Projet 67 has recently opened on busy Saint-Laurent Boulevard in Montreal’s Mile End neighbourhood. Hailing inspiration from famous expo 67 for its name, its decor and its menu, this hip new place was packed with a beautiful crowd when I recently visited. Many little details scattered around the restaurant are a nod to the famous international expo of 67 held in Montreal. Some of the more obvious ones are the restaurant’s gorgeous logo, inspired by the American Expo Pavilion still standing on Ile Sainte Hélène. The beautiful gold sphere and vintage mid-century type are the kind of details that appeal to the the designer in me. A backlit plexiglass box located at the back of the restaurant across the open kitchen highlights some of the key pavilions present at the Expo. One of the less obvious nods is the intertwining cement bar counters which take center stage in the middle of the dining room and are inspired by the most-famous of Montreal architectural projects: Habitat 67.
Seated at the bar across from our lovely bar tender/waiter, I perused the menu with interest, wondering if I’d be experiencing any gastronomic time traveling that night. The menu is divided into two sections, one dedicated to contemporary “Montreal” cuisine, drawing on the great variety of cultures who have brought their culinary heritage to our city. If you look carefully, you will notice that some dishes are influenced by the Chinese, Jewish, Japanese, French, Italian and yes, even Lebanese cultures. The other section of the menu is inspired by one of the participating Expo 67 countries. Projet 67 will also be offering a 7-course tasting menu for 90$ (before wine) soon, drawing from both sections of the menu which will change every four months or so.
The Bourgogne region is the first one to be highlighted at Projet 67. With dishes like jambon en gelée, snails, frog legs and bourguignon, there’s no mistaking that France is in the spotlight. However, these aren’t your classic French dishes. Chef Jean-François Vachon, formerly of M sur Masson, revamps the typical dishes to create some very contemporary ones. The ham is served in a dashi gelée, the snails with veal’s tongue confit and roasted bone marrow and the bourguignon is made with Boileau venison.
The plates are a little larger than tapas size and 2 to 3 dishes per person are enough to satisfy any hunger. We opted for a few dishes from the “regular” menu and one – the frog legs with preserved lemon persillade, garlic purée, grilled mushrooms and kale chips – from the Bourgogne menu. One word of warning here, beware the delicious homemade beer and sesame bread which is dangerously delicious and addictive! The plates arrive at your table in no particular order, according to what you ordered and what makes the most sense. We started out with the porcini and foie gras cappuccino with coffee foam and pecan oil. The soup was silky, rich and the hint of coffee was a great complement to the mushroom’s earthiness. It was definitely one of my favorite dishes of the night. Another favourite was the beef tartare served with Panko-crusted Kumamoto oysters, homemade labneh and Ungava gin-infused cucumbers. The oysters in this dish didn’t do much for me apart from a texture contrast. They tasted like fried dough and didn’t add much interest to the beautifully seasoned tartare with a slight horseradish bite. Despite that, the tartare still managed to wow.
These two dishes were followed by a few others, including Projet 67’s own take on smoked meat (braised and grilled) and Peking duck. The duck breast was lacquered in BBQ sauce and roasted while the thigh meat was made into a potato roesti, another one of my favourites that night. Desserts are also impressive, with one in particular involving apples and seared foie gras which could’ve easily belonged in the savoury part of dinner.
If you’ve ever wondered what the food was like at Expo 67 (and really, who hasn’t?) book a table at Projet 67. Although what you’ll most likely encounter is a refined cuisine in a beautiful decor and hip ambiance.
4902 Boulevard Saint-Laurent
514 508 6767