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Negative racial stereotypes in Journal de Montreal review of Le Piment Rouge

Context is important. We're discussing a restaurant review, not stand up comedy with Steven Colbert or Chris Rock. There are no expectations of journalistic standards and ethics in stand up comedy. A black comedian making fun of other black men on stage is funny. A white French journalist pretending to report the truth, but in fact twists and distorts the truth at the expense of an ethnic minority group and to the detriment of a restaurant (and all the staff who depend on that restaurant to pay rent and feed their families) is not funny.

Yeah, Journal de Montreal is a low-class tabloid that panders to a certain audience, but that doesn't excuse them from certain minimum standards of truthfulness, impartiality, fairness, accountability to the public, etc. And IMO, this journalist is not reporting what he really saw and heard - as vanierstudent said, what Chinese person would call himself/herself "hong" (or "ching chong" in English), and how can a thriving restaurant that has been around for decades be the complete and utter disaster he claims when other recent mainstream media reviews have been positive?

Also, on this tabloid's website, readers can add their comments to the restaurant review (at least that's what they claim, subject to removal for violations of netiquette). Several of us in the office yesterday morning submitted some polite comments that respectfully disagreed with his views. Other comments got added throughout the day, but it should come as no surprise that none of our comments were published - and of course only those that agreed with him were published. Funny. Maybe Thierry Daraize should be a stand up comedian.

May 21, 2011
HappyMtl in Food Media & News

Îles-de-la-Madeleine lobsters?

What is so special or different about Iles-de-la Madeleine lobsters compared to say Nova Scotia, New Brunswick or Maine lobsters?

Negative racial stereotypes in Journal de Montreal review of Le Piment Rouge

There is no excuse for racism however subtle or innocent it may be. I tend to agree with klyeoh - it's even more shocking that some don't realize how badly even subtle racism can hurt others and create second class people. I doubt this is a direct quote - I've been to Piment Rouge several times, and the managers and servers are completely fluent in French and English (though some of the bussers are not) - most of them are not even Chinese. I don't understand why a journalist would publish such outrageous comments.

As far as I know, there has only been one bad media review of Piment Rouge - the Journal de Montreal review. All the others that have been mentioned by others (The Gazette, CBC, RDI, Le Devoir, China Air flight magazine, etc.) have been very good to excellent.

May 20, 2011
HappyMtl in Food Media & News

Montreal for the Canada Day long weekend - where would you eat and drink?

I second kpaxonite's recommendation. CCP is great. I seem to remember that the patio is only open during the daytime, but I could be wrong.

BYOB for a group of 80

Maybe try L'Academie on Crescent. Not haute cuisine, but fits your budget and they should be able to accomodate 80 people.

Do you like it when your server recognizes you?

I like it too. The servers and managers know your preferences and bring your food exactly as you like it - they know your habits and know what to recommend. That applies to drinks as well - prepared also as you like it, exactly. It's also nice when you know them and they know you to get fast service on those occasions you need to rush through a meal for an appointment or movie. It's generally all good when they know you...

May 18, 2011
HappyMtl in Not About Food

Toque' or Better

Montreal also has some very good non-French influenced restaurants at the high end (nose in the air, as you said) that you might want to try: Milos (Greek), Ferreira (Portuguese), Jun-I (Japanese with French influence), Le Piment Rouge (Chinese). As Maximilien said, none of these reach the culinary heights or formal dining levels of Per Se or Guy Savoy, but they are very good. Martha Stewart's favourite restaurant anywhere is Milos (in NYC and Montreal), and almost all of Canada's prime ministers from the past 20-30 yrs have eaten regularly at Le Piment Rouge.

Le Piment Rouge - review + pics

I"ve never had a bad meal at Piment Rouge before, but your shrimp (?) or fish roe (??) fried rice is truly bizzare - it must be a special order item because I'm pretty sure it's not on their menu. I'm ok with fat on duck - even a good duck confit (oozing in it's own fat) or a nice magret de canard with a thick fat layer does look kinda gross and smells odd, but tastes great!

