In Montreal, it can sometimes seem that the dining scene is all about animal products: the smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz’s, and the Melting Pot of meat at Au Pied de Cochon, not to mention its entire foie gras menu section. There’s even a popular (and very good) restaurant called Joe Beef.
But Hubert Marsolais and Claude Pelletier, the restaurateurs behind Le Club Chasse et Pêche (the Hunting and Fishing Club), which they opened in 2004, wanted to prove that great, regionally caught seafood was possible to find in Montreal. Now they’ve more fully embraced the ocean’s bounty with Le Filet, a restaurant specializing in seafood that opened in February in a lovely spot just across from Parc Jeanne-Mance.
The pair took a straightforward approach. “Just being intelligent about fish purchasing, keeping the quality high, trying to make a unique experience,” Mr. Marsolais said.
Mr. Pelletier, the executive chef, and Yasu Okazaki, the chef de cuisine, have divided the menu into sections like Raw, Warm Tide, Amphibians and Earthly. All dishes are shared; about three are recommended for each diner. The serving staff — friendly, if a tad assertive — are happy to guide you in your choices.
Start with some oysters. During a recent visit, selections were all Canadian.
From the Raw list, we tried the fluke, paired with a pleasing accompaniment of Japanese plum, wasabi and cucumber; it melted on the tongue. The tuna tartare, with egg confit and nori, also had a luscious texture. (All our dishes were pleasing to the eye, as is the sleek dining room, accented by a huge portrait of a sea anemone behind the bar. There’s also a terrace with a view of the park and, beyond it, Mount Royal.)
From Warm Tide, we had the Gaspé char, served very rare, with seasonal vegetables and a lemon confit vinaigrette. It was tender and tasted of the sea.
The restaurant’s versions of surf and turf (Amphibians) were next: flavorful morsels of sweetbread, mingled with pieces of Magdalen Islands lobster and morel mushrooms. And from Earthly (turf only), we enjoyed a free-form tart with mushrooms, pleasantly spongy snails and bacon, all cut with an arugula pesto.
Not surprisingly, the wine list skews white, and has some excellent choices.
Le Filet, 219, avenue du Mont-Royal Ouest, Montreal; (514) 360-6060; lefilet.ca. A meal for two, without drinks or tip, is about 100 Canadian dollars, about the same in U.S. dollars.