Mike CohenMtlRestoRap

Two and a half years after the COVID-19 pandemic hit all industries hard, especially restaurants, this summer has brought forward a feeling of some normalcy at dining establishments.

For my family, finding a nice terrasse represents a real treat. I can confidently proclaim that we enjoyed our finest dinner since the pandemic on one beautiful Saturday evening on the terrasse of Le Renoir, the fabulous restaurant at the swank Sofitel Montreal Golden Mile.

Tables at this terrasse are nicely spaced, covered by large umbrellas with soft music playing in the background.

Inspired by French cuisine, infused with international flavors and elevated with local ingredients, Le Renoir tells a story of Montreal’s vibrant culture. The restaurant offers fine and inventive cuisine. Critically acclaimed celebrity Chefs Olivier Perret and Clément Tilly perform their culinary magic with their innovative menus  and ultra-chic settings. It is no wonder that Le Renoir Restaurant has received two “Toques” in Montreal’s first edition of the prestigious French gastronomy guide Gault & Millau and the best grade out of all hotel restaurants in Montreal.

Le Renoir

The Duck breast is a treat

Chef Perret has spent more than 20 years as part of Sofitel’s worldwide family, holding positions as Executive Sous Chef at Sofitel Chicago Water Tower and as Head Chef of Sofitel Washington D.C. Lafayette Square’s iCi Urban Bistro, before joining Sofitel Montreal Golden Mile as Executive Chef. Prior to joining the hotel industry, he worked at several notable French restaurants in Montreal. Born and raised in the Burgundy region in France, he developed a profound interest for seasonal and locally grown fruits and vegetables, endlessly influencing his cooking style and menus at Le Renoir.

As for Chef Tilly, he is originally from Nantes, France and fell in love with sweetness at a very young age. He has demonstrated his talent working in major Parisian institutions and began his career in Paris, working in renowned hotels such as Lutetia and Shangri-La. In 2015, he joined the pastry brigade of the famous Ritz Hotel in Place Vendôme, a Parisian iconic address for which he quickly became Sous-Chef. In 2019, he headed to Montreal to take his career to the next level at Le Renoir.

Le Renoir

Tantalizing oysters

Le Renoir is open for breakfast, lunch and supper. There is convenient valet parking for a fee. You can always view the latest menu on their website. On Sundays an exquisite brunch awaits and on Thursdays during the summer, a special menu is offered from 5 pm to 8 pm on the terrasse.

There is a special Waygu menu which I hope to try one day and a five course tasting menu (plus dessert) at $105 per person.

We started off by sharing 12 extraordinary oysters, a serving we did not want to see end. Then came a lobster salad, containing fennel, granny smith coriander, vanilla fennel espuma and lobster bisque vinaigrette. We finished off the appetizer portion of the meal with sea bass carpacci, marbled with kombu seaweed, samphire and sea buckthorn sorbet.

For the main course, my wife and daughter each ordered a perfectly cooked Angus beef tenderloin. It was listed as a special that evening and also appeared on the tasting menu, coming with Quebec morels, sautéed spinach in red wine sauce.

I was elated to see Duck breast on the menu, one of my true favorites that I have not eaten in a few years now. It cut like butter and each piece melted in my mouth. It came with chimichurri, grilled vegetables tian and burnt onion puree.

Le Renoir

Decadent desserts

For dessert, our server Olivier came to the table with a decadent presentation of Chef Tilly’s three options for the evening: the lemon tart, all chocolate (64 percent dark chocolate mousse, chocolate ganache, chocolate puffed rice and flourless chocolate biscuit) and Quebec strawberry pie (Breton shortbread, light vanilla mousse, fresh and candied strawberries and strawberry juice topping. We decided to share all three, ensuring that we left this restaurant with huge smiles on our faces.

Unquestionably we will be back again for there are so many other tantalizing menu options we still want to try such as: gnocchi of porcini mushrooms and bone marrow,  iodized beef tartare, creamy green peas and oysters; Mujol caviar, green onion, confit egg yolk with soja and rice vine;  maple lacquered octopus;   risotto with morels ; smoked and braised sucrine AAA Beef Sirloin 12oz 49; Gratin Dauphinois; and their fish of the day.

As Sofitel General Manager Marc Pichot notes; “As soon as you enter the hotel, you will be whisked away to another place, where chic French flair blends with minimalist touches and playful art, for a distinctive and sophisticated experience.”

Having dined at Sofitel locations in New York City, Beverly Hills and London, England before, it is hard to believe that I waited until 18 years after the iconic brand first opened in our city to enjoy my first experience.

Le Renoir is located on the main level of the Sofitel Montreal Golden Mile at1155 Sherbrooke St West (corner of Stanley).  For reservations call 514-788-3038. You can see the menus at https://restaurant-renoir.com

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