La Petite-Patrie has a hot new place to eat and drink, with all-rounder Bar St-Denis now open on St-Denis at Bélanger — and plenty of culinary clout behind it.
The bar’s quartet of principals is made up of two ex-Au Pied de Cochon chefs, Emily Homsy and David Gauthier, Normand Guerin, owner of longtime Beaubien East bar Chez Roger, and bar magnate Eric Lefrancois.
“We just want a place where people could come, have a drink, eat, but they don’t have to eat, and where it’s going to be a big party at the end of the night,” Homsy tells Eater.
Homsy left her role as chef de cuisine at Au Pied de Cochon in mid-2017, taking a year and a half to prep the bar; she met Gauthier in that kitchen, and he later moved to the Au Pied de Cochon sugar shack. With their years in fine dining kitchens, Gauthier says it was time for something more relaxed — a bar (and Guerin and Lefrancois are providing much of the bar expertise).
Homsy and Gauthier are clear that it’s not a destination restaurant — rather, a neighbourly spot to eat and drink. While it’s certainly casual, there’s strong emphasis on quality. On the food side, Gauthier explains.
“There’s not a lot of elements on the plate[s], but they’re really well put-together, and with quality ingredients.”
The menu will evolve over time, but to start, there will be a few items drawing on Homsy’s Egyptian heritage: falafel, kibbeh, and a lamb tartare. Then there’ll be some bar staples — a beef bavette with classic pepper sauce, and a burger. Homsy is pulling in just one item from Pied de Cochon — fanciful chicken nuggets with foie gras, but instead of maple, it’ll be accompanied by honey from Miels d’Anicet. Charcuteries will come from much-loved Phillip Viens.
Over on the drinks side, there’s a little of everything: cocktails skew classic, while Homsy says her team, including sommelier Catherine, has worked hard to get affordable wines by the glass that are affordable — $10, not $17, she says.
“So you can come three or four times a week.”
Some craft beers from West Shefford will also be served, as well as affordable favourites from Brasseurs RJ, like tall cans of Tremblay.
Then there’s the space — and it’s a stunner. Formerly a dive bar by the same name (it closed in December 2017), the makeover is major.
“We tried to make it nice but also timeless — using things that are going to age well,” explains Gauthier. That means designer Kim Parizeau (see also: Pastel Rita, Hoogan & Beaufort) has used lots of brass, stone, exposed bricks, and a little marble. But the centrepiece is the stunning patterned ceiling — behind it are hidden strips of LEDs that are dimmable, meaning it casts a satisfyingly atmospheric glow over the whole space.
Much of the room is covered in dark tones, meaning the few highlights stand out with aplomb: the bar is lined with orange stools that match its lit-from-above corrugated surface. Then the bathroom is an otherworldly departure from the darker bar, painted wall-to-wall in soothing millennial pink — the only element, Gauthier and Homsy admit, which might not age so well, given its trend factor. But for now, it looks excellent. Here’s the full tour.
STATUS — Bar St-Denis is open at 6966 St-Denis from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. daily, with the kitchen open until 1 a.m. daily.
- Bar St-Denis [Instagram]