Recently, I, as, hum hum, the 3rd most read restaurant blogger (I's GOTTA toot my own horn people!) in Montreal, am getting treated very generously by some restaurants. And no one is happier than I am.... well my guests are pretty effin happy too!
This time, it was MKT on Metcalfe. I had never heard of this place and when I looked at the menu, I wasn't too too excited, to be honest: a Mediterranean restaurant with a simple looking menu but with a big chef behind it. Basically, I got there with absolutely no expectations.
MKT is located on a second floor of a building on Metcalfe close to Sherbrooke. We almost missed it. Maybe we should get better glasses, I dunno. When we got in, I got hit with the whiteness of it all. It really didn't fit my type of decor that I like to see in a restaurant. Everything white, big light fixtures, pastels, wine bottles adorning the walls. The open kitchen in the back seemed to move a lot, which was cool. And having known that I knew someone working there (ps: good job K!!!), I'd gone and say hey! There were only older people but when 8 o'clock came, the younguns came a-flowin' and the atmosphere became more... hip, I believe is the word I'm looking for. The tables were marble and there were about 80 seats in the house. And the music. Don't even get me started on the music! I think that at some point, they put on Much Music Dance Mix 94. Totes serious. At least it was good for a laugh.
Anyhoot, the maître d' pretty much welcomed us with open arms to... take our jackets :) It was then decided that we were to taste many things on the menu, but with smaller portions. Perfect. This way, we pretty much get to taste the best damn things on there. Oh, and did I mention that the wine/drinks for miss J and I were flowin' all night. No? Well, I just needed an excuse to say that. Drinks. All. Night. Long.
Mozarella di buffala. I loves me some cheese! I found it a bit on the cold side but it was still awesome in ma mouth. It was soft and just salty enough. The little salsa on top was full of flavour: tomato, olive, basil, more herbal goodness. Just dipping the [homemade] bread in that freakin' awesome olive oil was well worth it! Speaking of the bread, although warm and nicely textured (does that word make sense?), it felt like day old bread. But still. The dipping.
Crab and shrimp cake. Or should I say heaven cake? Yes, we're going with heaven cake. Crevettes de 'matane', pretty much fresh out of the water and for once, real crab! REAL crab people! They were put together to form the awesomeness cake. Mmmmyes. Shrimp: fresh. Crab: oh so fresh. Apple on top was, well, come on. Apple soooo fits with both that it was just a given. The whole thing was brought together by an herb yogourt. Yes. It made it that much tastier and smooth IN my mouth. The hot sauce was hotter than Sriracha! Dsamn! But it also fit really well with the dish. To be honest, it reminded me of my trips to Ogunquit with my mom and my sis when I was young. Cue the crying. Oh and the croutons were perfect. I ate it in 8 seconds.
Octopus. A couple years ago, before I started this blogging venture, I would not have been caught dead with octopus on my plate (much less in my mouth). But hey, I grew (but not really... still need a step ladder) and my taste buds got, well, better. More refined I should say. White bean purée, white beans, parsley, veggies. The octopus might have been the BEST I've ever tasted. Cooked to freaking perfection and seasoned just well. It's a fine line when you're cooking octopus, just like calamari: a second less or a second too much and it's elastic city. Mama don't like elastics. The puree was smooth and a bit tart, which fit well with the taste of the grilled octopus. Who knew that octopus and white beans would go so well together. SO good. I would like some more right now please. Parsley added freshness to the dish which was nice; made it feel lighter.
Quail with smoked paprika. Yes AND mother f*ckin' yes. Although quail is a tiny bird that I usually dislike nibbling at... I mean it's bones and more little bones. This one was tasty and every little bite of it was oh-so-good. It was grilled which is a flavour profile that I absolutely love. The salad right under it was simple yet lovely and fresh. Carrots, raw onions (which J and I loooove cause we're awesome like dat), and some fennel. Fennel, I have a harder time with. I'm just not a fennel person, but this one was actually good. Everything was seasoned just perfectly and my mouth loved it. The balsamic went really well with the charred-iness (new word alert!) of the quail.
Bouillabaisse. Clams? Yes. Mussels? Yes. Shrimp? Oh, hells yes! Basically, this is my heaven. Perfectly cooked fish and seafood in a somewhat spicy and herbal tomato broth. The salmon melted in my mouth and the shrimp were perfectly cooked. And I KNOW shrimp, people! The mussels were perfect and juicy and oh so yummy. The clams were a tad disappointing, with a slightly plasticy feel. The scallops were a tad overcooked but hey, I like my scallops raw or just slightly charred, so I think I'm just being difficult here. The potatoes were too much for me. In my defense, I'd just had an 18 course dinner. OK, not 18. but close. J usually can't stand even slightly spicy stuff and she liked the hell out of this so that counts for 100 points.
Yes AND yes! Wow, just looking at this, I can taste it again in my mouth. And I must go back. Uh, bebye. Damn it. This was A-mazeballz. Just awesome. Wonderful, really! The semifreddo was a bit crunchy and so creamy and the berries were so fresh and such a perfect match. The hazelnut ice cream felt like the nuts had just been pick from the freakin' tree. There was a bit of mint and lemon to make the whole thing even better and get those flavours IN-MY-MOUTH. The textures on this plate were just lovely and the plate was as good lookin' as the others.
Service was just plain wow. The maître d' took care of us from beginning to end and the waiters/busboys were oh-so-there for us. We actually felt like we were queens. Yes, QUEENS. Our water glasses were always full, our alcoholic beverages, always refilled (just the way we like it!) and the plates were described very well, every time. The last plate took a bit of time to hit our table, compared to the other ones but I think that was the only thing, really. The wine service was perfect, the way they put the plates in front of us was perfect. The everything was perfect. Damn I love it when shiz is perfect!
And now, the scores!
Seriously, one of the best experiences I've had in a restaurant in a LONG time. I urge everyone I know to go. Oh, just dso it!