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Griffintown Gets a Homey, Local-Leaning Café, Restaurant, and Wine Bar in Newcomer Nolan

For their latest project, the team behind Villeray’s Knuckles doubles down on farm-fresh produce, but adds meat to the menu

plate of radishes in green sauce Nolan/Supplied

There’s a homey new morning-to-night spot now tending to the Griffintown crowd: It’s called Nolan, and it’s a local-leaning café, restaurant, and wine bar that opened on Notre-Dame West last week. Helmed by a group of industry folks, including Matthew Shefler and chef Vincent Lévesque-Lepage (both from Villeray Italian restaurant Knuckles), plus Julien Betancourt and Abel Goulet-Garcia, Nolan has replaced former restaurant Troy, on the corner of St-Martin Street.

A coffee shop, lunch purveyor (as of next week), dinner destination, and wine-focused drink den all rolled into one, Nolan was conceived as a neighbourhood hangout that diners can rely on for farm-fresh cuisine, Betancourt tells Eater over e-mail.

inside of restaurant with green walls Nolan/Supplied

Lévesque-Lepage has come up with a seasonal offering that’s slightly more carnivorous than what he’s serving at low-key vegetarian Knuckles, though similar in its bright, colourful, sauce-drizzled plating. Like at Knuckles, ingredients are sourced from local producers, from Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle microfarm Les Jardins Sauvé-Lafrance to urban mushroom growers Full Pin.

At the moment, dishes include clams with rhubarb and lovage; radishes swimming in ranch; asparagus draped in smoked egg yolks and trout roe; spaghetti alla chittara with morels and wild garlic; an éclair filled with cream, speck, and horseradish, and a striploin steak in a dune pepper sauce.

One item that’s promised to stay put on the menu, no matter the season, is the “Nolan Roll,”: a deep-fried Emmental cheese stick with smoked meat and sauerkraut. It’s served alongside a bell pepper dipping sauce.

bun with sliced meet and sauerkraut Nolan/Supplied

For drinks, there’s a wine list largely made up of bottles from Italian and French producers, plus a concise cocktail menu, boasting a jungle (rum-based) Negroni and a twist on the mint julep, featuring Amaro Montenegro and almond syrup.

It’s all being served in a 45-seat space that Betancourt describes as luminous and laid-back — “designed to be similar to a living room.” And just like home, this is a no-reservations-needed, come-as-you-are kind of place.

Nolan is open for walk-ins only, Wednesday to Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 12 a.m., at 1752 Notre-Dame Street Ouest.

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