Montreal’s media and blogger circles spend a lot of time eating in restaurants. While a lot of that time is spent running from one cocktail dinatoire to another, every now and then we get to sit down, take a load off and enjoy each bite we are served. Last week we were invited to try the food and experience a new decor Chez Sophie in Griffintown. After an extensive renovation, the restaurant warmly welcomed enough of us to fill the entire space on a sunny Monday evening. We were treated to an outside-the-box, three course meal that showed confidence and edge.
We kicked the event off with a mango/lemon cocktail made with a New Brunswick sourced gin. The cocktail was both sweet and tart, perfect for a hour of mingling and catching up with colleagues. I’m not much of a cocktail person but I did enjoy the flavours that popped with each sip. While drinking and talking I gave the menu a quick glance and I was taken aback by how ambitious the menu was. The choice to serve sixty plus people sweetbreads was a risky one; I have never seen anyone attempt what Chez Sophie so expertly pulled off.
The meal began with a king crab amuse bouche. The king crab was wrapped in a mango and avocado maki and blended with yuzu mayonnaise. It’s safe to say that our bouches were quite amused. We followed up with a perfect egg (the egg was just perfectly cooked and wrapped in a ball of fried rice) that was served with sea bass carpaccio, smoked leak and lemon cream. I love it when a chef takes food to the next level and Sophie Tabet did a great job knocking this one out of the park.
For the main course we were served crispy sweetbreads. The sweetbreads had great texture and a hint of molasses and maple flavours. The dish was served with chestnut gremolata, king oyster mushrooms (my favourite mushrooms), Brussels sprouts, parsnip mousse line and coffee gastrique. Of course we couldn’t end the meal without dessert and Chez Sophie hit a high note with a chocolate ball that, once melted, revealed a mango, chocolate cake on the inside. It was delectable.
Chez Sophie is something of a familiar surprise in an area of Montreal that keeps opening party, m’as-tu-vu restaurants. It’s an example that class goes along way and no matter the theme, if the food is good, people will be back for more. I found the decor refined but a little clinical; I hope they hang some art on the walls. The team in and out of the kitchen work together like a Swiss timepiece. Sophie ducked her head out of the kitchen a couple of times to say a few words. She’s a humble and shy type of person which was as refreshing as the meal she prepared for us.
For more, visit the restaurant’s website here.
Image credit: Gaëlle Vuillaume