Kitchen Galerie: A festive restaurant in Little Italy

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Kitchen Galerie opened its doors in 2007. The restaurant has seen many great cooks come and go, and the much-loved house has been given a makeover. After three months of renovations, the restaurant reopened in February and now offers a “new and improved” Kitchen Galerie.

“Originally, the Kitchen was a neighbourhood restaurant serving market cuisine every day. We used the freshest products possible.” In 2007, this approach was not being done by anyone else in Montreal; it was new, original and an instant success.

At the beginning, the Kitchen was also a service provided solely by the chefs: “It was to increase the proximity between the chef and the client. Obviously, I know that the job of a waiter is super important, but we wanted to be closer to our customers, to know what our customers wanted and to be able to adjust to each request. Our service was not as extraordinary as at Toqué! but perhaps more friendly, and closer. We managed to satisfy our customers.” A formula that, since 2007, is still very popular.

Next, the guys from the Kitchen opened the Bistro Chez Roger on Beaubien Street. Afterwards, they opened the Kitchen Galerie Poisson and oversaw the three restaurants for some time. Then, the Roger was sold and the chef co-owner Jean-Philippe St-Denis left the city for the regions. Mathieu Cloutier, the other chef co-owner, joined forces with chef Mathieu Bourdages who became co-owner. The Kitchen Galerie poisson closed in 2014.

After that, the two Mathieu’s focused on their baby; they expanded the restaurant and gave it a breath of fresh air. They bought the space next door and added 50 seats to the existing space (!) The decor was done by “Design Mathieu Cloutier” (joke); it is the chef, helped by “Pat Bouch” who designed the place. Has the friendly side of the Kitchen been lost in the expansion? No, because on less busy days, a wall is put between the two sections in order to keep the original space. On busy evenings, the entire space is filled. This wall is very ingenious in prioritizing either intimacy or festivity according to the size of the evening. If anything, the renovations have given the restaurant a facelift; more festive, with a bar license as well, so you can drop by for happy hour.

At the front of the restaurant, there is also a “Kitchen Galerie to go” boutique with the house’s favourite products to take-out: foie gras, and other prepared meals. The boutique is for those who would like to live the Kitchen experience at home. During the day, they also serve sandwiches to go.

In the kitchen, you will find the workmanship of both Mathieus. The Kitchen Galerie’s fixed menu consists mainly of the most popular dishes of the last few years, from all three restaurants run by the owners, which, to them, “are all our winners!” That makes for a lot of foie gras, oysters, tartares and absolutely incredible cuts of meat like prime rib with tarragon sauce (extra-truffle and foie gras) or black beer braised short rib! The skate is always on the fixed menu, however the choice of fish varies and adapts with arrivals. The veggie option is prepared on the spot, according to the customer’s tastes and the availability of products. For dessert, there are three “chef’s desserts”; just enough to satisfy a sweet tooth. A very generous and delicious menu that makes you want to come back. Thank you for the discovery.

Since the house has a bar license and the kitchen closes when the customers are gone, the party goes on. “As long as there are people, we’re here and we work. On the wine side, Kitchen Galerie offers a menu of mostly private imports. Many bottles between $40 and $60 and a few for lovers of great wines. As for cocktails, mixologist Emmanuelle Picard of St-Édouard prepares the house choices.

Our favourite thing about the new Kitchen Galerie is that it has kept its remarkable quality in the plates and the friendliness of its service. Customers are treated like friends and that is what makes the place so successful. Depending on the taste and requests, the kitchen adjusts to make sure you have a good time. “The Kitchen has always been a party place. It’s just that we used to have a party for 30 people, now we have one for 85. It’s a lot more fun, and a lot more cool.”

Photography by Alison Slattery

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