***Sadly this Restaurant is Closed***
Famous female Montreal chefs are a rarity, so we love it when a restaurant is hyped up with a woman at the helm of its kitchen. Fabrizia Rollo, along with her partners, opened restaurant Brïz, a Mediterranean restaurant in the burgeoning St-Édouard area of Montreal.
This Mediterranean restaurant has a seasonal menu and a chalkboard full of specials that change frequently. Diva #1, Katina Chardonnay and friends were quite eager to try Brïz’s entire menu. We were in for a treat, Fabrizia Rollo changed some of her dishes so that our large group could easily share everything.
We started with the tomato confit tart with a pecorino cheese fondue melted on the tart dough, and fresh pecorino shavings topping the tomato confit. A spicy marmalade with hints of jalapeno was dolloped on the plate, the perfect bite to cut the sweetness of the tomato confit.
One of the specials of the night was an arancini made with roasted pork and a sumac aioli. They were sold individually, but we found them a touch bland, we could barely taste the sumac. The cheese croquettes on a romesco sauce with fennel confit were absolutely delightful. The cheese was potent and the croquettes were oozing with sharp cheese.
In continuation of our fried motif, we also ordered the stuffed zucchini flowers which were absolutely heavenly. They were stuffed with ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella, as well as capers for a touch of saltiness. This was one of our favourite appetizers! All of these bites were sold individually.
We are always picky about calamari but Brïz created an original plate of squid, although their presentation was lacking in finesse. A mix of grilled and pan fried calamari lay along a chick pea salad with mint, basil, and tomato confit in a citrus dressing. A creamy dipping sauce of dill and crème fraîche, with mint, lay below the grilled calamari. Cooked to perfection, we preferred the grilled calamari because the pan fried calamari was lost in the fried batter.
We were quite happy to be amongst the foodies when everyone grew excited over the bone marrow dish covered in fried Brussels sprout leaves and lemon zest. If the dish wasn’t decadent enough, fried pancetta added another fatty element and parmesan added some creaminess. Our only complaint was that the accompanying focaccia could have been grilled with olive oil for added richness. It needed to be crispier!
The porchetta was juicy and sat on a bed of ricotta gnocchi in a demi-glace sauce. Oyster mushrooms were tossed with the gnocchi, they were similar texturally and they added a lot of flavour to the demi-glace. Fried kale chips topped the dish, but the star of the plate was truly the porchetta, it was tender and it melted in your mouth.
The octopus was good but the dish needed some work. Mini octopi were braised in red wine and lay on a cutting board with streaks of green pea purée. A crumble was sprinkled on this appetizer, adding a new flavour but did not incorporate well into the dish.
Again, the presentation of the dish left much to be desired but it tasted absolutely delicious. Taglioni pasta with perfectly cooked asparagus, and olives. Our waiter informed us that the kitchen also added some pork cheek to the pasta dish for added flavour. The sauce was made with extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest and fresh heirloom tomatoes. Burrata added creaminess to the pasta that won’t soon be forgotten! We wanted to lick the plate clean…and some of us did.
They were running out of the braised rabbit pappardelle but they prepared us a small dish to satisfy us and keep us wanting more. Braised rabbit was tossed with perfectly al dente pappardelle and fior di latte cheese in a garlic and parmigiano sauce with plenty of pepper. It was almost carbonara like in flavour with the rabbit replacing the pancetta.
Our favourite dessert was the zeppole with a sour cherry compote and plenty of creamy ricotta. The sour cherry compote exploded out of the zeppoles, decorating the plate along with pistachio crumbs. They were the perfect bite size doughnuts, soft with tons of delicious filling.
We were also sent a second dessert by the kitchen that did not appear on the menu. Pain perdu with almond cookies, a strawberry compote and cream created the perfect breakfast type dish that tickled the senses. We loved it but it could not beat the zeppoles!
Though restaurant Brïz should work on the presentation of some of their dishes, we had a delicious time trying most of their summer menu. For a new spot, they worked their magic and left us wanting more. You can tell that Fabrizia Rolla loves what she does and wanted to create original Mediterranean dishes that left the stuffy traditional fare behind.
Our Rating: As Expected
Tagged: Arancini, Bone Marrow, Briz, Briz Montreal, Burrata, Calamari, Fabrizia Rollo, Fabrizia Rollo Briz, Italian, Italian Restaurant, Mediterranean, Montreal, Montreal Food, Montreal Restaurant, Octopus, Pappardelle, Porchetta, Rabbit, Ricotta Doughnuts, Ricotta Gnocchi, St-Édouard, Zeppole