Pastaga - Montreal
Can love for the Habs and haute cuisine go together? Chef Martin Juneau tackles the issue with his small-plates emporium, Pastaga. If there’s a game on, diners at the chefs’ table in the red-tiled kitchen can cheer on their team along with those at the stoves, including partner Louis-Philippe Breton (Bouchonné).
Hockey night or not, TV can’t take Juneau’s laser focus off the food. Pastaga shows off the kooky but tightly controlled creativity that followed him through three incarnations of boundary-testing bistro La Montée de Lait. Pastaga is Marseillais for pastis, the anise-flavoured apéro (used simply and effectively in cocktails here), but the food is based in Montreal. Riffs on the city’s Jewish heritage are clean and compact: bison smoked meat sandwich with homemade rye, chopped liver “à la juive,” marinated salmon with salmon jerky shavings and German potato salad.