Located in the newly renovated Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Maison Boulud has all the ingredients to be a staple on the Montreal restaurant scene. Daniel Bouluds (of Cafe Boulud Fame in NYC) new high-end restaurant has been opened for nearly three weeks and has started to create a buzz. While the lunch and dinner menus look fantastic, it was the brunch menu that piqued our interest. There are only a few options available on the high-end brunch (Renoir, Cafe Birks), so this was a welcome addition.
First, before getting to the food, lets discuss the restaurant itself. The space is quite large, but with relatively few tables and feels both busy and intimate at the same time. Expertly decorated, the centrepiece is the open kitchen, where Chef Boulud could be seen working the pans on a recent Sunday morning. Despite the renovations, the hotel decided to keep the inner garden, and the restaurant has a beautiful terrace overlooking the duck pond. This promises to be a premiere spot in the city for some summer night outside dinning.
Now on to the food! The brunch menu consists of entrees and main courses, available a la carte or in a prix fixe style. Though more expensive than your regular scrambled eggs and bacon (36$) the meal comes together quite well. Numerous salty and sweet options are available. Pictured here are a beautiful fried egg and asparagus salad and a chilled new pea soup. Both were perfectly executed with excellent yet subtle flavors. For the main course, everything from french toast to home made gnocchi to the classic hangover beater steak and eggs are available. We opted for two classic dishes, the gravlax with latkes and the croque madame. While far from extravagant, the attention to detail raise these two dishes from regular brunch to four star level. Not to be overlooked are the fries accompanying the croque madame which may be some of the best in the city.
One sour note was the (lack) quality of the service. Kinks with the wait staff can be expected at any new restaurant but is a little surprising coming from someone with the experience of Mr Bolud. Our waiter seem to have no idea how to handle his completely packed section. Luckily, after long waits between arriving, receiving coffee and ordering, the very nice Maitre D’ stepped in and took care of our service.
Final Verdict : We will be back (hopefully when the service has a chance to elevate itself to a level that matches the food) if only to spend a night on that beautiful terrace.