The first review for big deal Old Montreal restaurant Monarque is in — and the restaurant, from father and son Richard and Jérémie Bastien (see also: Leméac), their large team, is reportedly excellent, finds Gazette critic Lesley Chesterman.
No doubt expectations were high for Monarque — it was first announced some five years ago, with promises of a luxuriant dining room and classy all-day brasserie being added over time. With so much anticipation, Monarque could have a long way to fall if it were to get things wrong — but that’s not the case. “Even in a bigger and richer city, Monarque would be a showstopper,” Chesterman writes.
Chesterman reviews the high-end dining room’s dinner service (it offers a lunch-time table d’hôte too) — after admiring the marble tiling, she gives nods to a “superb” rabbit rillette and “luxurious yet restrained” tuna tartare beefed up with foie gras among the appetizers; every meaty main gets a stamp of approval, from tender short rib to rosy and moist rabbit. Wine, cocktails, and the washrooms (yes, really) all get the thumbs-up treatment too. Chesterman notes that her few criticisms are in “splitting-hair” territory, but still outlines a few: there’s slightly undercooked halibut among the appetizers; desserts, while earning some tenuous props, are not as complex and stunning as the other dishes. Chesterman almost never hands out a perfect four stars, but this one comes close: three and a half stars.
In other reviews:
- Le Devoir’s Jean-Philippe Tastet likes new farm-to-table spot Clairon, from a team of young chefs and restaurateurs — whelks with bone marrow and a tender pork belly and pea dish nab it three and a half stars.
- On the Plateau, new Sri Lankan spot Nama bounces back after a rough review a couple of weeks back — Marie-Claude Lortie at La Presse is quite satisfied with the heady spicy mixes and creamy curries, and writes that she’d happily eat there again.
- At Cult MTL, JP Karwacki is at Petite-Patrie neighbourhood spot Bistro Rosie, finding chef Jérémy Daniel-Six’s French technique with south-east Asian ingredients approach to fusion a winner.
- And looking back a week, Lesley Chesterman found chef Helena Loureiro’s self-titled Old Montreal Portuguese destination Helena to be lacking (one star), while Tastet deemed the reborn version of Mile End favourite Lawrence to be better than ever — four stars.
- Monarque sets a new standard for elegance [Montreal Gazette]
- Majestic Restaurant Monarque Arrives, From Leméac Father-Son Duo [EMTL]
- Dans les p’tits pots, les bons onguents [Le Devoir]
- Nama: le Sri Lanka dans votre assiette [La Presse]
- Bistro Rosie is pretty fantastic, but their menus are fleeting [Cult MTL]