A Bintel Brief: Yiddish Theatre alive and well in Montreal

2 Comments

A review by Glenn J. Nashen

NEW: Now featured in the Jewish Standard Magazine!

 

The Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre opened its 60th season this week with its latest production of A Bintel Brief. This performance at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts  is brought back to the stage after it originally opened in Montreal in the 1970s. It is a story based upon real letters to the editor of a Yiddish language daily newspaper in New York City in the early 1900s.

 

The production is composed of a series of true stories of Jewish immigrants coming to America and trying to adapt to their new world. It not only connects the stories of immigrants in the early 20th century to their former lives in Russia and Europe but it also connects them to their descendants 100 years later.

 

A Bintel Brief peeks inside the immigrant experience of long ago and reminds us that little has changed and that the struggles and efforts made are both timeless and universal.

 

The show is brought to life by budding director Michelle Heisler who has previously acted in the DWYT and works with young children’s theatre. Heisler is a talented actor and singer having performed on stage across Canada, the United States and Europe.

 

The cast is an energetic and spirited group of youngsters, young adults and older folk who come together as though they were a true family.

Sam Stein and Aron Gonshor (Courtesy CJNews.com)

Aron Gonshor and Sam Stein are iconic in the DWYT and for good reason. Their vaudeville singing and dancing with old-fashioned, side-splitting humour kept the audience in tears of laughter. Their shtick was out of Wayne and Shuster and they were classic funnymen. They also took on serious roles in skits ranging in theme from overworked and underpaid, depressed immigrants to tragic episodes involving loss of life and great despair. If there are lifetime achievement awards for outstanding performance in Yiddish theatre this duo is certainly right for the prize.

 

Mikey Samra is known for  his many performances in the Cote Saint-Luc Dramatic Society but his stage presence in Yiddish was equally spectacular. He is a compelling young actor who will continue to flourish in whatever language he chooses.

 

Jodi Lackman has played at the Segal before but her performance in A Bintel Brief takes the cake. Her facial expressions and shrieking voice at learning her husband has another wife and children, her melodramatic overtones in yearning for her secret lover and her comedic expressions are worthy of praise and applause.

 

The list of talented and dedicated young actors who have put in tremendous effort to speak a language that is probably quite foreign to most of them is long and impressive. Kudos to all of them for entertaining the audience with song and dance, with drama and comedy and by keeping the language and rich history alive.

 

One particular skit involves a class of immigrants trying to learn to speak English. It is ridiculously funny with mispronunciation and misunderstanding. I could just imagine my Bubby and Zaida in such a class with their thick yiddishe accents trying to learn their new language. Indeed, I still remember the words of my very funny Russian-born Zaida who’d say, “I speak 12 languages and don’t understand any of them!”

 

The stage was simple and old fashion in the Segal Centre’s smaller theatre. Presented with English and French supertitles it is an easy-to-understand show even if you’re not fluent in mama-loschen. The four piece band was fun and lively under the musical direction of Nick Burgess.

 

Despite the young children who sing and dance in the first act (they leave at intermission to get home for bedtime) the heavy adult themes would give this musical performance a PG-13 rating, not age appropriate for pre-teens.

 

DWYT President Ben Gonshor thanked the capacity opening-night audience for continuing to support community theatre, particularly in Yiddish. With such great benefactors such as Alvin Segal, Barbara Seal and the Azrielli Foundation and Federation CJA Montrealers are fortunate in that they will continue to be treated to such memorable and entertaining evenings for years to come.

 

A Bintel Brief continues at the Segal Centre though October 21. Tickets are available at SegalCentre.org or by calling 514-739-7944.

 

Advertisements

A West End Little Oasis: Jardin Iwaki

Leave a comment

Published on MTLRestoRap

A review by Glenn J. Nashen

Tadayuki Endo is hard at work in his tiny kitchen creating tasty and delectable masterpieces

You may have driven by this tiny, unassuming restaurant for years and never even noticed it was there. My chance outing to this little oasis exemplifies that wonderful surprises are sometimes located closer than you think.

 

Tadayuki Endo has been a part of the restaurant scene in Montreal for over 30 years, the past six as the owner of The Jardin Iwaki where he has been serving up impressive Japanese cuisine to the West End. The longtime chef spent many years downtown at Sakura Japanese cuisine and the iconic Desjardins seafood restaurant. But after two decades of serving up dishes to common diners and prime ministers, Endo decided it was time to turn his attention to finer detail. Ever since he has focused on each and every dish that he thoroughly prepares for each customer.