Montreal smoked meat--The Main v. Schwartz's

One more vote for Schartz's here - the best is simply the best!

Le Piment Rouge - review + pics

I was also at a group dinner at Piment Rouge last week for about 40 people. It was very good despite the large group, but we also had mainly Americanized items (Hunan dumplings, General Toa chicken, Szeshwan shrimp, etc.) - lowest common denominator to please everyone at a business function. However, their authentic Chinese dishes are much better, especially their daily seafood specials and the seasonal tasting menu. Though I agree with VinnyRW that the sauce for their Hunan dumplings is delicious and I haven't found any better in town.

hungryann, I go often to Piment Rouge, but never seen some of the dishes you describe. They don't serve BBQ duck, nor do they serve sweet and sour shrimp or fried rice with fish roe (this one really sounds so bizzare!). Are these special order items for your group?

BLM, one of the food critics raving about Piment Rouge is Phillipe Molle of Le Devoir. He reviewed them right after their big renovation: He lived and worked as a chef for many years in Japan, Tahiti and Hong Kong and writes often about his annual trips to Asia. However, I'm not sure how much the other Montreal food critics know about Asian food - some of them are more Europe focused when it comes to their travels and knowledge.

Le Piment Rouge - review + pics

kpaxonite, I don't think the ratings were bought. It wasn't one of those "best steakhouses in America" type advertisements that you see in many flight magazines. It was a while since I read the article, but the reviews did include Ding Tai Fung in Taipei and Lee Garden and Lung King Heen/Four Seasons in Hong Kong. These restaurants have no reason to pay for the ratings because they are already the center of attention and always overbooked. The format of the article reminded me of the annual best new restaurant list published by Air Canada.

List of leaves/flowers for dessert garnishes?

Other edible flowers that are easy to grow and taste sweet include honeysuckle, nasturtium and clover. Nasturtium in particular is happy in a pot on a sunny window sill.

Some of the wholesale fruit and produce vendors in the Central Market sell a good selection of edible orchids, roses and other edible flowers. They will sell to retail customers, but you need to buy them in bulk / by the box (like Costco).

Michelin-starred chefs delegation in Montreal / Le Piment Rouge

Le Piment Rouge has a group of Michelin-starred chefs from various countries doing a culinary exchange with them, including Jacques Borie (Michelin three-stars and Iron Chef Japan). They posted info on their facebook page at

Does anyone know more about this? Are there tasting events that will be open to the public? And are they visiting other restaurants in Montreal or just Piment Rouge?

Best Steak Place In Montreal

Do they still use real charcoal?

Best Steak Place In Montreal

For an inexpensive steak, Schwartz’s is not bad at all. Love their antique charcoal grill. Also, like the little side of liver and sausage that comes with it.

Le Piment Rouge - review + pics

Nice review! Always enjoy going to Piment Rouge – high quality food and great selection of wines. They were also named one of the top ten Chinese restaurants in the world by China Air flight magazine.

Anyone been to Birks cafe?

Also went to Birks cafe recently. Agree with wilmagrace's overall opinions - good food, small portions, good service. IMO, a little expensive for the portion sizes, but you are in Birks downtown and the Europea name is attached to it. I had the lamb with pear chutney and my lunch guest had the duck rice noodle salad. The lamb was excellent - perfectly seasoned. The salad was tasty and nicely presented, but my lunch guest expected more than the basic Asian flavours and seasonings (wasabi, sesame seed).

Le Piment Rouge culinary demonstration at Nuit Blanche / High Lights Festival

On Saturday night as part of the Highlights festival, there is also a wine tasting dinner at DNA with a menu inspired by Quebec women chefs on Saturday night.

Festival Montreal en Lumiere 2011

Friends have booked a group of us at the Anita Lo / Annisa event visiting at Koko Restaurant. She is a remarkable chef who cooks contemporary cuisine with French culinary methods. Her restaurant has been highly rated by the New York Times. I saw her cook on one of the Iron Chef episodes and was very impressed.

Yummy Mid-High Range Restos?

