Impromptu dinner = iPhone pictures!
Atelier d’Argentine is a relatively new restaurant on the Montreal dining scene set in the space previously occupied by Derek Dammann’s DNA. Previously, the incredibly modern setting made sense – DNA was known for its experimental but always delicious haute cuisine.
Upon entering Atelier d’Argentine, I was surprised to see that not much has changed – not even to suit the style and feel of an Argentinean steakhouse. Same glass partitions, same industrial lighting, same steel décor. Hmmm.
In any case, I heard so much about this restaurant through social media and was excited to finally try it. A delicious piece of red meat is always welcome in my carnivorous diet!
We started with the fennel, watercress, citrus and sugar-roasted almond salad. It was delicious! So fresh, with great contrasting textures and just the right amount of dressing. Good start.
Next, we both chose the grilled hanger steak with chimichurri & criolla sauce. A medium-rare, properly prepared hanger steak can be an amazing-tasting piece of meat. It also doesn’t need much fuss around it – usually salt and pepper are just enough to enhance the taste. Unfortunately, this hanger steak wasn’t so great. The cut was sub-par and the taste was… Seriously MIA. Here, the lack of spice really brought out the bland and somewhat stringy piece of meat. The chimichurri wasn’t bad but the dish, on the whole, was unfortunate.
Finally, we split the caramel stuffed crepes with honey roasted walnuts, sautéed bananas and milk semifreddo. Like the hanger steak, the dessert was unimpressive and lacked finesse. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great.
It seems that Atelier d”Argentine is going through a bit of an identity crisis. It’s trying to be a serious restaurant – occupying DNA’s space leaves them with large shoes to fill – but it’s also trying to be “fly” and “happening”. On Thusday night, the restaurant hosts its “Besame” event: after 10pm, their menu becomes less expensive and the party atmosphere heats up. I’m not saying Atelier d’Argentine is attempting the impossible, but it’s trying to do too much too fast. Before earning a positive reputation as a restaurant, it’s trying to enter the Old Port party scene. I’ve never seen that end well…
Food 7/10, Atmosphere 7/10, Pretty people 7/10, Music 7/10, Service 8.5/10.