Arthur’s Nosh Bar owners and husband-wife duo Alex Cohen and Raegan Steinberg are opening a second restaurant in Saint-Henri.
Evalina’s, slated to open this spring, is a collaboration between the pair and Shah Kash and Paulina DiCapua from neighbouring progressive art space The Letter Bet.
The menu will be a reflection of a multitude of global influences, with Middle Eastern spice trade routes and Latin America as two focuses. These two regions have more culinary interaction with each other than some diners may realize, Cohen says. For example, tacos al pastor — thought of as clasically Mexican — actually originate from a dish brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants in the early 1900s.
He and Steinberg hope to pull inspiration from both cuisines equally. “Montreal is a huge melting pot of different cultures that have changed and formed the food scene, but imagine thousands of years of migration [in places like Central America or the Middle East]” Cohen told Eater Montreal.
“And then they adapted to what was available to them, like a flatbread was in the Middle East what a taco is to Mexico,” Steinberg added.
They hope their menu will reflect a similar degree of cross-cultural exchange, offering a fresh culinary experience to the Montreal food scene.
Though the menu is far from set in stone, Cohen and Steinberg are planning a range of seafood-heavy offerings, like octopus, shrimp, and aguachiles (shrimp submerged in a sauce seasoned with chilli, lime, and cucumber). The pair plan to cook most of their ingredients on charcoal using a Japanese yakitori grill. Evalina’s will also serve flatbread tortillas, “Americana-style” desserts, and will offer a range of mezcal, cocktails, and private import natural wines.
And as the venue’s opening at 3981 Notre-Dame West proceeds full-steam ahead, Steinberg says she’s primarily excited to venture into new culinary territory.
“Everyone just expected us to open another Arthur’s, so we’re excited just to be doing something in another genre,” she says. “To explore this whole different side of cooking again, and doing nighttime service ... a lot of people are waiting to see what we come up with.”
Meanwhile, the duo are preparing to re-open Arthur’s this Saturday with an additional 18 seats. No changes to the menu yet, they note, but they’re hopeful that the extra space will help with the out-the-door lines that Arthur’s is now known for.