You will not see anyone dancing the tango in this new Montreal restaurant, nor any tacky memorabilia. L’Atelier d'Argentine is not your usual ethnic restaurant, and I was the first one happy about that. When I heard that an Argentinean restaurant was going to open its doors instead of the beloved D.N.A. (chef Derek Dammann of D.N.A. is moving on to Maison Publique with little known chef Jamie Oliver as a partner – more on that soon), I wondered if they were going to make it a tourist trap or bring the real deal from such a beautiful country: authentic and simple food, refinement and a dash of melancoly.
I can say that for the décor, it is spot on. Serious in gray overtones, very masculine, the space has gained from this facelift an air of sophistication while inviting you to relax. With lots of creativity, one could imagine the space to be the Argentinean dark man inviting you for a romantic meal.
Ok, now I’m getting into tacky touristy descriptions… Back to l’Atelier d'Argtentine.
I wish I could say more about the food, but I haven’t really eaten there yet except for having some appetizers during the media launch. There were nice dense cheese balls, reminiscent of those I love from Brazil, Hanger steak with chimichurri of course, a fun and purple beet, raspberry, cucumber, tomato Gazpacho, and empanadas. I hope to go back soon to taste the main dishes they serve because talking to the Argentinean chef, Natalia Machado, they have truly tried to bring to the table typical food from all over Argentina.
Cheese bread appetizers
Hanger Steak and chimichurri
Chef Machado lives in Buenos Aires, and is in charge of creating the menu for L’Atelier d'Argentine. She told me that last year she toured her country, as she is married to a musician, and took that opportunity to research more in depth all the flavors that Argentina had to offer. Natalia’s eyes were shining when she spoke of her trip around the vast lands of the country, and her love for food. It is unfortunate that she will not remain here to oversee the restaurant, but I’m hoping that her passion and knowledge has been well communicated to the staff on hand, directed by Jean-Bernard Forgues. Only time will tell, or maybe one of you?
Here's a peek at the menu and the dessert menu (that I really want to try!!)