Big news from chef Antonin Mousseau-Rivard’s Village/Centre-Sud headquarters: he has a new, more casual venue in the works for
March (update: as of May, the projected opening is now in June).
There’s a number of changes going on here — the big one is that the chef-owner is opening an à la carte resto-bar on Ontario East, to be named Le Petit Mousso (more on the other changes in a moment).
Mousseau-Rivard tells Eater that the approach will be roughly similar to beloved but now-closed Mile End restaurant Hôtel Herman.
“Small dishes...good natural wines, lots of dishes that are unconventional, and we might have a few old school classics.”
Le Petit Mousso will follow a similar culinary style to its big sibling: “minimalist but complex”, in the chef’s words — something distinctly Québécois with plenty of local ingredients, but small international touches. There will be a short menu of eight to ten items, plus dessert, and a similar focus on presentation as at Le Mousso.
While the space will have a bar permit, Mousseau-Rivard says it’s not quite a wine bar, although he promises a strong wine selection. It also won’t accept reservations — in that sense, it’s going to be more open to diners or drinkers looking for a 5 à 7 or something small to eat and drink. That’s deliberate, says Mousseau-Rivard, as he wanted to open up something where customers could be regulars, without having to throw down for the full tasting menu, as is required at Le Mousso.
“We’re doing this for people from the neighbourhood, they come to eat at Le Mousso but they can’t come every month.”
Mousseau-Rivard has had plenty of time to think about this casual concept — he was going to open something along the lines of Le Petit Mousso in 2015, but changed concept last-minute to go with the more formal, degustation set-up at Le Mousso, which has been a huge success.
So where is Le Petit Mousso going to be? Well, it’s going right into Le Mousso’s 55-seat location on Ontario East — and Le Mousso is moving. Mousseau-Rivard has picked up the adjoining space on the corner of Amherst and Ontario (the former La Réserve du Comptoir), and his original restaurant is moving in there.
It has a slightly smaller capacity (45 instead of 55), but Mousseau-Rivard says the new space is much more fitting for the fine-dining approach, which has made it one of the most uniformly praised restaurants to have opened in recent years in the city. He notes that the new side is has quieter acoustics, and won’t have a communal table for seating, meaning 2s and 4s will have their own tables — the rustic, woody furniture will stay with Le Petit Mousso.
“The other side used to be a restaurant, all the [equipment] is better placed. It’s calm, it’s tidy. We said ‘why don’t we move our Mousso to the other side?’”
And there’s more space for the kitchen, which can only help take the food “a notch above”, adds Mousseau-Rivard.
The new space for Le Mousso will be operational during Montréal en Lumière, while Le Petit Mousso should open sometime later in March.