Monsieur B., Montreal

The latest addendum to the culinary kingdom of restaurateur Marc-André Paradis is Monsier B., the humblest of his offerings to date. With his three lead-up restaurants — Les Infidèles, A Los, and ô Thym — fine-dining has up until now been the name of Paradis’s game. But the “B” in Monsieur B does not connote big ticket banqueting; rather, the letter is much more au current, representing, I think, the word most closely linked with today’s ravenous consumer needs, bargain.

Chef/co-owner of Monsieur B., Georges Blais, insists that the new bistro’s change of focus is not due to the state of the economy, but rather in order to refresh Paradis’s classical and perhaps even predictable approach to French food. In the new spot customers should expect to find menu items such as crab cakes instead of tarte fine de champignons, or scallops instead of escargot. They should also, for that matter, expect to pay $12 for a small plate instead of $36. Admit it or not modernity in the restaurant industry is inextricably tied to the failing state of the economy and, of late, opening a new restaurant seems to be arising more out of the adage of “desperate times call for desperate measures” than from that childhood favorite “practice makes perfect.”

Nonetheless, it is still a brave thing to open up a new restaurant in this world even if it means cutting out small things such as planning and designing. Cattily speaking, it was less than a year from the time that Chef Blais and Paradis conceived of the idea of Monsieur B to the day that it opened. And this lack of a fully realized architecture comes through in everything from its nothing-to-write-home-about, taupe walls design to its lack of website (something which all three of Paradis’ other restaurants have).

Although Monsieur B seems more like an act of restaurateur desperation than it does like a culiniste’s adventure, the restaurant still is fairly promising. The French-modern menu, stocked with local meats and cheeses at fair price points is sure to meet any Montrealer’s fancy. And if these plusses don’t do the trick, the bring your own wine policy and free soup with every entrée certainly will.

Address: 371, rue Villeneuve E. corner De Grand-Pré Montreal, QC
Contact: 514-845-6066
Cuisine: French
Area: Plateau
Venue: Restaurant
Hours: Mon. – Sun. 5:00pm – 12:00am
Price Range: $$ (Affordable)
Payment: Master Card, Visa, American Express

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