A few months after its revival with a host of new faces, Outremont Italian restaurant Le Petit Italien has drawn mixed reviews — Le Devoir critic Jean-Philippe Tastet loved it in May. But this week, Gazette critic Lesley Chesterman isn’t a huge fan, although she does find a few bright notes. From its location to its price, to its terrasse, Chesterman writes that it has great potential, but seems disappointed with the menu, hinting that it falls into the “I could cook this at home” category. The salads all founder somewhat: a Caesar is under-portioned, while an endive-grapefruit-fennel option is too bitter. Mains fare better: a risotto is given interesting texture with cauliflower, and is the star dish; other pasta options are too heavy on the sauce, but options like the puttanesca and pomodoro get a gentle thumbs up. Chesterman has kinder words for the wine and atmosphere — all up, it’s a so-so one and a half stars out of four (note that the Gazette’s printed edition stated that the review was out of five: this was an error by the newspaper). [Montreal Gazette]
At La Presse, critic Iris Gagnon-Paradis has a better time giving Village Hawaiian snack bar Kamehameha its first review about a year after it opened. The staple dish, fish and rice bowl poke, fares well: Gagnon-Paradis takes a salmon one with plump seafood chunks and a spicy mayo and approves; another spicy tuna-salmon one also gets a nod, although the sauce could be more generous. The customizable poke bowls seem to pose a slight problem, though: while the quality is good, Gagnon-Paradis finds many of the add-ons to be a little stingy, yet desserts make up for it with tasty waffle-like taiyaki cones filled with ice cream or soft serve twists. Despite small issues, a thumbs-up all round. [La Presse]
At Le Devoir, critic Catherine Ferland is at beachside beer bistro Quai 1635 just outside Quebec City. The terrasse-friendly fare scores well: focaccia with herb oil and mozzarella di bufala, and cheese and charcuterie plates highlight Quebec produce with flair. Both a salmon gravlax and tuna tataki get ecstasy points, the latter in particular, served with edamame, a sesame emulsion, wild rice, bok choy, and wontons. Three stars. [Le Devoir]
Week in Reviews took several weeks off, but here’s a light-speed rundown of who soared and sank throughout June:
- At the Gazette, St-Henri pizza spot Elena (from two Nora Gray owners) scored the biggest points, although the fact that critic Maeve Haldane was sent in place of Lesley Chesterman seemed to bother the brother of one owner, apparently not happy enough with a near-perfect three and a half star review. Meanwhile, Chesterman gave a walloping three stars to newish tapas spot Ibéricos on the Plateau, and the same in a re-review of Villeray BYOB Tandem, alongside two and a half stars in a warm review of new wine spot Alma in Outremont.
- Le Devoir critic Jean-Philippe Tastet also had solid props for Alma, but his June highlight was a return visit to Restaurant Mile Ex, dishing out four stars to chef Gregory Paul’s slightly meaty bistro. In Quebec City, Catherine Ferland gave Hono Izakaya’s Japanese snacks a nod too.
- La Presse gave big thumbs up to Ssense café, the casual operation belonging to the fashion retailed of the same name and run by Le Fantôme’s owners, ditto for the bar snacks of La Taverne du Pélican, from the Club Chasse et Pêche team. Critic Marie-Claude Lortie was also warm towards the reborn Antonio Park grill restaurant Lavanderia.
- Some but not all of Le Petit Italien’s charms restored [Montreal Gazette]
- Outremont’s Le Petit Italien Serves Classic Italian Fare Once Again [EMTL]
- Kamehameha Snack-Bar: aloha au coeur du Village [La Presse]
- Kamehameha is Open in the Village For All Your Hawaiian Snack Needs [EMTL]
- Une escale au Quai 1635 [Le Devoir]