6230 SAINT HUBERT STREET, MONTREAL, QUEBEC
THE DESIGN IS STRIKING, elegant and contemporary, but a closer look reveals many an eccentric touch.
What, for example, is that convention of plastic dinosaurs doing gathered on the pass? Why is a dollhouse dangling upside down over a raised table in front of the kitchen, and rotating slowly like a chandelier in a weird dream? And what’s Elmo doing seated at the table in the corner? Never mind; don’t fret. Settle in at the long, busy bar or at a table in the joyous, bustling dining room, order a bottle of Burgundy from the growing, bargain-strewn list and enjoy. Pleasure and good fun (yours and theirs) is Plaza’s purpose, and the memorable journey is unexpectedly punctuated with great food and professionalism. Plaza’s co-owners have unassailable credentials, from veteran front-of house manager Sébastien Blanchette back to the kitchen, overseen by co-chefs Charles-Antoine Crête and Cheryl Johnson, both alumni of Toqué!. Crête is an improvisational virtuoso; Johnson provides an enabling balance.
Together they push boundaries. Their food is exuberantly original, occasionally busy with competing ideas, and best enjoyed shared (especially in the form of the shared tasting menu, a steal at $80 per person). Razor clams come tossed with peanut, crispy garlic, cilantro, ponzu and green herb oil, crackling with flavour and competing textures. Lightly cured salmon trout comes packaged with horseradish cream, pomegranate seeds, cilantro and croutons, all rolled into a daikon hand roll. A slice of boudin noir, set in creamy scrambled egg topped with a sheet of pommes Anna and a scattering of black truffle, is a nod to classicism. But next, a platter arrives with morsels of monkfish sharing space with diced, pickled deer tongue and sliced radish, all dusted with Parmigiano. And yes, that was a birthday cake that just went past, riding on a model of an Imperial Star Destroyer. So?