By Annick Gagnon
Located at the angle of McGill and St-Maurice Streets, restaurant Racines opened its doors a little over a month ago and already, its reputation speaks for itself amongst Montreal foodies. The small room of about forty seats is built like a corridor, with a wall completely made of glass, overlooking the street for the viewing pleasure of passers-by. In fact, when you’re outside and you notice the inside’s warm decor and ambiance, you immediately want to come in and enjoy a wonderful evening.
As you probably noticed through my previous reviews, I’m a fan of menus that propose tapas size dishes. It’s a wonderful way to explore a new restaurant since you get to sample many dishes in one sitting. Here you’ll have the occasion to taste different dishes and desserts that change with the seasons, according to Chef Simon Mathys’ (Les Cons Servent, Bar & Boeuf) moods and inspirations. It is therefore impossible to get bored! For his part, sommelier Franck Turbot stitched up a varied wine list composed mainly of organic products and private imports. With affordable choices and many of them offered in 3oz. or 5oz glasses, everybody will find something they like.
You will most certainly agree with me when I say that the small details are what make a place or an experience memorable. After ordering our meal, we were brought two appetizers to help start the evening on a good note. Tonight, we got oysters garnished with buttermilk and marinated shallots. This nice treat was definitely a prelude to the rest of the meal.
Speaking of which, I won’t make you languish any longer. For two people, we ordered six dishes and one dessert to share and we had to stop ourselves from actually licking the plates! We began with the Albacore tuna, served with pumpkin seeds and red kuri squash and the veal tartare, topped with mustard cream as light as a cloud and tasted heavenly. It was beautiful beginning to a beautiful evening.
Then we got the blood pudding, served with fine turnip ribbons and marinated onions. The meat was perfectly cooked and it melted in the mouth. The tarragon guinea fowl on a bed of cabbage impressed both of us and the duck, served with kale puree and leeks was also full of flavor. We ended our meal with delicately cooked Arctic char with pan seared radish and salsify.
Since we didn’t feel like ending our dinner just yet, we got tempted by the dessert menu. At the very convincing suggestion of our waitress, we tried the bread pudding made with fresh cream and garnished with apples and salted caramel. For two girls who rarely eat anything sweet, it all disappeared in only a few seconds!
And now you must think we just got our bill like at every other restaurant, right? Well not this time. In fact, Racines offered us a little something we surely appreciated: two small homemade cookies, covered with a thin slice of butter to enjoy while finishing our coffee. Love it!
444, rue McGill, Montréal