Montreal Report: DNA Restaurant

Perfect DNA  Chef Derek Dammann is a true believer in head-to-toe dining, not for the shock value a customer might get when offered Veal Heart, Kidney, and Liver Kebabs, but for the practicality of it, and as a way of going back to the way we used to eat. The first item that my eye hit on the menu was Blood Cake. As a child, I was served Jelita (Slovak), which I loved, but had I known those delicious sausages had blood as an ingredient, I would never have let it pass my lips. Derek’s version (photo) came with fried egg on top and tossed chanterelles. A true taste treat. The decor wins my top prize for design cleverness-plus-comfort of all the places we visited in Montreal. There was a subtle sense of humor to the tufted chair back, whose one button went awry, and had only one arm. The orange lounge area screamed ORANGE in the most spirited way, and was totally orange down to the glassware. My friend Bob told me of a surprise in the men’s room, which I won’t spoil for you, but it adds a wonderfully whimsical touch. See more pictures from our lunch visit here of the house-made charcuterie, boneless pig head terrine, the downstairs private dining room, shop and wine cellar/meat locker. Next time I'm in Montreal it will be dinner at DNA.

Montreal Report: Barroco

Late Night Leisure  What a joy to come across such a sweet, friendly, welcoming little spot. Barroco's manager Graham Warner, who turned out to be my favorite host in Montreal, made us feel right at home. We sampled the place early evening, then Graham made a bar reservation for us after dinner, after midnight, actually. I will admit, other than a couple of oysters, most of our intake had to do with cocktails. I gave new bartender Cai carte blanche, and he concocted some very well balanced and imaginative drinks that suited my palate overwhemingly. Must be his chef background. Seen here is one of the drinks, with succulent slice of grapefruit. Cai also got creative wth a blow torch and fruit, and served up the slices with a shot of vodka. See more of the space, which adhered to Old Montreal’s stone and brick look, with some elegant touches, and the cocktails we sampled here.

Montreal Report: L’Original

Canadian Comfort  What to do on a rainy Monday night? Get all warm and cozy at L’Original and be ready for some incredibly delicious fare and laid-back personal service. I am still thinking about the fish that I had there, which was set atop a mini pool of creamy-tangy, sauce, with a touch of tomato, that was absolutely divine. Bob felt the same way about his scallop brochette, which also was swathed in creaminess. Are you getting the picture? We started the meal off with a dozen oysters, and we sure picked the right restaurant to do so. Daniel Notkin, the supplier, was more than happy to talk about the different origins and tastes of the oysters, of which we had 3 out of 4 offered on that night, then ordered 2 more of the ommitted offering, strictly for learning purposes! See more photos of our meal, and the rustic birch trees and stone-wall setting here. I wish this place was in New York!

Montreal Report: Le Club Chasse et Peche

Join the Club I fell in love with this restaurant, for it’s allusion to a hunting lodge with casually set up lighting and a round dining room within the space that made it seem like an old castle. It was painted a dark, dull shiny green throughout. Since we had eaten a bit around 5, we decided to have 5 appetizers instead of a main course. And I am glad we did. Sweetbreads, Chanterelles in a Crust, Scallops and Risotto came after our first bite: Fried Zucchini Blossoms. The tomatoes in this particular dish tasted like no tomato I had ever encountered. I asked the waiter if the chef could get in contact with me and share his recipe. Voila! It appeared instantly on the scene, in French, and translated by Philip our waiter. It involved a sous vide technique, that can be tricky, but if you know how to do this, I highly recommend it. It turned the tomato intensely sweet/sour. Here is the explanation: Remove skins from cherry tomatoes. Place into a vacuum-sealed bag with half Minus 8 vinegar and the other half a simple syrup made with sugar and mineral water. See all the dishes we had at this link.