The delicacies, the wine, the expertise at Bar St-Denis are rattling good

Just a few weeks in the past, I used to be visiting with a few of my associates at Paradiso – their pasta counter not too long ago opened in Westmount – and so they talked about that they needed to make a supply at Bar St-Denis and invited me to wine. The plan was to depart the pasta and have a drink and a small mouthful.

Bar St-Denis has been a spot that has been on my radar for some time, being open in 2018, however not in a spot I wished to go to an excessive amount of. I heard that the wine listing was respectable and I noticed photos of the spectacular art-deco ceiling and pink bubblegum baths designed by Appareil Structure, however I assumed it was simply different small plates and a pure wine bar. I used to be fallacious. Bar St-Denis – maybe due to its title – is, in my view, one of the crucial underrated eating places in Montreal. For those who do not learn greater than that, go eat there and you will see precisely what I imply.

The restaurant’s declare to fame is undoubtedly based mostly on the pedigree of administrators Emily Homsy and David Gauthier. Homsy spent greater than a decade as a chef at Au Pied de Cochon, the place he met Gauthier, who ultimately moved to PDC Sugar Shack. Nevertheless, aside from the standard of the cooking and the eye paid to the standard of the product used, there may be little proof of the PDC’s well-known indulgent and ample cooking. Gauthier, who runs the kitchen, cooks generously, however with taste reasonably than portion. Homsy, in flip, works the room, greets company, and usually oversees the operation. Its affect on the menu, nevertheless, doesn’t go unnoticed, as using many aromas and spices from the Center East might be simply traced again to its Egyptian roots. After my preliminary introduction to the restaurant, I made a decision to return with my spouse and dive deeper into the menu.

Bar St-Denis, as you could have guessed, is positioned proper on St-Denis and simply across the nook from Jean-Talon Sq.. The title stays from the previous diving bar on which the present restaurant has been reworked. I query this as a result of I believe the title partly denies the distinctive cooking that takes place within the kitchen. The title means that that is primarily a bar – a spot to have a drink, the place you’ll be able to have meals to keep away from getting drunk. I believe that makes this place a disservice. The pints are chilly, the cocktails look good and the wine listing is filled with good references at affordable costs – however they’re nothing particular. The meals, then again, is price writing about.

Take, for instance, bread – fairly easy, proper? Gauthier’s model comes out heat, with an ideal picture on the surface, which is buttered with inexperienced butter. The bread is splendidly gentle and delicate, simply as a toll roll meets a tandoori naan. It’s served with a big bowl of crème frage bathed in a shiny inexperienced basin of inexperienced ramp oil. We loved ours as an accompaniment to 2 different phenomenal dishes: shaved shells and chunks.

The coics had been really a sight to behold. Two colossal razors had been faraway from the shell, sliced ​​and tossed with a tabouleh fabricated from samphire (sea asparagus). The colourful, citrus-based salad is then peeled again and served in a vintage-pressed glass bowl full of a pile of crushed ice. It’s scrumptious, superbly introduced and feels rather more nuanced than what I might usually take into account bar meals.

Colas, generally known as sea snails, had been minimize into bite-sized items and wrapped in pale inexperienced tzatziki (my guess is that the ramps had been used as garlic for seasoning) and coated with cucumber slices and chips. crostini. The contemporary and clear aromas of cucumbers and chunks acquire richness and depth from tzatziki, and whereas some bread and dip could possibly be a bar snack, it will be arduous to call that. that.

Earlier than transferring on to the principle, we opted for a type of pasta (it will be impolite to not do it) by Bucatini – made by Paradiso – with sea urchins. Let me be clear: I am not a giant fan of sea urchins. I had the pleasure of having fun with some superb high quality hedgehogs in Japan, however right here in Quebec, I discover that the dear sweetness is masked by a cloudy and considerably bitter aroma. I imply, I used to be anticipating to be dissatisfied. Once more, this isn’t the case. A spiral nest of kitchens was coated with a full egg yolk and sprinkled with shiny orange and completely dealt with items of hedgehogs. The meals was in no way stunning, wealthy, as a result of the egg yolk blended with the pasta and created a scrumptious and silky coating. The bow retained its attribute sweetness and gave a brine that broke the richness. The pasta, in flip, had a unprecedented texture and was completely cooked and made its attribute hissing sound with every splash. Prime class and an ideal match for our wine.

