May 19, 2011

Van Horne Cuisine du Marché - a fresh new restaurant in Outremont

A fresh new restaurant just opened its doors on Van Horne, a little bit out of the way but especially good news for Outremont dwellers in search of market dishes where vegetables and fishes take center stage.

The decor is like a blank slate, all painted crisp white, and where chosen art pieces stand out. I don’t mean any art piece, real collection items like the Roy Lichtenstein plates (a main artist of the American Pop Art movement in the likes of Andy Warhol), and the beautifully intricate doors that once adorned the Iranian Pavilion of Expo ‘67. Oh yes, and expect to meet Bill, a large
Totem pole overseeing the room.

Foodies bloggers hard at work...twitting away!

The only real splash of color in the space is a vibrant orange, reminiscent of Hermès which promises a classy approach to food. Expectations are set.

The menu changes regularly, so don’t expect to find the same dishes when you go. The ones that I tasted at this special evening for the media and some Montreal celebs were:

Snow crab, grapefruit, joy choy, cucumber, radish /13$
Crabe des neiges, pamplemousse, joy choy, concombres, radis
The snow crab was very summery and tastefully prepared so as to really bring out the subtle aromas of its flesh. The grapefruit jelly was a good idea but a splash t
oo bitter for m
e, so I just sampled a small amount to have a nice contrast with the smoothness of the crab. The radish and cucumber brought a lot of freshness to the plate.

Warm salad of beef cheek, asparagus, curly salad, tarragon tartar sauce / 12$
Salade tièdes de joue de boeuf, asperges, frisées, sauce tartare estragon
Maybe the highlight of the evening, the beef cheeks were treated as cold meat, cut extremely thin, which seemed to liberate even more their tender nature. I never tasted them like this before in Montreal, so major originality points here for me.

Sea bass, saffron mashed potatoes, zucchini grids, candied fennel, hollandaise sauce / 25$
Loup de mer, purée safranée, courgettes grilles, fenouils confits, hollandaise
The Sea bass gathered most of my fellow blogger friend’s approval; it was tender, very buttery and rich tasting, an overall satisfying dish. I loved the presentation as well, with the big sauce dot on the back of the filet: like a piece of modern art. It is no wonder the chef Eloi Dion worked several years at 357 C, the private club that also promotes visual arts; it must have rubbed on his aesthetic sense, to create the vision for this dish.

Chocolate-caramel Verrine with pecan crumble and cinnamon-apricot espuma 8$
Verrine choco-caramel, crumble aux pacanes, espuma abricot-canelle
You must know by now my personal weakness for everything sweet…so I was waiting with some excitement and wonderment for this dess
ert. The menu called for a choco-caramel verrine, but since having tasted many times the now classic one of Patrice Demers, all others seem to fall short. So I was wary of this one…but I have to
admit, unnecessarily so. It was good, no, it was very good, and very different. So no real comparison is possible because Chef Eloi brings it to another place, a complex yet titillating taste buds party.

Van Horne Cuisine du Marché is definitely a great addition to Montreal’s neighborhood restaurant scene, very classy yet has a wonderful sense of cozy welcome, like spending the evening at a cultured and cool friend’s house.

This venture is the love child of its owner Sylvie Lachance who is a foodie at heart and Urs Jacob father of the mythical Gershwin Hotel in New York. They chose wisely the Chef Eloi Dion and Sommelière Marie-Ève Asselin, who share the same passion for fresh market produce, which you really feel throughout the menu. It’s not just a buzz word here.
Van Horne - Cuisine du Marché
1268 avenue Van Horne - Métro Outremont
reservation (514) 508-0828

From Tuesday to Saturday: 5 pm to 10:30 pm (will be opened for lunch soon)