Sep 30, 2010

Best restaurant bets in Montreal: Club Chasse et Pêche and 5ème Peché

The dark and moody Club Chasse et Pêche

Yesterday I got a query from a reader that I thought I'd share here, so that my answer can be useful to others, too.... Here is what Chris Grimm asked me:

Hi Alex,

My significant other and I visit Montreal once or twice each year (from metro NYC).

We always stay three nights, eat at two favorites, and try something new for the third. (It was always APDC + Anise + 1, until Anise closed, now it is APDC + Joe Beef + 1.)

Can you suggest a third for this Fall?

In the past we've been to Graziella, Toque!, Club Chasse, Milos, Europea, Decca 77, etc. We have no restrictions, but Joe Beef & APDC are similar enough that another direction would be good. I've been interested in the Italian slant of Liverpool House - but it also seems (for obvious reasons) similar to Joe Beef. Any young chefs doing interesting & different things?

Recalling Anise, do you have any idea what Racha is doing now?



Chris, you're right: Au Pied de Cochon and Joe Beef have an element in common: they both serve very tasty "ogre" food! :)

For something more refined, presentation-wise, but still very much Québec-driven, I'd recommend Le Club Châsse et Pêche, in Old Montréal. I always take out-of-towners and I've never had a bad meal. Short menu, meat-heavy. Cool/funky space with low ceilings, fun little light-fixtures that look like upside-down glasses, lots of references to hunting (hence the name, club of fishing and hunting). Desserts are to die for. Each night they do a different riff on surf'n'turf, - appropriately named chasse et pêche on the menu -, but obviously light years away from the cheesy American Red Lobster kind of thing. It could be sweetbreats and scallops, for example.

Menus change weekly, but they never take off the best-selling risotto of suckling pig with foie gras shavings which is absolutely scrumptious. My all-time fave Québec classic!
And their desserts, thanks to pastry chef Masami Waki, are genius.

423, rue St-Claude
tel. (514) 861-1112

These days I'm also loving a tiny gem on the Plâteau called 5ème Pêché. This charming little bistro serves very ambitious fare, with quite inventive presentations (a breast of duck over a metallic net from which aromatic fumes emmanate, for example). The chef is a master at mixing several different textures in one dish. This summer, for instance, I had an incredible salad served in a glass container which combined beets, red grapes and pistachios. Tendersness and crunch, sweetness and saltiness, all in each bite! Cheese plate is also done with obvious care. Low marks for comfort, high marks for food.

Au Cinquième Péché
330, avenue du Mont-Royal Est

Montreal restaurant critic Lesley Chesterman ate at Club Châsse et Pêche about 20 days ago and called her dinner "flawless" on Twitter. She's got photos to prove it, you can view them here.

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