7. Montréal Plaza
Settle in here with a friend at a table or at the long, busy bar and at first all seems normal. Zébulon Perron’s design for the place is as contemporary and appealing today as it was the day Plaza opened in late 2015. The mood of the place is joyous, the wine list heavy on well-priced Burgundy. But—hang on a moment—what’s Elmo doing at the next table? And what are all those plastic dinosaurs doing gathered on the pass? Order the sashimi de pétoncles and you’ll soon find out: the raw sliced scallop is served draped over the striped back of a small triceratops. It’s dressed with crunchy quinoa, clementine segments, a dash of heat and tiny nasturtium leaves— and is delicious. Chef Charles-Antoine Crête is an improvisational virtuoso. His co-chef and business partner, Cheryl Johnson, provides an enabling balance. Together, they push boundaries. Their food is exuberantly original, occasionally busy and best enjoyed shared. Whelk gratinée with miso butter is a Plaza classic. Stay late and the restaurant’s quotient of the unexpected often picks up, until suddenly you find yourself wondering why the bartender is dressed in a furry T-Rex suit. It’s nothing to worry about.
Photos: DOMINIQUE LAFOND