 

And so began Endo’s venture into the Kaiseki traditional Japanese cuisine in which a series of small, intricate dishes are prepared. Each dish is unique and prepared in one of 11 different styles of cooking including fried, grilled, baked and steamed.

I entered the 12 seat restaurant with my mother and daughter and we immediately felt as though we entered a typical Japanese home: warm and inviting, bamboo and wood, not too bright with traditional decor. We were greeted by our smartly uniformed server, Tomomi, a lovely young woman who has been at Jardin Iwaki for the past three years (having arrived from Japan just four-and-a-half years ago).

 

With a mere four tables to seat 12 diners, quaint would be an understatement to this really small establishment.

 

The menu was simple, posted on three blackboards, summing up the nightly offerings. The ‘Iwaki’ seven course menu is $35, the ‘Edo’ seven course menu is $45 and must be ordered a day in advance and the ‘Omakase’ (dishes selected by the chef) menu runs from $55 depending on how many courses you choose (from 8 to 11). The latter must be ordered three days in advance. We opted for the first and we were in for a surprise.

Endo creates dishes that are appealing to look at as well as to eat. Notice the season-appropriate red maple leaf. Such detail.

Tomomi quietly and elegantly fluttered about the room serving the two larger tables. She patiently explained each and every dish in detail as she delivered the courses and laid the unique, handcrafted dinnerware upon the bamboo placemats. Each of the six courses was  served in different types of handcrafted vessels (dishes, shells, bowls) with intricate designs, shapes and textures.

 

Our interesting appetizers consisted of edamame with cream cheese, chicken liver paté, chicken breast, fried shrimp, shimeji mushroom and baby scallops. Each  dish was creatively and seasonally-appropriate. As an added touch, one dish was adorned with a small red maple leaf, hand picked by Endo.

 

Next came the soba noodle salad. What a pleasant texture made from buckwheat and covered with tofu, tomato and green leaves. It was juicy, salty and very flavourful with three dressings: ginger, sesame and a mentsuyu glaze. All are home made by Endo.

Nicole enjoys the delicate presentation and the delicious taste

The warm sea bass carpaccio was served raw and thinly sliced on a beautifully crafted dish. Tomomi drizzled the fish with boiling sunflower oil right at our table and within seconds it was perfectly cooked – piping hot and lightly sprinkled with sesame seeds. Oh, so juicy!

 

A mini Japanese pancake called Okanomiyaki with ginger, mayonnaise and bonito fish was brought out. The fish consisted of shavings set upon the pancake made of flour, cabbage and ginger. It was so hot that the shavings literally swayed back and forth. Wow. It had a tangy bbq sauce unlike the previous courses.

Mom loves the look, the taste and the ambiance

The small delicious dishes kept coming, each one unique in its taste and presentation. A grilled butterfish was next with a negi miso (or green onion) sauce. It was served with pumpkin, rapini and vinegar white radish; what a savoury morcel, laid upon a thin slice of orange. It was one of the best white fish I’ve ever had. My dinner guests were equally pleased.

 

I love mushroom but never before tasted a soup with five kinds of mushroom and rice. There were enoki, oyster, shimeji, kikurage, and shiitake mushrooms. Sensational and so very hot. A spectacular ending to a wonderful meal and unique dining experience.

Tadayuki Endo in his warm and cozy Jardin Iwaki

Jardin Iwaki is only open for dinner (but seven nights a week). Reservations are a must as we witnessed: a family of five entered, saw there was no more room and said they’d be back another night. I was told they are regulars. Endo says many of his customers return again and again and we certainly learned why.

 

My daughter said it was the “prettiest” meal she had ever eaten. My mother proclaimed Jardin Iwaki as an excellent dining experience. The small dishes don’t seem like a lot of food on their own but it all added up to a nicely filling meal, she said.

 

Endo takes great pride in working every single night. He takes his time to ensure that everything is just right with great attention to detail. As fresh fish is delivered to Montreal twice a week he is sure to go to market frequently to buy small portions of whatever is in season.  

 

Many Montreal Japanese restaurants are western-style, Endo tells me. Not here. Jardin Iwaki is an authentic experience throughout.