Vin Bar St-Denis

The well-stocked wine listing has over 100 references and could be very numerous. Wines from many well-known and beloved producers are sprinkled with wines from native producers – similar to Frelighsburg’s Pleasure Hill and Saint-Armand’s Pigeon Hill – in addition to from international producers in Turkey and even Japan. For our Mediterranean and seafood-based meal, now we have chosen a fairly priced bottle Clear by the Catalan producer Finca Parera, a vibrant white, salty and aromatic, with sufficient maceration to provide it construction.

Subsequent to the pasta was a plate of “all dressed” grilled sucrine (child gem salad) dressed with a duo of pickles (cucumbers and banana pepper) and served on a goat’s style. Just a few summers in the past, I went to a snack bar within the localities that served rolling – In essence, a completely dressed scorching canine, hold the recent canine – this dish was a bit like what I think about it will be. Besides, you understand, rather more scrumptious. It was the weirdest of the dishes of the night time, however total nonetheless superb.

The final two dishes of the night had been devoted to 2 of probably the most appreciated components of the season: lobster and moruna. The lobster dish was a quite simple half-lobster dish (claws and half-tail) served in a pool of coral shades. White butter with Tokyo turnips and a wholesome tarragon unfold. That is a type of tried and true dishes that does not want any additional innovation. The lobster was tender and had been cooked to perfection White butter pink butter certainly – it was properly emulsified and added richness and acidity to the preparation. Effectively carried out.

The opposite dish, nevertheless, was a masterpiece. A ballotin ready exquisitely by guinea fowl (Bible) got here served on a frivolously withered nest of spinach and coated with a pile of juicy morels, soaking the entire silky, chestnut sauce Madère (Madeira). The attribute pits of mornels act as a conduit for sauce and poultry, whose aroma is someplace between hen and turkey – that is the embodiment of excellent meals. That is probably the most PDC-influenced dish of the night time and positively probably the most constant, but when it is on the menu whenever you go, I insist you order it.

We wrapped the desk, our bellies nearly bursting, with a lightweight, ethereal trifle of strawberries, superbly introduced in what seemed to be a one-serving stand. Layers of contemporary strawberries are blended with layers of cream with vanilla drops, delicate sponge cake, a type of strawberry gel and whipped cream cloths. The batch is dusted in a gold flake. Great.

For a while now, I have been asking myself, “What’s bar meals?” and though I do not know that I discovered the reply, I do not assume it’s this. I am unable to say precisely why – there may be a variety of properly thought out and properly executed bar meals – however the feeling at Bar St-Denis is totally different. I not too long ago returned from a visit to Paris and the meal I simply described would have overshadowed a number of the meals I ate at a number of the most respected eating places there. For many who had been, I might liken it to l’Avant Comptoir – exceptionally good and decidedly untidy. Nevertheless, l’Avant Comptoir and Bar St-Denis are distinct.

The place that jogged my memory the many of the meal was Lodge Herman, one in all my favourite eating places of all time. It is a praise that I do not learn simply. It’s a non-derivative, playful and fully clever cooking. It’s executed with confidence, however with out grandeur. It is rather good to cook dinner with a excessive dose of nonchalance. Extra importantly, that is precisely what I prefer to eat. Bar, restaurant, restaurant – as you want, is without doubt one of the finest locations to eat within the metropolis. ■

This text was initially printed within the June 2022 subject of Cult MTL journal.

For extra on Bar St-Denis, please go to the restaurant’s web site.

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