Jeff Stinco is certainly making a name for himself as a restauranteur in Montreal, guitarist with Simple Plan, he now owns restaurants sprawled across the city. With the likes of Mangiafoco, Shinji and Laurea already under his belt, his newest venture, Mimi La Nuit, opened with some buzz. Synonymous with lady of the night, Mimi La Nuit held an event for food bloggers and media to show Montrealers what his latest hot spot was all about.
We arrived to an already full house on Saint Paul East, cocktail hour in full swing with a DJ in the corner providing the background music. Mimi La Nuit is both a bar and a restaurant, long and narrow; it has a great ambiance for someone wanting to get a drink or craving a bite. We headed for the bar and then spotted one of our favourite people, Day Jobs and the Night Life. We drank and mingled with fellow bloggers before heading up to the private dining room on the second floor.
When we say we sampled the whole menu, we aren’t lying! We started with oysters, served with three different condiments – vodka, lime-flavoured pesto and a spicy sauce. Each added a different spin on the lovely bivalves. We were explained how Mimi La Nuit’s kitchen is open until 2 am, perfect for Montreal’s night owls that are feeling peckish.
The presentation of the mackerel was gorgeous, served in a can with a large dollop of thick crème fraîche, coins of pickled cucumber and grainy mustard were also provided. It was served with pieces of warm, grilled bread. The crème fraîche cut the prominent vinegar taste of the tender, pickled fish and the homemade pickles added some crunch.
The spicy watermelon salad was one of our favourites of the night. The watermelon was oddly flavourful considering that it’s winter and certainly not watermelon season. It was made spicy but the watermelon still gave it that refreshing element, the olives added an element of saltiness and the ricotta was rich and creamy. Some greens and tomatoes made this dish into a salad, and we are sure that it will be very popular in the summer months.
Another salad dish was presented as a deconstructed Caesar salad. Romaine lettuce leaves were served warm with char marks. The asparagus spears were also grilled which added a nice smokey flavour. Crispy breadcrumbs of sorts and a little bit of grapefruit topped this dish, but the grapefruit was minimal. A creamy Caesar-like dressing was drizzled on top of everything. It was a delicious salad!
The toast with boudin was a messy bite as the bread became soggy with the overflow of toppings. The apples and radishes added texture but the mussels were lost in the mix.
The shrimp were presented on skewers standing erect on a wooden block. They were as expected but the side of lime pepper mayo lacked the taste of lime and pepper. The coating on the shrimp was crunchy and the shrimp were cooked well; this dish was your typical shrimp tempura.
The breaded and fried fish was typical to fish n’ chips, minus the chips! We received a generous portion, served alongside a small salad of zucchini with capers and candied lemon. The breading of the fish was crunchy and the fish, cut thick, was moist and flaky.
The Brussels sprouts wowed us; this is definitely a dish that should be ordered at Mimi La Nuit. Brussels sprouts don’t get enough love but once you try them here, you’ll love them too! Still crunchy, the sprouts were draped with a thin slice of Serrano ham for a nice salty hit. A type of apple mousse lay under the Brussels sprouts, and the toasted hazelnuts added a nice crunch.
The next dish didn’t scare us at all! A plate of grilled veal tongue and cheek with deep fried brain was presented on a bed of frisée salad. Not for the faint at heart! Brain. always an acquired taste due to its texture, was breaded and deep fried. Usually brain is our least favourite offal but we were impressed, Mimi La Nuit made it very tasty! The tongue was a little dry but the cheek, with its flavourful char marks, was very tender. This dish of offal came with a tarragon gribiche for dipping the meat; it was made well and the perfect accompaniment to the offal.
One of the best dishes of the night was the blackened chicken. This is how chicken should taste! We so rarely order chicken at a restaurant, it’s usually boring and something that you eat at home. As the dish hit the table, the smell instantly fueled our appetites. The chicken skin was blackened to perfection and the meat was very moist. Served with parsnips amongst other roasted root vegetables, they were almost caramelized, they were so sweet and tender.
This was one of the plates to share and rightfully so as the portion is generous. The meat was extremely tender and cooked to pink in the middle. It was served with broccoli in a cream sauce with lots of parsley. The menu says that there are oysters in there too but they weren’t apparent.
The lamb was a bit dry but it was served with a cabbage slaw to make up for it, and tortillas so that you could build your own wrap, though the tortillas were bland. The spicy sauce, served on the side, gave the dry meat some help and added an interesting southwestern dimension of flavour.
Besides appetizers and mains, Mimi La Nuit also provides mixed nuts as a fun bar snack to munch on. Served in a fun paper cone, the nuts were a little sweet, a little salty and a little spicy. Glazed pecans, spiced almonds and smoked peanuts made up this ensemble!
There are two desserts at Mimi La Nuit and we tried them both. The first was a deconstructed version of a cheesecake which was a nice change from the usual. The cheesecake filling was thick and the plums had some bite to them so that they didn’t fall apart. The crumbled topping was just sweet enough to balance everything, and the pecans added another dimension of flavour. The second dessert was a chocolate bar that was covered in rich dark chocolate. The salted caramel filling was delicious; it was the perfect little bite of dessert for when you’re craving something sweet.
We had a great night sitting amongst our fellow bloggers, drinking and chatting. Mimi La Nuit is a great place to grab a drink . And if you’re looking for a place to have a private party, their upstairs dining room is a great spot. We liked it so much that we returned with friends for drinks just a few days later and we experimented with their fun cocktails! Be sure to check out the latest addition to Jeff Stinco’s growing restaurant collection in Montreal.
Our Rating: As Expected
Tagged: 22 Saint Paul East, Bar, Blackened Chicken, Boudin, Cheesecake, Cocktails, Deep Fried Shrimp, Dessert, H2Y 1G3, Jeff Stinco, Lamb, Mimi La Nuit, Mimi La Nuit Montreal, Montreal Bar, Montreal Restaurant, offal, Old Montreal, Old Port, oysters, Pickled Mackerel, Reservations Needed, Sho rt Rib