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Meet funky and feisty Juliette Plaza

This new restaurant is just like she was — fun, funky and classy,

says Juliette Plaza co-owner Cheryl Johnson. The woman she’s referring to is her late “second mother” and the mom of business partner and co-chef Charles- Antoine Crête. The right-next-door project, designed by Andréanne Guillemette (formerly with Atelier Zébulon Perron), is separated by a wall and a curtain from the team’s iconoclastic Montreal Plaza. The new space is a long and bright 25-seater with a single tall window. Montreal Plaza regulars will recognize the signature motifs — Smurfs, Asterix, Lego flowers and an upside-down boat spinning like a disco ball. The red-topped kitchen island is a replica of the one in the kitchen at Normand Laprise’s Toqué!, where Johnson and Crête met 24 years ago.

Open from 11 to 11, the restaurant offers a menu showcasing the same top-notch ingredients as Montreal Plaza, though worked in a different way, says Johnson. It’s a little more Asian — for example, cervelles chawanmushi and a radish dish inspired by dim sum luo bo gao. Service glides smoothly from lunch to apéro to informal dinnertime, and then more drinks. Start with a Condesa cocktail (gin, vermouth, dashi and olive oil) and then take in the scallops, pork-flank brochette with pineapple ketchup, or lamb with citron confit labneh. Or maybe the mussels done whelk-style, a sly wink at the only dish from the Montreal Plaza menu (a staple from day 1). But it’s the dessert that brings us back to Juliette — a thick maple ice cream sandwich on a Goglu molasses biscuit, just like Maman used to serve after school.

– Ivy Lerner-Frank