 

Jardin Iwaki is located at 5887 Sherbrooke St. West in Notre Dame de Grace, nestled among many cosy ethnic restaurants, lounges and grocery stores in the residential neighbourhood. There are only 12 seats indoors with a small terrasse. Remember, reservations are a must and some menus must be ordered in advance. 514-482-1283.

Jazz and symphony fills CSL at Cat’s Meow Concert

Leave a comment

2018-10-09 MOWSO Cats Concert 2018 004

Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra on stage in Cote Saint-Luc

 

The Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee (CSLCC) held its annual fundraising concert last night at the former Wagar High School auditorium featuring the Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Joseph Milo. As an added treat the Gideon Vigderhous Quartet performed as did vocalists Alexandra Cohen and Nicole Arrage.
Funds raised from The Cat’s Meow Concert will go towards the CSLCC’s Trap, Neuter, Release and Adopt Program and Educhat.
There are many feral cats in the community. The CSLCC’s team of volunteers sets out to trap as many as possible, have them sterilized and then adopted or returned to the spot where they were originally found. The committee has also rescued a number of  kittens and found homes for them.
The Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra (MWSO) was founded in 2006 by conductor Milo and his wife Lucy Ravinsky. This one of a kind orchestra was formed when it was discovered that a great pool of professional musicians, recently immigrated to Montreal, had no opportunity to make use of their valuable talent in their new home. The MWSO was created, not only to provide these new Canadians with the opportunity to engage in their main passion; making beautiful music in an orchestral setting, but to give them back the professional dignity they had enjoyed in their homelands and most especially, to share their wonderful talents with the music lovers of Montreal.
2018-10-09 MOWSO Cats Concert 2018 018

Gideon Vigderhous blasts beautiful notes on the sax

The MWSO is composed of 55 musicians: about 80 percent of its members are from 15 countries around the world, while the remaining 20 percent are natives of Montreal who successfully facilitated the integration of the newcomers. The orchestra has entertained Montreal audiences with numerous performances, including many benefit concerts as well as having produced several recordings. The orchestra has also been selected as the subject of four documentary films. They have been rehearsing at Cote Saint-Luc City Hall for many years and as part of the arrangement, they agree to perform a free concert once a year.
2018-10-09 MOWSO Cats Concert 2018 008
Spearheaded by Councillor Mike Cohen who is passionately responsible for Animal Welfare, this group has been focused for several years on controlling the stray feline population that number in the thousands through humane measures. Cohen had co-chaired the event for many years with former Cllr. Sam Goldbloom, another cat lover who was in attendance. Rookie Cllr. Mitch Kujavsky is Cohen’s new partner in the concert program. Kujavsky proudly announced he is a cat and dog owner.
Conductor Joseph Milo and his orchestra did a superb job of entertaining the capacity audience. The evening began with two solo numbers by vocalist Alexandra Cohen who later acted as emcee. Alexandra is a McGill second year medical student who loves to perform and sing on stage. She was bubbling over with charisma as she sang with a huge smile.
2018-10-09 MOWSO Cats Concert 2018 010

Cellists of the Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra

The Gideon Vigderhous Quartet were sensational performing many jazz swing standards. Their talent and improvisation and passion are written across their faces and worth following to their next appearance.
2018-10-09 MOWSO Cats Concert 2018 026

Jazz vocalist Nicole Arrage wows the audience

 

Another treat was the vocal accompaniment to both the quartet and the symphony by Nicole Arrage.
Earlier this year Arrage was co-narrator of the CSL Dramatic Society (her second year on stage with CSLDS) performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. She is a McGill University Schulich School of Music student in jazz voice performance. She sang beautifully with an impressive range in style and pitch. Nicole performed a terrific number with the quartet called ‘After Midnight’ showing her talent in jazz and scat. She also joined the symphony in a rendition of ‘Summertime’ as well as a playful number called, ‘Everyone Wants to be a Cat.’ Clearly she is full of personality and talent.
The symphony filled the music hall with Broadway numbers, golden oldies and classics. They are an extraordinary group that is a must-see. Hats off to Cohen for producing this concert, locally, each year. It is an exceptional extravaganza, a delight to attend and a unique experience for a neighbourhood outing.
I’m already looking forward to next year’s return. It truly was the cat’s meow!

