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XO: Dull expensive overmanipulated food

Rather Cocagne, not Cocaigne. Fabulous nonetheless.

XO: Dull expensive overmanipulated food

Shockingly poor dinner Tuesday night. The Florida Shrimp - melon, smoked paprika, orange, pumpkin seeds, was stale and dull. The shrimp tasted and felt overcooked and appeared to have been prepared ahead. The complements didn't complement. My Foie Gras - seared brioche, compressed pear, arugula jel, pear vinaigrette, pine nuts, kaffir lime, rosemary was a little better but still felt disjointed, lacking in coherence and focus.

The main courses were scarecely better. The Pheasant - celery root, onion purée, almond, creamy polenta, honey was over manipulated and verging on cold. The central puree just felt mucky and the bite sized pheasant bites lacked succulance. While acceptable, the Venison - tamarind, rutabaga, anasazi beans, carrot, coffee, hoisin, bitter chocolate was a mess. the venison felt dried out, the beans were chalky and the sauce was cloyingly sweet.

After that and after having dropped nearly $160 bucks, we made a dash for the door and went to Holder for wonderful unpretentious, reasonably priced deserts. Hard to compare with the spectacular meal we had at Cocaigne on Sunday night. There, the venison was fragrant and lively, the pintade crispy on the outside and complemented beautifully by the wild mushrooms, the matane shimp cocktail fresh and sparkling, and the wild mushroom tart with poached egg utterly divine.

I don't get it. What do people see in XO other than the room and excellent service?

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XO Le Restaurant
355, Saint -Jacques street, Montreal, QC H2Y 1N9, CA