PLATEAU — The Arabian Peninsula country of Yemen now has culinary representation in Montreal with Mazbi having opened on St-Denis Street in recent weeks. Slow-cooked spiced meat dish mandi is a staple, alongside options including grilled fish and some other dishes drawn from around the region such as stewy Saudi dish mugalgal. There are even a few vegan options. Yemeni food — mostly mandi — has occasionally been available at some closed-down restaurants such as Kabsah and Khayrat in the city before, but Mazbi appears to be the only place explicitly committed to the cuisine right now.
ST-HENRI — There’s a new spinning-meat-slicer in town, with Sudwest Gyros Co. now in business on Notre-Dame W. It’s definitely not your classic Boustan-adjacent Mediterranean shawarma or gyro: the pork, chicken and tofu pitas get into heavy fusion territory with menu items like “Le Jah Rasta”, a jerk gyro with plantains, or “Le Soprano” with a porcini-basil sauce and marinated eggplant. But for purists there’s also a no-nonsense classic.
VILLAGE — Pre-eminent Montreal drag queen Mado Lamotte has moved into the restaurant biz, opening La Dînette à Mado in the former Comptoir 21 space on Ste-Catherine East in the Village. As previously reported, it’s located right next door to Mado’s main attraction, Cabaret Mado, known for nightly drag shows. However, it’s not a drag queen destination in the style of hybrid restaurants like California’s Hamburger Mary’s — rather, it’s just a tidy diner-bistro doing classics like steak-frites, burgers, and chili. But of course, there’s no shortage of high heels and wigs right next door.
ST-HENRI — Also new on the Notre-Dame West strip is Pikeos, taking over the former Ozeu & O’Boeuf space. The focus is Nikkei cuisine — the fusion of Japanese and Peruvian culinary styles that began developing over a hundred years ago. In practice, that means the menu has ceviches, papas rellenas (filled potatoes), anticuchos (grilled meaty skewers), and some very Peruvian cocktails such as the classic pisco sour. It’s the second Nikkei restaurant to set up shop in town, following in the footsteps of hot downtown spot Tiradito.
PLATEAU — The Bistro l’Escoffier space on St-Denis Street is now charming bistro Joséphine. In its sharp white interior, the restaurant is doing comforting plates such as Cornish hen or a sirloin with upscaled accompaniments (see: bisque and “lobster fritos” with the hen); seafood also figures prominently with smoked scallops, grilled octopus, and oyster mignonette, amongst other options.