November 14, 2015
Devastated by the news from Paris. The world feels changed. We’ve been at war for some time, but we weren’t ready to accept that. Now we’ve been forced to face facts, and the false sense of security we once had has vanished. At least for me.
Sitting here, watching the horrific images from that city that I love flash across the screen, watching the pain and carnage, I debated posting, as promised, my meals from Montreal.
Then I came to my senses; this is, in many ways, a war on fun, on pleasure, on curiosity and inventiveness. It’s a war on many of the values we hold dear. It is no accident the attackers hit a football game, a concert and a few restaurants. And if we refuse to carry on as we did before, they’ve already won.
And so I proudly post this little paean to pleasure. Montreal was wonderful – and I’m very grateful I was there in what now feels like a more innocent time.
I was only had 20 hours in Montreal. But I managed to squeeze in two meals. The first was at Park, a wonderful restaurant from the talented Korean-Argentinian chef Antonio Park (among other things, he imports his own fish into Canada).
First up: Miso soup with a poached egg. A pure expression of umami.
Scallops brushed with miso. Grapefruit. Zucchini. Celery root puree. Clean. Bright flavors engaged in an intricate tango of textures.
Uni. Caviar. Carrot puree. Shiso leaf. Ginger flower. A gloriously gilded lily.
Sayori sushi, topped with sancho peppercorns marinated in crab soy. Fantastic.
Black cod. Confit cherry tomato. Leeks.
My favorite moment of the meal: red snapper- tai – imported from Japan, with a leaf of kinome. The fish was killed by a method known as Kaimin katsugyo;t he words translate as “live fish sleeping soundly.” They’re given acupuncture before being killed, which puts the fish to sleep. Thus it remains unstressed, and no adrenaline went into the flesh. It was, I must say, the purest, cleanest fish I’ve ever tasted.
(If you’d like to see the process, you can access a video here.)
And here’s Park’s best customer. PK Subban, the Michael Jordan of Canada, eats at Park twice a day.
Tomorrow: a night at Vin Papillon, the vegetable-centric restaurant from the legendary Joe Beef team.
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