N

See: Video I shot at a previous MWSO concert

Inspirations magazine: O Noir, an eye-opening experience

Leave a comment

From Inspirations magazine, Fall 2018 | Click to enlarge

See the full edition of Inspirations

 

To see all my reviews click the link at the top of the page

Glenn J. Nashen reviews Restaurant Onoir: An eye opening dinner experience

Leave a comment

Also appears on MTLRestRap

Restauranteur Ian and server Sophie at Onoir (Photo Glenn J. Nashen)

This was no ordinary evening out for dinner. I had heard of Onoir for several years and each time I came up with an excuse why I didn’t want to eat in the dark. This time was different and what an eye-opening experience it was.

 

You would never know by walking by on the pedestrian-only Prince Arthur Street that Onoir is really a lights-out place on the inside. Their comfortable and spacious terrasse could rival any fine venue along the Seine in Paris. Indeed, this is a people-watching area that they call Orues, so they’ve got you covered, errr uncovered, if you prefer to dine eyes wide open. And so we started our culinary experience on the cozy terrasse as I had a blonde beer brewed just down the block and my wife and daughter enjoyed sangria. A huge mural was just completed on their outside wall by famous graffiti artist Stikki Peaches depicting a young Salvador Dali.

Salvador Dali mural at Onoir (Photo Glenn J. Nashen)

But what brothers Alejandro and Ian Martinez Ortiz and their mom Oralia have cooking inside is what really sets them apart from the rest. This family was born and raised in Mexico City but when asked why they came to make new lives in this city, Ian says, “Montreal chose us!” And so it goes for this culturally rich, philosophically astute and community minded entrepreneurial trio.

The terrasse, known as Orues, on Prince Arthur Street (Photo Glenn J. Nashen)

Ian majored in Native Studies in Anthropology and non-Western History at Concordia University while brother Alejandro, a musician, studied the business side of of music and sound engineering.

 

The idea came to the family and Mohammed Alameddine on a trip to Switzerland; Create a dining experience truly apart from any other by tingling your senses and heightening your interaction with the food.  With this innovative concept they launched North America’s first restaurant, literally in the dark, 10 years ago, here in Montreal.

Award winning design at Onoir (Photo Glenn J. Nashen)

Ian greeted Judy, Nicole and I in the well-lit and wood-cabin-decorated main room where you’ll find the bar and a few tables for drinks and appetizers. Here you peruse the menu and select from the generous offerings of appetizers, main dishes and desserts along with an exclusive wine, beer and aperitif list. You make your selection, en lumiere so to speak, but they throw you an interesting challenge in offering a “surprise” that you may choose for each of your courses. Let them decide upon what they serve you, and you figure it out, in the dark! “It accentuates the experience,” Ian tells us.

 

There’s a little of everything on the menu including vegan options. The main courses include mushroom pie, shrimp in butter, salmon fillet, duck breast, rabbit and the popular grilled beef shoulder. We all choose the surprise but Judy and Nicole are able to stipulate certain dietary restrictions.

Onoir (Courtesy Facebook)

Upstairs we go to one of the two blackened dining rooms where we are introduced to our server, Sophie. Like all the servers at Onoir, Sophie is legally blind (she has just 15% vision). With my hands on her shoulders, Judy’s on mine, and Nicole’s on hers, we form a ‘conga line’ and shuffle slowly and cautiously into the pitch black room. Sophie puts my hand to the back of my chair and I slide into my seat while my hands gingerly feel the tabletop and its contents: cutlery, napkin, oops, that’s my wife doing the same on her side. Wall to my right. Empty place setting to my left. Sound of dinner guests behind me. Two of them – man and woman. I’ve got my bearings.  I quickly tuck the cloth napkin into my shirt and an extra one over my lap, perhaps anticipating the inevitable clumsiness.

Onoir (Courtesy Facebook)

Along comes Sophie. She taps my left shoulder for me to reach for my water glass. A small sip. My first spill! My napkin prepping helped. Ian would later tell us that that 50-60 year olds tend to be the messiest in the dark, kids usually adapt the easiest. “How often do spills occur,” I ask Ian. “Every night!”, he chuckles in response.

 

They’ve thought of everything. Even padding the room with sound absorbing material to dampen the echo since patrons sense of sound is more acute in the dark.

 

Judy, Nicole and I discuss our new comfort zone, describe what we feel and how we’re going to manage our meal. We hear the door open and instantly smell and feel the wonderful aromas wafting past our noses. Our sense of smell has already reached a new high only minutes into the dark. Our eyes see nothing at all but our noses pick up the sweet scents of sesame oil and cumin. We’re already teeming with excitement about what lies ahead.

