Choosing a name for a restaurant is an important an integral part of any game plan when opening such a business. With some exceptions, most restaurants decide on a one word identity, whether it be the first or last name of the chef owner or a name that is just way out in left field leaving one to wonder what exactly it is meant to denote. And to double the challenge in Quebec it must of course be a name synonymous with both languages.
A restaurant fitting into the latter category is one I recently visited in Old Montreal, Jellyfish. To be fair its rather incongruous name does come with a sub text, Crudo et Charbon. But where ‘Jellyfish’ fits in I have still to discover!
In spite of its name Jellyfish exudes glamour and class. Immediately on walking in you are confronted with a sleek and modern sit up bar smack in the middle of the restaurant highlighted by huge glass chandeliers luxuriously dominating the room from above.
Service at Jellyfish reflects its surroundings perfectly, its polished, friendly, but never over bearing.
The menu is stacked with a large selection of seemingly very creative fusion dishes with many global flourishes with influences from China, Italy, Mexico, Thailand and of course, classic French cuisine. The dishes are separated into Crudos, dishes either grilled or roasted over charcoal and a smattering of others conventionally prepared,
To start we chose Tartare de Saumon ($16) and Flanc de Porc ($16).
The salmon tartare was first rate, fresh and perfectly seasoned with a delicate balance of citrus and an addictive touch of wasabi. On top of being delicious it was beautifully presented and garnished with crunchy pickled pearl onions, beets and similarly pickled shards of radish. Superb!
The pork belly was definitely its equal. The perfectly cooked and fork tender piece of pork belly sourced from the renowned Quebec Gaspor Farms was superb. It was harmoniously paired with a wasabi scented aioli and sat atop a slightly pickled Asian cucumber slaw that cut through the richness of the pork perfectly. Adding another note of sweetness was a drizzle of that addictive answer to an Asian BBQ sauce, hoisin. And if this wasn’t enough, topping it all off and adding to the luxury of the dish was a perfectly coddled egg….Sinfully rich and delicious!
We were off to a good start!
Our main courses of Grilled Salmon ($27) and Carre de Porcelet ($36) by in large met with our approval.
I do however have one small quibble with both plates. Given the price tags of each I found the quantity a bit lacking, especially the salmon.
My salmon consisted of two barely two inch squares of grilled fish both of which were a bit on the dry side. Salmon is such a wonderfully rich and fatty fish and serving it over cooked is a sin by any measure. The advertised jerk spices were sadly undetectable and the espuma (foam) of squash completely over powered the dish.
The beautifully presented Gaspor Farm piglet chop was perfectly cooked and deliciously glazed with the complexly flavored light usukuchi sauce (a lighter and less salty roasted soy sauce). It sat atop a perfect crunchy slaw of parsnip and Asian pear.
Each of our dishes included a choice of side dish. We both chose the Market Vegetables which were, to my taste, slightly under done. I like my vegetables to maintain some texture, but these were a little more so.
We accompanied our meal with a hearty and fruity Spanish red wine, Juan Gil ($54)
For dessert we chose a whimsically deconstructed S’mores pie that was beautifully presented, delicious, not too rich and a great way to end our meal.
In spite of my small complaint Jellyfish has a ton of good going for it and considering the size and exuberance of the mainly over 30 crowd there when we visited it’s definitely doing something right.
Jellyfish doesn’t strike me as a ‘jeans’ kind of place and it’s nice once in a while to spend an evening surrounded by a bit of glamour and elegance….Thank you Jellyfish for giving ‘class’ a good name (however ‘Jellyfish’ fits in, I still don’t know!)
Our meal, including two cocktails, wine and taxes came to $214
626 rue Marguerite d’Youville
Tel: 514 303-0908
Mon -Wed 11h30 – 14h30 17h30 – 23h00
Thurs & Fri 11h30 – 14h30 17h30 – 23h30
Sat 17h30 – 23h30