Through good staff, and sometimes not so much, our restaurant critics talk about their experience, introduce the team in the dining room and kitchen, explaining what motivated the choice of restaurant. This week: Bring Your Own Wine Restaurant O’Thym.
Published at 11:00
Why talk about it?
O’Thym opened its doors 17 years ago. Durability, which should be emphasized in an environment in which several companies have not passed the five-year mark. You can bring your own alcohol, which contributes to the success of the institution, but it would be unfair to reduce it to this. Over the years, the restaurant has been constantly improved. Today it serves 100% local menu.
Who are they ?
By the way, Nadine Tessier worked as a waitress at the former restaurant Les Héritiers on the Mont Royal plateau. Noah Lenness was first a diver there, and then, after taking a course at the Quebec Institute of Tourism and Hotels (ITHQ), he became the head of the institution. The co-owner, Pierre Roy, then owned other “bring your wine” restaurants (Prunelle, Les Infidèles) with various partners. This one, Marc-Andre Paradis (Les Canailles, Gaston), as well as Nadine and Noah discovered O’Thym. For several years, these two alone steered the boat. In 2021, they were joined by Kevin Duguay.
Saturday night is busy in O’Team in early April. The busiest since reopening, the owners confirm, when we caught up with them again a week later. In short, the room is crowded, the atmosphere is lively and things are in full swing. Since the second service is at 21:00, and already passed 18:30, do not waste time! Our waitress, friendly but in a hurry, quickly explains the daily special offers.
That evening, slate consists of two parts: snacks and main dishes (since our visit, the menu is now divided into three sections: vegetables, snacks and main dishes). There is a salad of smoked carrots and mozzarella, cavatelli of black garlic, fried smelt, fried scallops, lamb, tartlets with mushrooms, snow crab…
Market cuisine is obviously in the spotlight here. In 2015, the chef excluded foods and ingredients from other places in his menu. Today, everything on his desk is 100% local, and comes mainly from small producers and artisans.
The result: local meat (mostly lamb and duck, treated with whole carcasses to reduce losses), fish products from Quebec and the Littoral, walnut oil, mushrooms, turnips, black radish, yellow peas, sea buckthorn, clover, cranberries and fleur de villages from St. Lawrence.
The chef does not stop there: he uses wild spices (wild cumin, Dunes, agastash…), prepares his own miso and kodi, as well as his own lactofermentations. Appreciate the creativity and hard work spent on creating these dishes.
Was everything on a plate? Not at all.
Tartar with duck heart turned out delicious, textured, well balanced with various components: marinated mustard grain, egg yolk confit, brown Jerusalem artichoke oil and crab tempura.
The maitake mushroom tartlet, covered with fried onions from my vi-a-vi, was great, but the dough was a little overcooked and everything was a little dry, despite the rosettes of garlic yogurt around it. A little smoothness would be welcome.
The main vegetable dish with a large slice of pan-fried celandine, lobster mushrooms and seaweed, drenched in delicious homemade miso broth and accompanied by kimchi chips, is a great example of the skill that cuisine offers. Vegetarians are especially pleased here.
A large plate of Arctic carbon offers an interesting combination of flavors and textures: turnip puree, spinach fried in a pan, Roma beans, pickled oyster mushrooms… Fish skin, on the contrary, is not fried enough, a little soft, a victim of too fast cooking.
For dessert, there are several options for those who like sweets, such as the classic creme brulee, here at Coureur des Bois, which was very successful. A more inventive and frankly interesting kodi cake with diplomatic cream, sunflower praline, sea buckthorn gel, Saint-Laurent fleur de sel and sumac offers a good game around sweet and savory.
The feeling was not perfect, but this restaurant is still worth a visit, at least because of the very convincing 100% local experience that is put forward there.
In our glass
As mentioned, the hotel operates on the principle of “bring your wine”. Therefore, it is an opportunity to get beautiful bottles from your basement without leaving shirts there. There is always a non-alcoholic cocktail, as well as snacks such as kombucha.
Good to know
There are several vegetarian dishes on the menu (some of which can be adapted for vegans). Because the chef does not use flour to make the base, most plates (except, for example, homemade pasta) do not contain gluten.
Vegetable dishes range from $ 12 to $ 16; snacks range from $ 13 to $ 26, and main courses from $ 35 to $ 40. The “Share” section offers oysters from the Seaside ($ 18 for 6), foie gras and cold meat ($ 22), french fries ($ 6)… There is even a Norman lemon sorbet hole. sea buckthorn and Quebec vodka ($ 9) for those who have too full stomach.
O’Thym runs from Wednesday to Sunday and works on a two-course formula (18:00 and 21:00) on Fridays and Saturdays. The restaurant always offers a takeaway menu, which can be ordered the same day until 16:00. It is strongly recommended to book seats in the dining room.
1112 De Maisonneuve Boulevard East, Montreal