 

Sophie announces that she has placed our plates before us and we reach for the cutlery to attempt to eat a normal dinner. But there is nothing normal about this evening. We touch the edge of the plates to delineate the ‘playing field’. I scoop, Judy dabs, Nicole uses her fingers!

 

Judy and Nicole start comparing notes since their surprise appetizers are identical. But since there are several different elements on the plate they are not always tasting the same thing at the same time. The kitchen takes care to cut up the food into bite sized pieces unless it’s soft enough for the guest to cut with a fork. We never used the butter knives on our table.

 

I begin to savour my dish. The smell and the weight upon the fork are all factors registering before it hits my mouth. All of a sudden, it passes my lips and the taste instantly explodes.

 

“There’s a party in my mouth,” Judy says, going through the same sensations.

 

The texture of the food item upon the tongue helps us to decipher what we’re eating. How chewy or juicy, thick or dense, are elements we don’t usually think of. What a powerful and sudden experience from the first bite.

 

I really appreciated that there are many different textures on the plate from shaved turkey to potato salad and cauliflower sauce.

 

Judy and Nicole enjoyed chunky tuna tataki with crunchy sweet potato chips. The surprise element definitely added to the fun.

 

The main courses arrive. Again, fingers checking the circumference of the plates. What were we in for? No idea…

 

After we devour the main courses and even lick our fingers, I invite Sophie to sit with us for a few minutes to review what we thought we might have eaten. “I think mine was duck and I tasted asparagus,” I quiz Sophie. “But I don’t know what the rest was.”

 

Sophie tells me my surprise was an exquisite duck breast with a blueberry and old-style mustard sauce and garlic flakes. Each bite was something special. The crunchy sweet potato and parmesan, leek and asparagus fondue was incredible, along with the playful, snappy crunchy garlic chips.

Onoir (Courtesy Facebook)

The girls enjoyed a salmon with nice, crunchy skin, stewed cabbage and broiled parsnips. They are much better at guessing than me. Judy paired her meal with a glass of wine and did not spill a drop! “The flavours were vibrant and singing in my mouth,” Judy says.

 

Sophie tells us she has worked here for seven years. In fact, it was her first job since she turned 18 and she loves it every day. She helps us better understand our environment by describing the room, the number of tables, how she manoeuvres about, memorizing who ordered what and where everyone is seated.

 

What comment does she hear often?

 

“People are surprised. Sometimes they start off a bit stressed. Most don’t completely understand the challenges a visually impaired person, or totally blind person, lives with,” Sophie reveals. “People are generally scared in the dark. We have funny moments sometimes. It’s a good comment on society to come and learn and ask questions about how we work, how we function,” she says appreciatively.

 

Owner Ian comes to join us when our surprise desserts are served. The chefs have some fun with one dessert which has roasted quinoa as a garnish. Judy loves chocolate but announces that tasting the dark chocolate mousse with caramelized mangoes, crunchy puff pastry and mango coulis on her tongue, while in the dark, takes it to a new level. Nicole enjoys her quinoa with blueberry sauce while I savour every bit of my almond and raspberry soft cake with crème fouettée, honey and vanilla. I couldn’t imagine leaving any behind and swipe my fingers across the plate (and found some on the placemat).

 

Ian tells us, “The darkness is like an invisible canvas: we rediscover our senses. There are 30 people employed at Onoir. All of the servers are legally blind.The chefs are creative and playful and take care to have the meal tell a story. Kids always like this restaurant. They’re amazed in discovering the food. The adults are more afraid.”

 

They have repeat customers that come every one or two months. “The first impulse is to come because it’s something new. It’s kind of like entertainment but we’re pushing for it to become a culinary experience,” Ian says. “We have tourists from all around the world, foodies, locals…” The menu is changed each season.

 

“It’s like a funny social experiment over these 10 years”, Ian reminisces.

 

What funny stories?

 

There’s the one about the adult who didn’t like vegetables and shoveled them all onto her child’s dish. Or the diner who couldn’t understand why his wine glass was emptied so quickly only to find out his buddy kept drinking his wine. Ian tells about the group that got quite tipsy and left the restaurant and forgot about their friend. It was only later that night when he went in to clean up and flipped the lights on that he jumped in fright when he discovered the friend asleep at the table.

