Montreal is not well-known for seafood by geographical reasons, but we had a great raw seafood experience at Garde Manger. Le Bremner, a.k.a. a sister of Garde Manger, maintained a good reputation for a while, my boyfriend made even a song about Bremner in his wish to go try. Also, the announcement that Danny Francis (or Danny Smiles), head chef, became a contestant of Chef Canada Season 3, representing Montreal, could not be more intriguing. However, unfortunately he was out of town (info from his twitter account) when we visited, our experience at Bremner didn’t reach our expectations based on more than a couple of exceptional reviews that we’ve read (there are reviews by the disappointed as well, though). Maybe because the favourable reviews had been written about more than one and half year ago, we thought. What they serve in the menu seems to be pretty much the same since the period of exceptionality, so maybe they are tired to make the same things for long. Who knows.
Here’s what we had:
Lemonade $5 : Felt pressured to order drinks from the waitress while waiting.. lol Other than that, it was a great lemonade!
Oyster from NB $3 each. Prefer Garde Manger because we found some dirt/broken shell while eating. And Garde Manger’s cocktail sauce with fresh horseradish was impressive.
Scallop $6 each: they were TOO icy cold.
Lobster tail $20: not over- or under-cooked. Nice texture and juicy. (again, seemed likely to be colder by 1-2˚C than seafood platters in other places, including Garde Manger)
Kimchi Snow Crab $22:
kimchi didn’t have both its right crunchy texture and unique Korean original flavour – it was simply HOT. It tasted like just a mix of chopped napa cabbage, salt, sugar, and hot pepper flakes. Crab meat gave nice soft texture in contrast to kimchi, but the crab flavour was missing in the mix (don’t see crab meat in the picture). Pan-fried white rice square was rather a bit more soggy in oil than crispy, and not fragrant at all (Try pan-frying cooked rice at home till golden crispy, you’ll notice the nice aroma from it.)
Veal cheeks and Octopus $37:
Veal cheeks were tender to the point where you can mash them with forks 🙂 Liked the sauce but too sweet for us. Octopus was probably too soft, not gelatinous, and lost its savory flavour but the sauce on the surface. It was not so good compared to the octopus dishes I’ve had from Greek, Italian, Portugese, and Japanese restaurants.
Hake and Clams $30:
Clams were tough (definitely overcooked), crab & maple dashi (kombu & katsuo bushi stock) was pretty bland: it didn’t have good dashi flavour nor crab. Liked hake on top, though my BF wondered whether they were seasoned.
Disappointed due to unmatched expectations, we skipped desserts and went for milkshakes to Dinette Triple Crown. Well, hopefully we’ll have a chance to try again another time.
361 Rue Saint Paul Est Montreal, QC H2Y 1H2