Restaurants & Bars

Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Maison Publique: my experience


Restaurants & Bars 22

Maison Publique: my experience

LBeth | Nov 24, 2012 08:56 PM

My friend chose this restaurant, we hadn't seen each other for awhile. I looked it up first and thought "Oh it's Jamie Oliver's restaurant, I love making stuff from his website, this will be good, he uses healthy and whole ingredients" and then I checked the internet to see a bit more about it because I eat fish and seafood but not meat and I just wanted to get an idea. Everything looked good- fish dishes were mentioned, a few "disappointing" reviews but I don't put much stock in it.

We are on the waiting list, and are well accommodated. We were able to have drinks elsewhere and came in to a table waiting for us. Awesome. No wine list on the table, so I ask for a red that has bite and hope for the best. Then they explain the concept- the menu is itemized a la carte style with titles like "greens" and "raclette m.v.p" and "brussel sprouts and cheese" with prices. Waitress tells me the concept is that food doesn't come out at once, the idea is that we eat, and share. Ummm ok. We all have disparate tastes.

I find out that there is either bacon or sausage in most of the fish/seafood dishes, there is no veg. option. They will not accommodate me, so I order the fish with béchamel even though it doesn't sound interesting or particularly delicious. Otherwise, the waitress tells me, "you won't get any protein." So I order "greens" and "brussels sprouts and cheese." Menu was a bit boring if you ask me, how many more raclette/ pork cotelette/ french onion soup type of menus do we need in Montreal? Somehow my stuff all came together, they were nice enough to put the béchamel on the side (thank God- it was well worn territory of herbs du provence and cream...) the fish was cooked nice but looked to be about 2oz...all for 26$. The sprouts were covered with bacon so I gave it to my fellow diners. The greens were nice- Swiss chard in loads of butter.

There was no offer to compensate or anything for the sprouts, so I ended up eating a 2oz piece of fish with sub-rate sauce, and a bunch of Swiss chard. My feeling is if you are going to go with this concept, all your dishes need to stand on their own, and the consensus was that they did not. This was just a la carte, build your own main, with little idea of flavours or textures. I guess if you love bacon and don't interact with food on a personal, taste driven level- this is your restaurant. For me, and even my meat-loving diners, this was just meh, only expensive in addition to meh. I think it's pretty ballsy to choose not to accommodate your guests at all with this concept too, as if I were Jewish there would have been serious limitations to what i could eat, and a vegetarian would have been stuck with swiss chard and cheese-toast. All in all I found it shocking that 1) Jamie Oliver is involved in this, 2) that they just offered the usual French bistro fare that you can get pretty much anywhere in Montreal, only deconstructed.

I've paid far less for far more, and I would pay far more for better food.

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