Daniel Boulud is in the (Ritz) House
The downtown core recently welcomed back one of its esteemed landmarks when the Ritz Carlton hotel reopened its doors after months of renovation. While the name still holds the prestige of yesteryear and the Oval Room continues to dazzle, the hotel has seen modern updates from its accommodations to the Ritz garden to the food served on site.
Gone are the days of the traditional Ritz restaurant where guests were expected to wear their finest to dine. Yes, the Ritz’s menu is as sophisticated as ever but now it bears the name of an internationally acclaimed chef.
Maison Boulud recently opened its doors bringing renowned New York chef Daniel Boulud to la belle province. Montreal has now become part of the restaurateur’s empire of fine cuisine found in over a dozen bistros, cafes and bars throughout the world. The first of its kind in Canada, Maison Boulud brings haute cuisine to a city where foodies reign supreme.
So how did we get so lucky to land Daniel Boulud? “The Ritz Carlton…wanted somebody of international flair to bring a bit of excitement and something new to the city…someone with a relationship with Montrealais déjà,” says Boulud, “I fell into the part here.”
While Boulud’s Dinex Group signed the deal, the chef’s connection to Montreal is more than apparent. From a local client base who regularly visits his New York City establishments to charity work for La Vittoria and a title as the president of the Highlights Festival in 2007, Boulud is no stranger to our city. With ties to numerous Montreal chefs, Maison Boulud follows suit with locally sourced ingredients, creating a mouth-watering menu.
Maison Boulud features a table d’hote menu for lunch with a two ($28) or three ($35) course prix fixe or a four course ($69.50) dinner menu. After meeting the chef himself, we indulged in a chilled pea soup with rosemary cream, spiced halibut with sweet and sour eggplant and fregola and, for dessert, chocolate coulant with liquid caramel and fleur de sel with a caramelized milk ice cream.
While the food most definitely lives up to our celebrity chef expectations, the service gets four stars as well. According to Boulud, “When a customer comes here I want them to think they are coming in for Daniel and leaving because (the staff) love you and know your name and Daniel doesn’t matter anymore, its (the staff). They do their job when they really feel that they touch somebody by their personality and how they represented me well. My success is associated to the staff I have with me.”
While the restaurant still welcomes high society older women reliving the Ritz’s glamour, Maison Boulud will definitely bring this Montreal institution into the here and now, and all things delicious.
Maison Boulud, Ritz Carlton, 1228 Sherbrooke St. W., Montreal, 514-842-4212, www.ritzmontreal.com