St-Denis Street has had a tough time in recent years; restaurant and store owners in this sector had to work hard to stay strong and to keep offering the best service possible to the public. The owners of Le Clébard are among those restaurateurs who did not let themselves be affected by this unfortunate situation. Not only did they keep Le Clébard in good shape and overflowing with energy as this place has always been, but they also had the audacity to open another restaurant that will certainly be a sensation in this neighborhood.
Located on St-Denis, at the corner of the busy Duluth Street, the Josephine takes place and definitely does not go unnoticed by passers-by. We first notice the very charming terrace at the front of the restaurant that is perfect to settle down and enjoy the atmosphere and liveliness that this area have to offer. If the terrace is full, don’t worry, the restaurant windows open to create an open air space. The design was thought out by the talented Amlyne Phillips, she created something beautiful and totally up to date in this location. You’ll find lots of different kinds of plants, some suspended, which will create a very cozy and intimate long-term value. The white ceramic on some walls creates a very clean and minimalist look. The bar forms an island in the center of the restaurant, which is dividing the space very well. Several styles of tables are arranged in the space, which offer a different atmosphere depending on where you choose to sit. High tables, seats, at the bar, round tables and stools, all options are there! We particularly had a crush for the paintings that were chosen to decorate the walls.
Upon arrival, we immediately noticed that the service was very attentive; the employees were very professional and took care of every little detail carefully. We were fortunate enough to be served by Henry, a clearly passionate waiter with a keen eye for details. He made sure we did not miss anything during the evening. The very kind “sommelière” Sophie Allaire, also shares her passion for wine with customers by being very present on the floor to ensure that each glass consumed is appreciated by its consumer.
Now let's get down to business; let’s talk about food!
To be honest, if you love to eat and like to discover new food, you will certainly have a hard time making a choice, because each dish seems more appetizing than the other. Despite this difficult decision, we chose to start with the octopus appetizer and the “tête fromagée”. The octopus was generously served on a plate accompanied by a squid ink eggplant puree, with a smoky taste that worked very well with the harissa oil and the Egyptian dukkha spices. The plate of sweetbreads was one of the best I've eaten in my life, not only was the sweetbread cooked to perfection, but the “tête fromagée” on which it was served was tasty and brought a very interesting salty side to it. The cremini mushrooms and the bacon dressing accompanied the whole thing perfectly.
After enjoying the appetizers, we then chose to continue with the “Poulet de Cournouaille” as well as a plate of whole sea bream. Both dishes far exceeded our expectations; the “Poulet de Cournouaille” was served in a generous and rich lobster bisque sauce accompanied by an equally generous lobster tail. The sauce had a bit of a delicious sugary taste. In accompaniment, we had some beans sprouts and some saffron on top of it. Since we are fish lovers, I confirm that we haven’t regretted taking the fish dish. Served whole with fingerling potatoes and small comfit onions, this white flesh fish literally melted in our mouth. The cauliflower and the bagna cauda sauce brought the perfect touch to combine the flavours all together.
Although we do not particularly eat dessert, let me tell you that the dessert was worth it. We stopped our choice on a buckwheat financier, served with a yogurt and rosewater espuma, a slightly lemony meringue tile, and rhubarb compote. Verdict: Fresh, light, succulent, perfect to end the meal in style!
Joséphine is undoubtedly the new "hot spot" in terms of restaurants in this area of Montreal. The service you’ll receive, the delicious food, the very interesting selection of wine and the splendid design will charm you and make sure that this place will quickly become a favorite. Do not hesitate to trust them and to give you some suggestions, you won’t be disappointed!