Every now and then a new restaurant grabs everyone’s attention and finds a way to keep it; these days, this is no easy feat. Such is the case with HVOR, the newest addition to Notre-Dame Ouest. The kitchen is led by Chef S’Arto Chartier Otis and the concept is simple: organic foods from local suppliers, as well as using the produce from HVOR’s rooftop garden and beehives. Their menu changes weekly depending on seasonal ingredients, which keeps it fresh and interesting.
Diva #2, Ranger and the boys of Day Jobs & the NightLife were aiming to sit on the beautiful terrace but with the chance of rain, we moved inside. We ran into another couple of friends who were also there for dinner, and we soon merged our tables for a fun night.
There are two types of service at HVOR, three courses or five courses, and both can be accompanied by wine. We were lucky to be treated to the five course tasting menu with wine pairings. We started with cocktails while waiting for Ranger to arrive, much to Day Jobs & the NightLife’s annoyance who likes being punctual while Diva #2 just wants them to get along!
The amuse bouche was a meant to mimic sushi, with rice and vegetables that were wrapped in swiss chard. It was light and an interesting way to start the night, definitely an indication of what was to come. The cocktails were refreshing and we all had a favourite. One was a little stronger than the other cocktail which was made with gin and fresh juice.
Our first course was simple, a plate of thinly shaved ham with cubes of ruby red, orange and white beets, as well as pickled cipollini onions, white radish and grainy mustard. Ham and mustard are a classic combination but the addition of the fresh sweet beets was exactly what this dish needed to make it pop.
Our second course was a Russian potato salad with smoked swordfish. The swordfish was cut thick and cooked well but we felt the star of the plate was the potato salad. It was full of flavour with crunchy discs of red radish and pearls of black caviar; absolutely delicious. Definitely something we’d like to see as a side dish.
This dish is how HVOR won us over. Pasta in a ratatouille sauce, which sounds simple, but was anything but at HVOR. They perfected a classic! Homemade garganelli pasta was tossed with fresh seasonal vegetables that included pattypan squash, peppers, zucchini, smoked cherry tomatoes and zucchini blossoms. It was summer in every bite and an absolutely perfect dish.
Another stellar dish hit the table with mouth-watering rib eye steak cooked flawlessly. The meat practically melted in your mouth and the flavour was excellent. Paired with a generous amount of creamy burrata and tomatoes, you definitely didn’t miss any of the usual steak accoutrements. This plate was all about the meat!
The dessert was wonderful, a mix of classic French pastry and an iconic Montreal fare, a Paris brest bagel. This twist on a Montreal staple was made with pâte à choux, filled with vanilla crème and topped with sesame seeds. It was light with a crunchy exterior; a simple yet decadent dessert to end our meal.
However we did have room for one more special dessert for Diva #2’s birthday – orange sorbet served in a hollowed out orange shell topped with Italian meringue, doused in Chartreuse and lit on fire! Not only was it a show but the orange sorbet was refreshing, and the sips of warmed Chartreuse were a nice addition to the overall experience.
HVOR has definitely added something unique to Notre-Dame Ouest. While some may find the option of a 3 or 5 course tasting menu as limiting, their menu changes every week and you are treated to unique dishes using local ingredients. Step outside your comfort zone and let the chef take charge of your dishes and wow you!
Our Rating: Splendid
Tagged: 1414 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Chef S’Arto Chartier Otis, Cocktails, Griffintown, H3C 1K8, Homemade Pasta, HVOR Montreal, Montreal, Montreal Bagel, Montreal Restaurant, Orange Sorbet, Outdoor Garden, Outdoor Terrace, Paris Brest, Rib Eye Steak, Swordfish, Tasting Menu