Anything cooked on an open flame tastes better, and Chef Joe Mercuri proved this at the launch of restaurant Mercuri’s fire pit! For just over a year, the nominee for one of En Route’s Best New Restaurants of 2014, has been working on installing the first fire pit in Quebec. The Divas were invited to experience the official launch, and after months of construction and delays, it was worth the investment.
The Divas had been to Mercuri before to celebrate Diva #2’s birthday in July. Located in Old Montreal on Wellington, just off McGill Ave, we were excited to experience a first in Quebec! The fire pit is on the bar side of the restaurant and was in full swing when we arrived with Sweet Pea, Whitey and the boys of Day Jobs & the Night Life.
Two long tables were set up with the various dishes that were being served, family style. And everything was cooked using the fire pit. There was plenty of food to accompany the flowing wine and Prosecco. The chicken was juicy and ever so slightly spicy with a delicious rub that made it anything but boring. We missed out on the tacos but Whitey tried a taco with pork and goat cheese that she loved. Her only complaint was that the tacos were cold, which was also true of the chicken because they were simply left on a banquet table and not in warming trays.
We loved snacking on Mercuri’s marinated mixed olives, tossed with citrus, herbs and olive oil; they were perfect to snack on. They also served crusty bread, charred on the open flame. The bread was delicious and smokey!
The potatoes were cooked perfectly, dressed simply with a blend of herbs, garlic and arugula. They were made to be more like a side salad, and they were tasty both warm and cold. We loved the mushrooms which were left in larger pieces and again, dressed with a mix of herbs and citrus. This dish was meaty and satisfying!
A favourite all around was the melted Bulgarian feta with a black truffle sauce. This screamed decadence and we loved it! Served with a piece of the delicious charred bread, the cheese was perfectly melted and oozed into the sauce made with a generous amount of truffles, which were pronounced and earthy. Even picky Whitey who doesn’t eat anything but the simplest of dishes loved this creamy cheesy concoction.
We tried two different desserts at Mercuri and we loved them both. When you think of open flame cooking and dessert, s ‘mores are one of the first things that come to mind. Mercuri’s s ’mores were made with homemade graham crackers and sandwiched between them was dark chocolate and a fluffy marshmallow. There was no pretty way of eating them but the Divas didn’t mind getting a little messy!
Last but not least a gorgeous plate of mouth-watering grilled figs was placed before us. Lightly grilled so that the figs were still slightly soft to the touch, they were displayed with pungent orange confit, honey and served with bowls of thick Greek yogurt. We could have easily eaten the entire plate! And we tried…
Chef Joe Mercuri definitely delivered with Quebec’s first fire pit. He can now experiment with different cooking techniques and bring us exciting flavours that you simply can’t get from the conventional methods of cooking. The Divas loved it and we will certainly be back!
Tagged: 645 Wellington, Black Truffles, Bulgarian Feta, Fire Pit, Fire Pit Montreal, Greek Yogurt, Grilled Figs, Grilled Mushrooms, H3C 1T2, Joe Mercuri, Marinated Olives, Mercrui Montreal, Mercuri, mercuri event, Mercuri Fire Pit, Montreal Food, Montreal Restaurant, Old Montreal, Old Port, Pork Tacos, Potatoes, S ’Mores, Spice Rub Chicken, Wellington