Tasso Bar à Mezze ▪ Montréal

3829 Rue St-Denis
Montréal, Québec

Elle has been crazy about online group coupons: Groupon, Living Social, etc. This time it was a $69 tasting menu at Tasso on Tuango. Elle purchased the coupon for her and her hubby, but a few days before the coupon was to expire, and her hubby still in Iceland, I got to taste the 7 services menu instead. I neglectfully brought my camera without a memory card, so all pics were taken with Elle's i-phone.

Tasso Bar à Mezze, located in the Plateau Mont Royal neighbourhood, specialises in seafood and small plate mezzes. The restaurant has a Mediterranean by the sea vibe. We were served complimentary grilled bread with olive oil to dip, bonus points for the nice char on the slices. Then came out the amuse bouche; the first was smoked mackerel and rémoulade and the second one was sea urchin and beets. Nice start to our seafood meal.

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Complementary bread and amuse bouche.

The server explained to us that there were going to be five courses, mainly focused on seafood and meat at the end. The mezzes came out in pairs. Somehow, Elle understood that there were 5 dishes in total and convinced me of this. It was only halfway through our meal when we thought we were near the end that we realized there were still more dishes to come, for a total of 10 mezzes to share.

The first course consisted of a tartar of plaice and a shrimp salad over a chilled cucumber soup. Elle loves all fish or seafood tartars and this one with shaved fennel served on a cracker was no exception. We both thought the perfectly cooked shrimp salad was well seasoned, and a good combination with the fresh cucumber soup.

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First course: tartar and shrimp salad.

The second courses were two similar fish dishes. One was a grilled porgy served with beans. I really liked the combination of creamy beans with fish. The second was a pan seared fish with cauliflower.

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Second course: grilled and pan seared fish.

The third course included grilled sardines with a mackerel potato salad. Our absolutely favourite dish of the meal was a fried red-skinned fish on top of a polenta cake. It was one of the best polenta I ever had because it was creamy and smooth. When I asked the server what was in the polenta, he laughed and said polenta. I specified that it tasted like there was cream and eggs possibly, to which he replied he would check in the kitchen. He came back and said my guesses were spot on. This is good to know for the next time I attempt polenta.

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Third course: grilled sardines and fish on polenta cake.

The fourth course consisted of cedar plank roasted black cod on a risotto croquette with eggplant caviar. The black cod was good but the dish was too similar to the previous fish on polenta cake. The accompanying mezze was clam chowder originally combined with braised pork, which added a smokey dimension to the chowder, and fingerling potatoes. I appreciated the fresh clams used.

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Fourth course: black cod with risotto cake and clam chowder.

The final course focused on meat. Unfortunately, we were so focused on the challenge of finishing our meal like champs that we forgot to take pictures. The meat mezzes were braised duck and date purée in a phyllo pastry, and a smoked quail served with cabbage and squash.

Finally, the dessert course were a squash cake with caramelized apple purée toopped with cream cheese frosting and a flourless chocolate cake with orange marmalade and white chocolate frosting. Both desserts were a solid end to our meal.

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Elle and I really enjoyed our meal at Tasso. The service was a bit funny with the server laughing at my polenta question, and having too ask multiple times for a spoon, and then a second spoon, even though we were clearly sharing our mezzes; but the food made up for it. Although the coupon was a good deal ($69 for a $152 value), it was still an expensive meal after the drinks, taxes and tip (on the whole value). So I would save this for a special occasion outing.

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