 

“We’ve had guests come here on blind dates,” Ian tells us. “He was already seated inside when she arrived, and she left before he did. I always wondered if they had a second date?”

 

“Our staff are absolutely amazing. What we find really nice is that it’s not just a job. It’s empowering our staff,” Ian says proudly. “Inside the room, we are the handicapped ones and they become our eyes. Once they start working here most of our waiters never go,” he says.

 

The blind community is relatively small and a lot of them know each other. After hours many will come and hang out here, the blind and sighted, all together. They come here to hang out more than to eat. They can have the Onoir experience in any restaurant but only here do they have a sense of community.

 

Sophie interrupts our discussion when she enters the room with our tea and coffee. Be very careful she says. We immediately smell the sweet aroma of our hot beverages. We carefully take the handle of the mug and place the hot cup on the table to plan to drink with care.

 

“We believe that each of us has a mission, a path before us in life. We were given the honour to explore and to learn what we have learned, together with them (the sight impaired). They have opened our eyes,” Ian emphasizes. “I follow the symbolic language of life. I see the signs that speak to us. We’re a spiritual family. This place was waiting for us. It is our calling to take care of this place and these people. We know why we’re here. The most valuable thing I’ve learned here is the people. We trust our intuition,” he says.

 

They have found a winning formula in Onoir. The experience was tremendous. We confronted our inhibitions. We challenged our senses. And we learned about the lives of caring and insightful people like Sophie and Ian, Alejandro and their mom. And, the food is delicious (although we’re still not sure about the presentation).

 

I guess they’re right: It’s better in the dark!

 

 

Onoir is open seven nights a week during the summer and closed Tuesdays in winter, from 5:45PM. The terrace is open all summer for dinner and drinks. They also welcome groups and corporate team-building for lunch or dinner. Prices range from $36 for two services or $42 for all three.

 

Onoir Montreal

124 Rue Prince Arthur E, Montreal, QC H2X 1B5

(514) 937-9727

info@onoir.com

https://www.facebook.com/OnoirRestaurantMontreal/

 

Onoir Toronto

620 Church Street, Toronto

info@onoirtoronto.com

416.922.NOIR (6647)

A new Italian aroma in Brossard: Tre Sapori

1 Comment

by Glenn J. Nashen

There’s a new Italian aroma spreading across Brossard. Restaurants Tre Sapori has recently launched on Taschereau Boulevard and is sure to be a local hit. What’s more, situated one minute off Autoroute 10 and near the 10-30 area, Tre Sapori is closeby for anyone hungry for some great Italian food.

Owner Joe Astorino with Chef Moe, Server Alex and Sous Chef Joe in the kitchen at Tre Sapori (Photo Glenn J. Nashen)

This family business is run by a team composed of brothers Joe and Sergio Astorino and brother-in-law Luigi D’Amico. Each one brings a unique and complementary expertise to the restaurant which recently transformed from the last of the Pasta Tutti Giorni chain where Luigi worked for several years.

I was recently invited to join Joe for dinner and along with a few guests. We drove a mere 25 minutes from Montreal’s West End to get there. Barely 5 minutes over the Champlain Bridge, it took us the same time as it would have to travel downtown or the West Island.

We were warmly welcomed into the new, bright, and modern venue where there was ample free, no-hassle parking (which adds time and cost to the downtown experience). With 120 seats in the dining room there was no wait to be seated during the week, but I’m told it quickly fills up on the weekend. The natural colours, woody look and faux-stone wallpaper (fooled me as I reached out to touch the rocks) was quite appealing and the ambiance was set with Italian music, two large screen TVs and the smiling face of our awaiting server, Alex.

Alex also worked at the previous restaurant and Luigi brought him over. Alex studies by day at the John Molson School of Business and serves as waiter at night. Notwithstanding his Bulgarian background, he’s quite adept at suggesting Italian dishes.

We started off with three appetizers: Arancini, Calamari and Bruschetta (you pronounce the hard C in Italian, like Brusketta).

Arancini is a homemade rice ball with tangy cheese and minced meat. It came lightly seasoned and breaded with a very tasty tomato sauce on the side for dipping. Joe pointed out that all of their sauces are made fresh every day on the premises.

