BERRIES HAVE THE BEST MOUTHFEEL, the way you can feel each one individually in your mouth—like tapioca, or really well-cooked sushi rice. But people have lost some important berry vibe. These days everybody wants them to be sweet. I think they should be sour. That’s what I liked about saskatoons when I first encountered them in Newfoundland, where they call them serviceberries. I also like how the harvest window is so small. They’re not exactly rare. But commercially, you don’t see them that much. The last thing is that they’re really good for you—rich in anti-oxidants and very healthy. —J.C.
The most keenly anticipated Montreal restaurant opening of 2015 was easily Charles-Antoine Crête’s Montréal Plaza, which opened in late August in the former Holder brothers’ space in Plaza St-Hubert.
Montréal Plaza is Crête’s first restaurant (with business partner Cheryl Johnson) since stepping out on his own, after more than a decade of working for the legendary Normand Laprise.
There was no question that after rising from linecook to chef de cuisine at Toqué! Crête was ready to do his own thing.
The excitement over what exactly that would turn out to be was spurred on not just by Crête’s culinary reputation, but his eccentricity, and irrepressible wild personality.
As expected, the décor is quirky and unconventional (a dollhouse dangles upside down from the ceiling over one table, and rotates, and Crête has an open office cum woodworking shop on the restaurant floor, where he can be occasionally enjoying a time out with his tippling parrot).
An early look at the food showed it to be unpretentious, exuberant, assertively local and original in its presentation. (Who else would serve Bluefin tartare in a serving bowl fashioned from one of the fish’s impressively stout vertebrae?).
We will be back for a closer, more serious look at it all very soon.
6230, rue St-Hubert