How about experiencing elegance, design, and the finest cuisine in Montreal. Eric Gonzalez of L’Atelier Joël Robuchon, partnered with Montréal en Lumières for this year’s edition, inviting Chef Alain Verzeroli from Joël Robuchon Restaurant Petrus in Hong Kong to share his knowledge. The idea made sense not only for the three Michelin star honoree and l’Atelier’s team, as much as for its clientele.  The location on Ile Notre Dame is paved with bright lights, from the Jacques Cartier bridge up to the ex-France Pavilion. Montreal! Lights! Action!

I was immediately charmed by the black and white, and vivid red decor a la Stendhal French boudoir. L’Atelier Joël Robuchon sits in the basement of the Casino de Montreal but you feel on top of the world with all tables soberly covered with black place mats, letting everything else shine. The event brought Chef Verzeroli to create a five-course meal based on Quebec local products. Each service perfectly paired with selected wines.

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What a better way to start with the black truffle in a crusty and velvety white-poppy wafer presented with a touch of pine. A wink at a very classy Quebec grilled cheese no doubt.  A blissful moment for a bread lover like me as each piece comes out from the on-site bakery.

La Noix de Saint-Jacques followed and looked more like a painting than an entrée honoring our root vegetables such as the beet, and red and white baby radishes sliced in thin carpaccio and decorated with caviar.  La Timbale de Macaroni was a miniature macaroni basket filled with lobster and candied chestnuts served with our Niagara white wine, Beamsville Bench Chardonnay 2013 left us speechless. Such meticulouness.

If I had to name the plate that represented most Chef Verzeroli it would be the Le Flétan, halibut baked with lemongrass and steamed young leeks.  Verzeroli’s Vietnamese and Italian roots took the center stage, right at that moment.

I was apprehending Le Bison plate as I am more of fish eater and the previous plate was a tough act to follow. This grass-fed, naturally-raised meat served as filet mignon topped with foie gras and vegetables turned me to a buffalo meat lover. Bring it on. Of course, the Le Grand Pas, Domaine du Pas de L’Escalette may have helped.

To prepare us for the finale, Chef Alain reinvented the Trou Normand in a fresh honey-tangerine jelly for a taste buds reset.  What look like a necklace at first was an ensemble of pur Peru black Illanka chocolate, and a Croustillant de Grué, a chocolat thin cracker and a cacao nib tile with melting chocolate sitting besides a strudel a la Fleur de Sel.

It is  a complicated art to cook in such a manner and even more difficult to describe it in all its shades and flavors. The simplest thing is to add L’Atelier Joel Robuchon to your bucket list.  Done but I will be back!

Posted by L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon – Montréal on Monday, June 19, 2017