Al Pacino is coming to Montreal (tickets start at $79 and reach $1.5K if you fancy a “meet and greet” with the man), which got me thinking – where will he wine and dine?
I’m (sadly) not well enough acquainted with the man to know his personal tastes (we’re still at the Mr. Pacino stage of our relationship). I have, however, started imagining him in different restaurant settings throughout the city. Flashy tacos in the Mile-End? Hum. Industrial décor in Old Montreal? Overdone.
And then it hit me.
Wood panelling walls, leather banquettes, a small but fully stacked bar managed by a white-shirt-wearing barman with a pencil above his ear – all that the place is missing is a felt poker table and a box of Cohiba for the picture to be complete.
Last time I went, it was with M and P. The gentlemen wanted to celebrate Friday in an elegant manner and Nora Gray fit the description perfectly.
We kicked off celebrations with fancy cocktails named “dirty boulevard” and “calabrese prison” and ordered the night away.
Nora Gray serves an Italian-inspired cuisine that changes seasonally. While you’ll notice pork belly and veal listed on the menu, the meat comes in lighter versions than what you’d expect, with an extra emphasis on flavours and textures. Fish and seafood take center stage and dessert is always a must.
But I’m jumping ahead of myself.
Here’s what we devoured.For appetizers, we shared a plate of vegetable fritters and a savoury cooked onion on charcoal. To accompany our feast, we ordered a dry and beautifully fruity Sancerre. The restaurant offers a good number of decent bottles priced in the $50s– which, given their reputation ($$$) came as quite a pleasant surprise.
“You know I’m allergic” – P.
more for me ;).
The dish is actually an appetizer, although it was just the right size for a light dinner. Fresh sea urchins, seasoned mussels and a generous amount of full sized shrimps from Matane; I smacked my lips at the mere description of it, while P did everything in his power to stay as far as possible from my side of the table.But worry not; P still had a great evening. His striped bass was definitely the star of the night; flakily tender and hidden under a thick layer of spicy nduya.
M opted for the stuffed pork trotter – generous and satisfying.
The goat cheese panna cotta completed our meal. Rich and silky smooth, it was a sweet-end to a lovely evening. All in all, should you be a friend of Mr. Pacino, kindly let him know that Nora Gray is a fine place to discover during his next visit to Montreal. Maybe he’ll bring you along as a thank-you gesture. If that’s the case, you’re very welcome. – the Snob
|1391 Rue Saint-Jacques, Montréal, QC H3C 1H2