Romies : we finally got a first look at Arthurs new sibling!

The secret is out: the owners of beloved Saint-Henri brunch spot Arthurs Nosh Bar have been quietly working on a new project for several months. Romies, a chic new American-style bistro in Old Montreal, is set to open in late June. We met with Reagan Steinberg, husband Alexander Cohen, and their associates for a little sneak peek.

The new restaurant, which is officially scheduled to open at the end of June, will take the place of Boris Bistro on McGill Street, which announced its closure in August 2022. The talented designer Annika Krausz, who had already proven her impeccable taste at Bar Wills and Lawrence, completely reimagined the space. While renovations were still underway at the time of our visit, we could already tell it’s going to be absolutely stunning! Burgundy leather banquettes, wooden wall panels, upholstered chairs, and black marble tables: the ensemble is both contemporary and timeless, with mid-century modern elements counterbalancing the industrial skeleton of the space to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere. There will be about 80 seats inside, plus around 50 more in its verdant interior courtyard.

In the kitchen, chefs Alexandre Cohen and Nicholas Giambattisto have assembled a stellar team, including pastry chef Leigh Roper (formerly of Foxy), who will handle the desserts menu. Romies will serve an American-style bistro menu with several classics of the genre, with a twist. “We want to make good food that people want to eat,” sums up Reagan. Ribs, cowboy pepper bacon steak,  crudos, shrimp cocktail with avocado dip and chili sauce, tartare with grilled eggplant and giardiniera, grass-fed steak for two (or four, depending on your appetite)… Enough to wet our appetites! “The burger on homemade Hawaiian bread is amazing,” adds the restaurateur. For dessert, more revisited classics, such as a rice pudding, fruit platters, and a “Grand service de tarte aux pommes” for two, served tableside with crème anglaise, freshly ground pepper, and all the trimmings.

Front of house, Franck Roche (Lorbeer, Warehouse) will manage the team. He will be assisted by young sommelier Léa Viens, recruited from Poincaré Chinatown, who will handle the wine list: natural wines, classics, rare gems, and several options by the glass. Veteran bartender Tim Robertson (Nomi, Flyjin, Hiatus) will be in charge of the cocktails. Here too, you can expect old and modern classics: Black Manhattan, Jungle Bird, Old Fashioned, Negroni, Americano, and so on.

We’re always a bit concerned about our wallets when dining out in Old Montreal–with good reason–, but Reagan assures us that Romies will have options for all budgets: “Alex is very conscious about that and wants to have a bit of everything. We want it to be accessible.” The same goes for refreshments, Franck adds.

It’s somewhat of a reunion for the team members, who all met at Joe Beef about a decade ago. “It’s fun to reconvene at  very different point in our life,” shares Reagan. “We have kids, we’re serious, we get up at 6 AM. ” With its understated and refined decor, Romies reflects this newfound maturity. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be festive. “In Montreal, you can get good food and good vibes. We wanted both,” she goes on. With all these talented people behind the project, we have no doubt this will be the case.

To start, Romies will be open five nights a week. Lunches and brunches should follow soon.

Long live Romies!

Photography by Mikael Lebleu

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