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Critic Crowns New Falafel Royalty in Mile End

While two blocks away, there’s a great grill option

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Mile End chickpea-fryer Falafel Yoni earns its first review this week, a few months after opening, from La Presse critic Marie-Claude Lortie. Falafels are the obvious move here, the critic writes — although not that there’s much else on the menu. The critic notes that the falafels are prepared to order: “and it shows”. They’re light and crispy yet with a suitably spongy interior, and best eaten ASAP after receiving it. The sandwich gets props, while the falafel salad is a wee bit dull, according to Lortie. For those disinterested in chickpeas, Lortie also recommends the sabich, a fried eggplant pita sandwich: “it’s fresh, creamy, and filling”. The fast-casual counter seals the deal with no-nonsense chocolate-tahini balls as its main dessert offering — Lortie says she’d absolutely go back for more. [La Presse]

Smoked chicken over coals and fennel

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Over at Le Devoir, critic Laurence Michèle Dufour, filling in for Jean-Philippe Tastet, is at grill-focused summer pop-up Parasol, which is open behind Mile End taco spot Maïs most nights until early September. The verdict: get there before the season is over. While it’s difficult to believe that an alleyway spot behind a garage door could be such a peaceful haven, that’s what Dufour finds: cocktails like spritzes and margaritas are on point, while ex-Hoogan & Beaufort sommelier William Saulnier does a fine job. Over at the barbecue, an artichoke vinaigrette is a little overcooked, but things pick up: a mussel dish where the shellfish juice is used to cook rhubarb and peas is a delight, and the main event, a Boston salad with kefir vinaigrette and a roasted half chicken, impresses, with tender flesh, crispy skin, complemented by the bright salad. It’s all wrapped up by a perfectly summery strawberry and wild ginger dessert — four stars. [Le Devoir]

Le Petit Italien/Facebook

Oh dear, revived Outremont Italian resto Le Petit Italien is not having a good time with the critics — Lesley Chesterman shrugged at it recently, and now Cult Montreal’s JP Karwacki isn’t wowed. Service is overly casual — think daily specials not being explained — and the food is mixed. A carpaccio with summery greens and mushroom mayo is “addictively good”, yet an asparagus dish with chèvre and egg yolk sauce seems like a misstep. For pastas, it’s the same: a puttanesca is mostly a plate full of olive flavours, while pappardelle with mushroom does far better, loaded with “herbose and tangy notes”. In one promising sign, the asparagus and puttanesca have since been pulled from the menu, but Karwacki isn’t too jazzed. [Cult MTL]

L’Épicurieux/Facebook

Finally, the Gazette’s Lesley Chesterman is in the mountains at Val-David destination L’Épicurieux, and it’s utterly wonderful, it seems: it’s the ideal version of a countryside, farm-to-table spot, with great prices on small plates and biodynamic wines to boot. Highlights: “one heck of a large tomato”, with the odd-but-good combo of oregano, peanuts, and honey; ditto for a pork loin with cauliflower and mayo-mustard gribiche sauce, a stellar variation on classic French flavours. The only hesitation seems to be that the restaurant’s signature, blue cheese gnocchi, is more of a ski-season dish in its richness, but it doesn’t stop her handing down a near-perfect three and a half stars. [Montreal Gazette]

Le Petit Italien

1265 Rue Bernard Ouest, Outremont, QC H2V 1V9 (514) 278-0888 Visit Website

Parasol Bar à Vin

5439 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, QC H2T 1S5 Visit Website

Falafel Yoni

4549 Rue Wellington, Verdun, QC H4G 1W8 (514) 424-5473 Visit Website

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