The Calamari tasted very fresh, not spicy, lightly battered and fried. The tomato sauce was the perfect accompaniment for dipping. It was presented very nicely and was quite plentiful. I squeezed fresh lemon all over and three of us enjoyed the overflowing plate.

The Bruschetta was a treat. Crispy warm artisanal bread topped with minced and garnished tomatoes so sweet and tasty it’s like they were just picked off the vine.

The wine and beer list featured some Italian favourites and we enjoyed a bottle of Moma, a mixture of sangiovese, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. It was dry yet fruity. It really accentuated each dish and also livened up our discussion and critique of the meal, which happily was very positive. If you’re not a wine drinker there’s Italian beer (Moretti) and aperitifs for after. They also have sangria by the glass, half or whole pitcher.

Joe explained that they receive food deliveries almost every day to ensure freshness.  Although he wouldn’t give away his mom’s secret recipe for tomato sauce, he did let slip that they use San Marzano canned tomatoes that are skinned. “No seeds or unnecessary liquid in these tomatoes,” Joe explained. They add basil, garlic, oil, onions, and Joe added, “the tomato does the rest of the work.” They also buy their meat fresh and pound it themselves in the kitchen.

They offer nine types of pizza and we couldn’t possibly not try one along with our main dishes. Although the unique and very popular Pizza Fruitti di Mari was eye catching, we ordered something my non-seafood indulging wife could bite into as well while we awaited the main course.

So out came the Pizza Primavera which the four of us gladly shared. What a great choice. Topped with tons of grilled zucchini, yellow peppers, amazing eggplant and drizzled in light oil it had a distinct and delicious taste, not to mention looked almost too beautiful to eat.

Since we not in a rush and were being treated like royalty, we next devoured the ceasar salad and soup. Stuart had the Stracciatella soup consisting of an egg “cracked right on the spot,” Joe said, and spinach with a hint of pepper. “This is the best I’ve ever tasted,” Stuart slurped.

Randy and I had the Minestrone soup, a bit more traditional and slightly spicy with a nice array of tomato, carrot, celery, onion and more.

It was time to choose our main dishes but what to choose from such a large offering? The menu was quite plentiful in every category of Italian specialty. They have a nice table d’hote from $21 to $32, main dishes from $16-$18 along with an array of soup, salads and appetizers. While salmon is a pretty staple fish specialty there, they all offered a catch of the day which normally includes trout and cod.

Stuart chose rosé sauce for his Cannelloni which in his case was a noodle cooked perfectly with a mix of veal, beef and pork. Judy’s Pasta Romanella arrived with her choice of penne noodles in a cream sauce. It came with a unique ingredient in artichoke along with sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms – a nice combination of vegetables, pleasantly spiced.

Randy’s Carne al Limone was served in a creamy, buttery lemon sauce atop the tender veal. Sautéd carrots, broccoli, onions and red and yellow pepper adorned the plate.

What did I order that I couldn’t get at home? Veal Marsala was my pick. I loved the mushrooms and the tangy dark sauce that had a hint of sweetness on the tender, thinly sliced veal. With a generous side of pasta in tomato sauce this table d’hote choice included soup, salad and coffee (tea for me).

We were a quisitive bunch and had lots and lots of questions. Alex was informative and patient and very attentive to detail. He was definitely well trained, had a good mannerism for this business and was eager to please.

Joe sat with us as we had lots of questions about Tre Sapori. He is a banker by trade whose roots go back to Southern Italy. Calabrese to be precise. Brother Sergio hails from the telecom industry, also not in the restaurant business, while brother-in-law Luigi had managed the previous restaurant at that location. These three are a tight group of great partners with unique skills – expertise that blend together very well.

“Family helps family,” Joe said. “It’s a labour of love. I love to cook. I love to eat!” he joked, saying this passion for food comes from his mom, Giuliana.

“Food represents family and friends. On Sunday, mom cooks at home and everyone gathers together. When mom says, ‘tomorrow at noon, be here’, everyone shows up,” Joe quipped.

Moma is from Calabria. Luigi is from Salerno, a region well-known for Mozzarella di Buffala. It’s easy to see that Joe, Sergio and Luigi bring traditional Italian family values of love and respect to Tre Sapori. “We come from a traditional Italian family,” Joe said. “Everything happens around the dinner table!”

