Exploring the Montreal-New York Food Connection

A trip up over the border to the great French north

Located in a neighborhood that gives Monteal’s Mile End a run for its money in grimness, our own M. Wells reproduces that same pickled pig tongue, and a couple more adapted APDC recipes. But the menu is really a thing unto itself, showing the handiwork of a very creative chef. Included are brilliant embroideries on things like the American breakfast sandwich, sliders delivered in Chinese bao, and various hashes, one made with boudin—the French blood sausage found on nearly every Montreal menu. And M. Wells’ other partner, Sarah Obraitis, made a splash not long ago selling tourtières by mail order.

Boerum Hill's Mile End
Trevor Tondro
Boerum Hill's Mile End
Hugue Dufour (right) of LIC's M. Wells
Tobie Marie-Robitaille
Hugue Dufour (right) of LIC's M. Wells

More Montreal is in the offing. The new chef at Gabe Stulman’s revamped Fedora is Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly. Like Dufour, he sous chef-ed at APDC. He also cooked at Toque, Normand Laprise’s flagship restaurant on Rue St. Denis. I had a chance to visit Laprise’s newest place in Montreal, Brasserie T, which lists all sorts of rich pork products on the menu, in a stylish room that snuggles up to the Musée d’Art Contemporain, just east of downtown. A meal included loamy blood sausage; winter-squash soup light as a French velouté; loaf-shaped chicken liver mousse rimmed with rich jelly; and coquille St. Jacques—mashed potatoes and béchamel engulfing diced scallops cradled in a shell. Brasserie T has a menu more thoughtful and interesting than that of DBGB and Bar Daniel, our own Franco-American charcuteries, paired with a low-markup wine list that would make Francophiles weep. And it made me wonder—what would happen if Laprise chose this moment for his reappearance in New York?

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