Are you open to eating late night (after 10pm)? You can eat at the high end for mid-range prices! If I remember correctly, Milos has a $25 late night special fofr 3 courses - good fish. Here is a compilation of posts by others on late night deals:

Dim Sum (Yum Cha) for Chinese New Year's Suggestions

Chez Chine is still pretty good compared to other dim sum options in Montreal, but was much better years ago. They have switched to no pushcarts, so you have an order sheet instead. EaterBob is correct that it's a nice place and classier than the others (Tong Por, Kam Fung, Ruby Rouge), but you will also pay a little more too... also much less crowded.

Reviews : Joe Beef & Decca 77.

Both are great restaurants, but the $35 prix fixe at Decca is a bargain! Nice place to go before a hockey game!

Dinner on December 24th and 25th

Porker, a lot has changed this year with Piment Rouge’s renovation, new chefs, new menu etc. I think it's a great choice for a holiday dinner. I eat there several times a month because I work in the building next door. I agree with moh that the food is very good, nicely prepared, elegant service etc… but, they also recently introduced a lot of excellent new items especially on their seasonal tasting menu, so IMO I don’t think they are conservative. I flew China Airlines recently and their in-flight magazine named Piment Rouge one of the top ten Chinese restaurants in the world, and if I remember correctly, the only Canadian restaurant on that list. Also, here’s the link to the Le Devoir article:

North 44

OK, I'm not going to North 44! I was there with a large group about 10 years ago and thought it was pretty good. Will check out Canoe (was there before and liked it) and Auberge du Pommier. Any other suggestions for high end but with some empahsis on Canadian/local ingredients? Some people in my group are coming to Toronto for the first time...

North 44

Will be visiting Toronto from Montreal next week. I haven't been to North 44 in many years, but a couple of my co-workers want go for a dinner. What do you recommend we try? Is it still a good restaurant by Toronto standards?

North 44
2537 Yonge St., Toronto, ON M4P 2H9, CA

Vegetarian tasting menu in Montreal?

One of the better vegan restaurants in town is Crudessence ( - two locations: downtown and rue Rachel. Good food, but not fancy - though 100% vegan!

Piment Rouge in the old Windsor hotel downtown is high-end Chinese with a seasonal tasting menu that has lots of vegetarian options. They are upscale and fancy, but most of their tasting plates are priced between $8 and $20, so you can order a la carte according to your budget. They just finished a massive renovation and their new chefs are producing some excellent food. Seasonal vegan/vegetarian items I've tried recently that I would recommend: Chinese pumpkin soup with roasted walnuts, Eggplant with yushang sauce (interesting presentation - stir fried and stuffed back in it's own skin), Tofu pouches with minced vegetables in Sa Chia sauce, and the Shanghai vegetarian rice cooked in a small clay pot. This would be a nice place for an anniversary. Their tasting menu is on their website ( as is a copy of a recent review by food critic Phillippe Molle of Le Devoir that says Piment Rouge sets high standards for other downtown Montreal restaurants to follow and named them the best Chinese restaurant in Montreal.

Anyone been to Birks cafe?

I also have not been, but Phillippe Molle also gave it a nice review in Le Devoir several weeks back. It's definitely on my list of places to try!

What happened to our Chinatown??

In it's heyday, Ruby Foo's was the height of "Chinese Jewish Montreal" and one of the places in town to see and be seen. I remember going there as a young kid coming in from the suburbs and being completely dazzled by the experience. I later learned while going to school at McGill that Ruby Foo's was owned by a Jewish family - the Shapiros and his two sons who later became chancellor / president of McGill and Princeton Universities. Ruby Foo's is still partially owned by Jewish families but also now a Chinese family (Hazel Mah of Piment Rouge) who restarted the current Ruby Foo's/Mahjongg restaurants. The current Chinese restaurant is quite good - love the retro puu pu platter and sweet garlic spareribs in addition to the more authentic Chinese food they serve.

Montreal Meals

What type of food are you looking for and what's your budget? Have you been to Montreal before?


Fiddleheads are in season! Which restaurants serve them in Montreal? How are they best prepared by these restaurants?