THE DÉCOR at this 30-seat restaurant at the edge of The Village is spare, verging on austere. The floor is cold stone and the walls are white. The tables are handsome dark wood but bare, set with grey porcelain water cups and chairs upholstered in grey felt. For colour, there’s something special, though — a pair of spectacular backlit murals by Jean-Paul Mousseau, a prominent Quebec artist in the ’60s and ’70s, artistic director of the Montreal subway and, most important, grandfather of Le Mousso’s founder and chef, Antonin Mousseau-Rivard. Three nights a week, starting at 7 p.m., meals unfold theatrically, with the sound of a gong. Menu descriptions are minimalist (e.g., crab-celery-bergamot, lamb’s tongue-harissa-spices and wild boar-porcini-walnut), but Mousseau-Rivard describes each dish of his tasting menu to the room as it is served. His cuisine créative menu mines the seasons — “a few vegetables, loads of vegetables, and no vegetables” — with wine pairings by sommelier Luana Aubert. There’s magic in every dish, whether a sea urchin, brown butter and hazelnut faux foie gras, or a Burning (Snow) Man flambé dessert laced with Quebec-grown citrus and spirits. The original and assertively flavourful dishes present a Québécois take on neo-Nordic cooking with hyperlocal ingredients. The surreal plating is inspired by the scandalous 1940s Québécois Automatiste artists.
Table 666, the inferno table at the end of the bar.
Antonin Mousseau-Rivard IS AN ARTIST.”
–Sofia El Kahel
It's elusive, that sweet spot between being a special-occasion restaurant and a no-occasion let’s-grab-a-bite kind of place.