Then there’s Chef Moe. “He’s in charge of the kitchen and makes all the decisions on menu and dishes,” Joe said. Moe has been there for 15 years also transferring from the previous restaurant, “so he knows the clientele, he knows what they want and how they want it,” said Joe.

Time for dessert and what incredible choices to be made. The cheese cakes are homemade, so we chose Nutella over the Marble. We also shared the Tiramisu, a staple to end any Italian meal, and the Sopresa, a crispy stuffed pastry.

Luigi recognizes his long time customers returning to experience the new menu and vibes. Sergio is active on social media posting specials and events to their Facebook page. There’s a lunch menu, Midi-Express, from $9.95 including chicken caesar salad, pizza or pasta with a soft drink.

They also have a kids menu for those 12 and under at $7.95 including chicken parmesan, pizza and pasta, french fries and more. The kid’s size is the same as the adult’s serving so expect to take home a doggy bag!

I asked Sergio what he is most proud of at the restaurant. “We are proud of the quality and authenticity of our food,” he said. “Our goal is to serve real authentic Italian food with real friendly service.  The restaurant is a family business that allows us to show our children what you can achieve with hard work and dedication.  My brother-in-law, Luigi, came from Italy with a dream of opening up a business and thanks to him we have achieved his dream and our goals.”

As for Sergio’s favourite dish?  “It’s a tie between the Osso Bucco and the Spaghetti Bolognese.  They remind us of our mother’s cooking.”

What traditions do you bring from your mother’s table to your customers’ table I asked Sergio? “Our mother has always provided us with fresh ingredients and a love for cooking. For our customers, we hope to achieve the same traditions. Fresh ingredients and a love for cooking with the hope of serving the best Italian meals in Brossard.”

Finally, I wanted to know what was the best feedback they’ve received to date. “We consistently hear that our ingredients are fresh, the meals are delicious and that we bring our customers back to their childhood with their nonna cooking Sunday dinner for the family,” Sergio said. “One client said it was the best tomato sauce she’s had since going to Naples,” Sergio added.

You can view their feedback for yourself on Google and on their Facebook page.

There’s a take out counter and also delivery with Uber-Eats. In fact, they’ve hooked up with all of the local hotels to offer a discount to guests. They’re also available to host your parties and events on site and they offer catering as well.

The boys from Tre Sapori have partnered with the City of Brossard since they’re the only Italian restaurant in the area and are members of the Moi J’achète Localement loyalty card program and are involved in sporting events as well as cultural festivals.

I noticed that they call themselves Restaurants (plural) Tre Sapori. Could an expansion be in the plans? That’s a closely guarded secret but I wouldn’t be surprised. With great food at reasonable prices, friendly service and smiles all around I can see this family enterprise taking off and branching out. I wish them lots of luck and thank them all for making us feel right at home!

Restaurants Tre Sapori

7681 Taschereau Blvd, Brossard, QC J4Y 1A2

Phone(450) 445-0025

Web: http://www.restaurantstresapori.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RestaurantsTreSapori/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tresapori/

 

Montreal complètement Cirque best pick: Scotch & Soda

Leave a comment

If you even remotely enjoy Montreal’s uber-artsy circus scene you won’t want to miss Scotch & Soda. This  extraordinary and zany show by Company 2 is on stage until July 21 at Theatre St. Denis in collaboration with the Just For Laughs festival.

We attended opening night last night. The theatre was completely sold out and there’s no wondering why. This show was spectacular from beginning to end. Two groups of performers, one circus-artistic and the other jazz-musical intertwined for 95 minutes of pure sensation. Both artistry and musical components were outstanding.

Scotch and Soda performed at The London Wonderground. David Carberry, ©Alastair Muir 20.05.15

Scotch & Soda is the result of an exciting mixology between two groups of artists and friends. On the one hand, we have the acrobats of Company 2, an ensemble of multidimensional circus artists. On the other hand, the Uncanny Carnival band is a tight-knit group of musicians from Sydney, Australia. Each musician brings their own flavour, and like the best single malt whiskey, this creates a unique blend. Scotch & Soda is the result of this mix: circus and jazz, served straight up.

A show that is an actual cocktail of exciting backgrounds: world-class circus and heart pounding jazz. It’s a perfect blend of art, fun, and friendship. This cocktail needs just one final greeting… the audience.

The show is brilliant. Ultra-creative. Exciting. You’ve never seen anything like it. I give it a 10 out of 10. Don’t miss it.

Older Entries