Oh corner of Jeanne-Mance and Fairmount, you’ve housed many restaurants! The latest is Voro, and so far, it’s had a much better run than its precursors.
The space is modern with some rustic touches. Actually it reflects the food, surnamed “rustic Mediterranean” by the chef – it’s essentially a modern take on traditional ideas and dishes from all countries that border the Mediterranean (plus a few token American recipes thrown into the mix). The menu is impressively inexpensive, especially for a place that’s been a major source of Mile-End buzz.
We started with a bottle of wine; it was both good and very decently priced. The homemade foccacia followed. Verdict? Fresh, spongy and delicious, especially with the accompanying olive oil.
We ordered three dishes. First came the salted cod and tomatoes with olives, capers and fresh dill ($7) and the grilled calamari stuffed with Phoenician rice, chorizo, and olives with a yoghurt sauce on the side ($8). Meh. Times two. I realize that “salted cod” is the big dry fish in Portuguese grocery stores that’s so salted that it doesn’t even need to be refrigerated, but I also know that to become edible, it must be soaked in water for hours and hours. In any case, the fish was slightly tough and seriously “salted”. I’ve never made it myself, but maybe it wasn’t soaked for long enough? The fish was just ok but the tomato sauce was good.
Next I had the calamari. It was ok, but nothing special. And actually, the fact that it was stuffed with rice was awkward. Why not just lay a nice piece of grilled calamari on some nice rice? That’s what I ended up doing – de-stuffing my stuffed calamari – and I enjoyed it a lot more. In the end, it was good.
We also had the grilled cheese with Camembert and BBQ sauce on the side ($5). When you think of grilled cheese, what comes to mind? A decadent ooey-gooey cheesy sandwich that’s too good to be left in your childhood memories. However, this grilled cheese was made with the homemade foccacia, which, while delicious, is much too thick for sandwich making purposes. Inside? A half-melted piece of Camembert with a slather of Dijon mustard. Sad face.
Finally, we ordered the chocolate mousse. Whoa boy, it was watery and excessively sweet. The chocolate mousse was not ok. Un point, c’est tout.
In all, the space wows and the atmosphere is great, but the food just doesn’t live up to the rest of the package. Or, maybe it was the dishes I chose? Don’t know. But, despite the slightly amateur-ish cooking, the place is very affordable, fun, and has an upbeat atmosphere. Instead of dinner, I would suggest a cocktail or glass of wine with a nice cheese plate to nibble on. And here’s something to remember – the lighting is perfect for a date. Slightly dimmed, it creates a warm effect and makes everyone ridiculously good-looking.
Food 6.5/10, Atmosphere 9/10, Pretty people 8.5/10, Music (funmixofoldandnew) 8.5/10, Service 7/10.