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 end of January brought surprising, sad news from Montreal, via Facebook, where on its home page, Hôtel Herman announced that it would be closing at the end of February.
Coincidentally, the scheduled release for CB100 was Feb. 28. And since we prefer, when possible, not be in the business of recommending restaurants that are no longer open for business, we opted to ask KPMG, our adjudicators, to pull the restaurant from our ranking. Later, we learned that Hôtel Herman was headed for yet another top 50 finish, likely ranked 32nd (unaudited). For what it’s worth, that would have been up eight spots from last year. But no matter; what’s important to us is that Hôtel Herman was a favourite of ours. The Mile End setting was cool, the interior inviting and stylish—especially with that great, room-defining central bar. The natural-wine carte was a pleasure to choose from. But above all, chef Marc-Alexandre Mercier’s vegetable-forward cooking was smart, imaginative, inviting, unpretentious and hugely enjoyable. We look forward to finding it again in an equally convivial spot sometime soon. So, thank you to Mercier and his team for the fine run, and best of luck in the quest for new digs.