(Brooklyn) For several hours, which passed at lightning speed, seven dishes followed one another in perfect progression. Some featured local ingredients, such as wild Gaspésie products, honey from Anicet, raw spices and, of course, maple in many forms. Others allowed us to bite into the spring vegetables finally emerging from the ground: asparagus, wild garlic, rhubarb.
And no, of course, it was not seven sweet services. After years of delivering high-end sweets to his (now closed) location in Little Burgundy, chef Patrice Demers is making a comeback with savory cuisine.
For months, while Marie-Josée Beaudoin was helping to open the Annette wine bar in Rosemont, Patrice Demers was testing in his kitchen. “We invited a lot of friends over for dinner during the winter,” says the sommelier. Our dinners were a lot fancier than usual! There was even a kind of dress rehearsal at the Candide in Montreal in April.
Nevertheless, on Tuesday evening, you could feel the chef’s pastry touch everywhere, in the divine cheese donuts for the appetizer, for example.
The suite, made up of haskap puree, beetroot ice cream and goat cheese mousse, was a surprising pre-dessert, with its ingredients normally treated as savory. Dessert was an exceptional glazed pistachio nougat layered over stewed rhubarb, with a final touch of fresh herb infused cream. As a treat, a mini version of the famous buckwheat and maple financier from Patrice Pâtissier.
Fulgurances Laundromat’s wine list is extensive. Marie-Josée Beaudoin started studying it a few weeks ago, but still has to memorize several references. This did not prevent her from offering very beautiful things to drink. We started on familiar ground, with a pinch of Pinard et filles and the invigorating Chardonnay from L’Espiègle, two estates in the Eastern Townships.
The sommelier is delighted with the simplicity with which a restaurant can have access to wine in this free market. “You just have to look at the portfolios and if you order your wine before 2 p.m., you get it delivered the next day. It doesn’t even have to be a lot of crates. »
Since the closure of their pastry shop at the end of last summer, Patrice Demers and Marie-Josée Beaudoin have taken full advantage of their freedom and fulfilled a few dreams along the way, including that of doing catering in New York.
It took almost a year for the project to materialize. In June, Patrice and Marie-Josée booked incognito at Fulgurances for a meal by Basque chef Inaki Bolumburu. “After 10 minutes, we knew we wanted to contact them to offer them a residence,” says Marie-Josée, when we spend some time together on Monday afternoon.
Patrice is setting up for the big day. He chatters away as he whips up a buckwheat mixture, “hazelnuts” butter and infuses a cream of sweet-smelling fresh herbs.
“The way it works is you come and do a pop-up party and if it clicks, there will be a sequel,” says Patrice. On November 14, 2022, the Montrealer and the permanent chef of the Fulgurances, Francisco Pedemonte, got along particularly well. “When we came out of the restaurant, I said, ‘I’m going to scream,'” recalls Marie-Josée. My boyfriend asked me to wait until I was around the corner! »
Hugo Hivernat, co-founder of Fulgurances in Paris and head of the New York branch, explains the concept. “Here is not an Airbnb where the chefs-in-residence have to fend for themselves. We have a kitchen and service team. We like to say that everything is always stable and the same with us… except the kitchen! »
Fulgurances started in 2010, in Paris, with events titled “The seconds are the first”, where the sous-chefs of great European tables like Noma, Maison Troisgrois, In de Wulf, Osteria Francescana, Mugaritz, etc. , took center stage for a meal. The concept quickly grew to become three restaurants, a wine bar, a magazine and an agency!
We know that independent catering is not rich. And although the conditions offered by Fulgurances — apartment provided, competent and organized team, etc. — are already very good, a residence like that of Patrice and Marie-Josée in Brooklyn can still generate costs for the participants. The travel, the many recipe tests done in Montreal and many other costs end up piling up.
So the couple did not hesitate to ask for help from the Montreal Office of Gastronomy (OMG), which had made calls for projects last summer. He supported them in November 2022 for the “audition” meal and also this spring. It is one of the missions of the Office to promote Montreal gastronomy abroad.
“I think it’s great that the OMG is interested in cool little projects rather than big commercial stuff,” says Patrice Demers. Their “cool little project” to his wife and him is also an evolving affair. In two months, the kitchen will see a large number of seasonal ingredients and Marie-Josée will be able to happily draw from the cellar. The know-how of the Quebec couple will have time to express itself.
But what excites the sommelier the most right now is much more prosaic: “I can’t wait to do my first grocery shopping, as if I’m living here forever!” But don’t worry, the darlings of the metropolis will return to Montreal. They won’t be opening a new patisserie, but another, “less fixed” establishment that will allow them to maintain the freedom they are so happy to taste these days.
Patrice Demers and Marie-Josée Beaudoin have always made gourmet stays in the Big Apple to recharge their batteries. Here are some of their favorite addresses.
“When you really want to spoil yourself, our favorite restaurant in NYC is Atomix,” reveals Patrice. We went there three times. It is obviously very expensive, but every time they manage to exceed our expectations. The place is magnificent, the service is exceptional and the contemporary cuisine with strong Korean influences is stunning. They have another ready-made restaurant, Atoboy, which we plan to try this spring. It’s much cheaper and it seems to be great. The group also opened the Naro, in the Rockefeller Center, where Patrice and Marie-Josée enjoyed the food, but less the setting, reminiscent of the “shopping center”! At the Atomix, expect to pay US$375 per person before wine.
“Our favorite Italian restaurant in New York is Via Carota,” says Patrice. It’s hard to get a reservation. Few tables are offered on Resy, to save places without reservation. Lunch is less crazy, but otherwise, you have to go there early in the evening, leave your name and phone number for the waiting list and go have an aperitif elsewhere like at their super ready-made bar, the Pisellino . »
Who says New York says discoveries. The most recent made by the couple is Ernesto’s. “We loved this restaurant last month, which offers cuisine from the Basque Country and a great wine selection. It is a place with a lot of atmosphere. We had chosen the chef’s counter, a small dining room at the back, facing the kitchen,” recalls Patrice.
“I can’t wait to get back to Superiority Burger since they moved,” notes the chef. I was a big fan of Chef Brooks Headley’s desserts when he was a pastry chef at Del Posto. His veggie burger was already great and his gelati pretty amazing. »
“For a great aperitif and an incredible view of the city, Manhatta is pretty hard to beat. The restaurant is located on the 60th floor and you can stick to the bar,” suggests Patrice.
Obviously, the duo’s address book ends with a sweet address! “For coffee and pastries, I really like La Cabra, which comes from Denmark,” says Patrice. We also tested Librae last time and we really liked it. “The pain au chocolat at Lodi, in Rockefeller Center, is one of the best we’ve ever had, adds Marie-Josée, but you have to be prepared to pay for it: $9! »