and is sent back, only to return 19 minutes later (Tastet is rather particular about the timing in this review). The plates come out consistently cold, and none of the desserts are finished, with Tastet reserving particular ire for a meringue-marshmallow hybrid. He writes that he felt pressed to leave the restaurant by staff too, although notes that the service was the one redeeming factor — one and a half stars. [Le Devoir]
At the Gazette things are mercifully better as critic Lesley Chesterman is at Outremont bistro Bloomfield, from Soupesoup founder (who since left the company) Caroline Dumas. It’s not perfect, with Chesterman pointing out substantial issues with service, wine offerings, and the restaurant’s ventilation: “Bloomfield is notable in the food category only,” although Chesterman does seem oddly charmed by the “genuineness” of the operation, flaws and all. As for food, a pea soup is “simply sublime”, ditto the fattoush salad. The chickpea flour pizza-adjacent socca is dry, though. Mains fare best: a lamb shank is both generous and melt-in-mouth good, and chicken adobo is “succulent”. Unsurprisingly, Dumas’ famed pouding chômeur is also great. Two stars. [Montreal Gazette]
Cult Montreal has nothing this week, but Week in Reviews had a brief hiatus where JP Karwacki came out with two write-ups. First was Jean-Talon Market-adjacent OK Poké, with “fresh and flavourful” Hawaiian fish bowls, although the rice porridge congee suffers from too much heat and ginger. Later, Karwacki was at Verdun Cambodian spot Les Street Monkeys, finding it “a total trip” to Southeast Asia. Everything from “charismatic” cocktails to stuffed chicken wings, papaya salad, and red curry amok fares well, leaving Karwacki satisfied. [Cult MTL]
Lastly, it’s unclear what’s getting reviewed at La Presse, since the publisher seems to be only uploading reviews to its tablet app and an obscure corner of the internet, and not the restaurants homepage where they used to live.
- «Hopkins»: trébucher à NDG [Le Devoir]
- Critic: NDG Newcomer Has “Brand Spanking New Cooking Talent” [EMTL]
- Endearing imperfections at Bloomfield [Montreal Gazette]
- Healthy and holistic eats at OK Poké [Cult MTL]
- Cambodian cuisine to the front [Cult MTL]