MERCURI | Smoked & Raw Inventions
Montreal is quickly becoming a foodie capital world wide and not just for good classic 5 star restos, but with inventive chefs that really bring something unique to the table. Like music, as time goes on, it is harder and harder to compose an original riff. This goes with recipes as well, it’s 2017, almost every food combination has been attempted so a great chef like Joe Mercuri has to think out of the box/oven.
We had heard the rumors of an old industrial loft turned into a romantic yet modern Scandinavian style Après Skis resto/lounge with a large fire pit. This awesome pit serves 2 purposes, to smoke wonderful creations and also to warm the customers with a scenic indoor fire visual. (Sure beats those horrible fake fire paintings).
We are greeted by a very down to earth Joe Mercuri. Without the smock, he could have been a bus boy or a celebrity, instead he our charming food samurai for the evening. He brought us little yummies to try so that we could get a taste of everything that MERCURI has to offer without getting too full. We were given a sommelier who paired everything up. This is one of my favorite experiences, as it allows 2 discoveries in place of 1. For these reviews, I def had to take notes! Here were our 3 favorite pairings:
Hauner white wine
Hauner is a very delicate white with an apricot aroma and a buttery finish. It is one of the rare white wines that comes in crisp, but floats off the palette in warm rich swallow. One of the best white wines I have ever been introduced to.
Our Tuna Sashimi was salty, crunchy and sweet. A lot going on in a tiny mouth full. The dry nutty roasted black sesames provided an almost crusted fish flavor to the light sweet mango Tuna. The combination was like deconstructed sushi but with no boring, carbby rice! It paired with Hauner wine really well because the Apricot notes brought out the mango.
Dumpling, Japanese snapper, BBQ clam
This melony white wine has a truly exotic note to the Japanese snapper as well as a sharp contrast for the rich truffle dumpling with spinach and blue cheese. (this was our favorite thing to eat, it was so inventive and deeply delicious). Our tour guide Gregante, helped transport us through through 3 very different experiences. The dumpling was bold and rich, almost suspiciously meaty yet vegetarian! The white snapper was lighter than a ghost and floated off our palettes in time for the BBQ clams, which was the perfect ending. The sauce was sweet and punchy and is Joe’s special house BBQ sauce that is both sweet and savory with a tangy mango kick!
Fennel Ice cream
Don’t get me wrong, we loved the chocolate pie and home made Mars bar (a trendy favorite around town) but the magic of this dessert tasting was the fennel ice cream. When thinking of fennel, you would never think of ice cream, except it’s actually amazing. It gives the ice cream a mysterious twist of something very green and a little licorice. The Calvados went perfectly because everything knows how well fennel goes with oranges. This was the perfect exit.
We had lots of smoky treats like baby back ribs, ravioli with leak ashes and Pineapple Rappini (there is def a theme of tropical fruits mixed with grillades at Mercuri). But we listed our top 3 faves to keep the blog suitable for the short of attention! You will have to go there to try the other things for yourself 😉 Next time you wish to treat yourself to a culinary adventure, we’ll give you a tip, tell them you wish Joe to take care of your menu and let it be a surprise! Part of the fun is discovering what Joe has cooked up that night.