Following a weekend which saw the number of new COVID-19 cases in Quebec spike up, my wife and I feared the worst for restaurants. We therefore decided to squeeze in one last upscale meal on a terrace while we still could. A short stroll from our condo building led us to one of our favorite restaurants in town – the acclaimed PARK – on this balmy, early-fall Monday.
tagged: CATCH SOME SUN
Located on a tranquil stretch of Victoria Avenue in Westmount, PARK's sidewalk patio consists of four large wooden tables surrounded by planters. We did well to arrive early before noon as everything was eventually snatched up, forcing excess patrons to move indoors. The crowd was a mixture of young and old with both solo diners and bigger groups, all Anglophone in true Westmount fashion.
tagged: ANGLO CROWD
For the full rundown of what PARK and its chef/owner Antonio are all about, I invite you to refer to my dinner review from two years ago. Today I will focus on the daytime experience, which runs the gamut of Antonio's signature Japanese/Korean dishes.
The usual list of Asian-themed cocktails is also available, of which I highly recommend the Caesar – my favorite in town – which uses gochujang paste and is garnished with cucumber and kimchi. Where some fine-dining establishments tone their menu down for lunch, PARK does not miss a beat by maintaining its high-caliber, beautifully-plated – and pricey – sushi fare.
To wit, a $45 sashimi moriawase – chef's choice – platter is so gorgeous, you won't want to touch it. But then you would miss out on THE best and freshest, melt-in-your-mouth slices of hamachi, ora king salmon, bluefin tuna, wild seabass and albacore tuna. Alternatively, if you were interested in more bang for the buck, you could opt for a sushi combo or bento box du moment.
PARK's choice of deep tables accessible from one side only – in both the dining room and patio – sometimes creates awkward moments. With waiters unable to reach a table's second half, patrons end up setting plates, giving them back and wiping spills. First-world problem aside, today's waiter was as knowledgeable, capable and courteous as I have come to expect from this Westmount gem.
Mr. Antonio recently announced his partnership with the Ritz-Carlton with the opening of PARK au Ritz, a popup of sorts where the sushi master will be serving his Japanese creations at the posh hotel. That alone is testament to PARK’s superiority and fame, for such a marquee banner to associate itself with a chef and his brand.
In the end, my fears were materialized that same afternoon, when the Quebec government ordained restaurants to shut down their dining rooms, yet again. I just feel blessed I was able to have a fabulous meal while sitting outside one last time this year; the weather has since turned and who knows when restaurants will be allowed to fully reopen.
One could do much, MUCH worse than PARK… for lunch… on a Monday!
Price per person: $34.67
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.