Disclaimer: This meal was comped.
Reinvention is paramount in the fickle nightlife business; the alternative being to fall out of relevance and ultimately close shop. Following a couple minor tweaks over the last half decade, the twelve-year-old Suite 701 has just rebranded; emerging with a new identity.
Enter Brasserie 701; Hotel Place d'Armes' supper club turned lounge has finally settled into a French brasserie. Owners The Antonopoulos Group threw an all-out media affair on this balmy Tuesday evening; unveiling the new concept by way of a cocktail hour followed by a sit-down dinner service.
The previous incarnation's purple accoutrements have been replaced with taupe and cream hues; creating a brighter, more open vibe. Guests were seated at both regular and bar-height tables for the tasting; while mid-2000s hip-hop/R&B tunes provided a soundtrack reminiscent of 701's early days.
Although we've been to the Suite countless times, we have yet to familiarize ourselves with the kitchen; our visits only involving happy-hour drinks or late-night bottle service – not to mention the spiffy rooftop terrace, probably a first in town.
The new menu zeros in on brasserie classics; featuring tartares, foie gras and salads for starters followed by steak-frites, a magret de canard and the ubiquitous burger. For tonight's occasion, we were served a four-course menu with abundant wine.
Fresh, bright and crunchy with roasted hazelnuts and pears. Alas the chardonnay-honey vinaigrette was excessively-sweet.
Stuffed snails with garlic-herb butter were perfectly executed and beautifully plated on a bed of rock salt with lemon garnish.
A simple dish that hit all the right notes; light gnocchi, tasty sauce and fresh basil. The knockout punch came from that melted smoky cheddar.
A gorgeous sampling platter featured macarons, chocolate tarts, doughnuts and brownies. Oh, and did we mention CHOCOLATE?
tagged: TASTING MENU
A meal that started shaky got better with each course and ended with a bang! Tonight's offering may not have been technically immaculate, though it was fun and enjoyable in a crowd-pleasing manner.
701 may not be THE "in" place it once was, but it still manages to draw a modest crowd of yesteryear's regulars, Old Montreal business types and tourists. We were here when it all started, and have seen it morph over the years; the evolution continues…
Price per person: $34
Montreal restaurant and bar reviews brought to you by two regular guys who like to eat and drink. We will go anywhere and we will say it like it is.