MONTÉE is a tiny place, seating less than 25 people, including a small second room. It was not full the night we were there but they said lunch is their busy time and they have only been open one year. It feels a bit spartan with no art, music or flowers (except one dried arrangement) and there is no signage out front on the quiet street. It is run by a husband and wife team with Japanese chef Takayuki Nameura in the kitchen and his wife in charge of the dining room. At night it is a tasting menu only which is printed in English and French on the table. They were warm and friendly, even though their English is limited, and pacing and portion control were really good.
The first snacks arrive very quickly and they include your first course of beets, celeriac and yogurt in a pretty glass. It was mild, sweet and foamy and would rate pretty good. Snacks included crisp, buttery cheese cookies that were quite good in a bowl with candied walnuts that were delicious. They were placed on some dried mushroom bits that were tasty. Another snack was a buckwheat egg crepe with mushrooms. It was dry and earthy and rate a dull.
Shrimp, fennel, coriander and citrus was next. It looked like doughy dumplings but in fact it was a foamy coating on a barely cooked shrimp. It was a dish of nice, fresh tastes but not strongly flavored. It was okay. A warm roll was served with a nice crackly crust and doughy interior. It came with no spreads but was just fine as it was.
Seared foie gras was topped with banana and served with a dab of balsamic vinaigrette. It was perfectly cooked and accented with bits of salt that were a good contrast with the sweet uncooked thin sliced banana. If I understood it was served alongside some “smoke powder” and I’m not sure what that is but it worked well with the dish. In fact all the flavors here blended perfectly to yield a very tasty dish. A winner here. A slice of thick crisp brown bread was brought out. It also had a nice doughy interior.
Cod poached in olive oil and garlic was mixed with potatoes that had been “whipped a long time.” The potato is shredded first and then combined with olive oil, fish and garlic and whipped into a delicious, explosive tasting item. A coil of sorrel was on top and a side small potato finished the course. It was a great one!
Mushrooms were served with cauliflower for the next course. The cauliflower had been made into a creamed texture with small chunks remaining. It was lightly salted and a nice balance with the mushrooms. It was a simple yet really good dish. Yum! As a note, many of dishes were served in warmed bowls which helped maintain a nice temperature for the food.
Red mullet was covered with a sauce made of crustacean shells and alongside was a spiral of zuchinni shreds. The fish was nicely cooked and its naturally strong flavor was well moderated with the sauce. An okay dish.
Roast duck was served with sprouting lentils. The duck had the nice flavor of roasted meat not liver. The lentils were sprouting but seemed mostly for texture. Apparently they get the lentils dry and water them until they sprout. Interesting concept and a good dish.
We added an optional cheese course of 36 month old comté cheese served with a fig stuffed pastry. The cheese was nutty and crumbly and full of little granules – really good. The figs were dried and totally sweet which was a great accompaniment for the cheese.
The first dessert was dried apple, cider and saffron ice cream. The apple wrapping was crispy and filled with a foam made with apple cider. It mixed well with the creamy saffron ice cream. Good.
Chocolate was a brownie like bar underneath a crispy top and surrounded by chocolate sauce. Nicely sweet and very good.
The last dessert was Oreillettes which are crispy dough covered with powdered sugar. The dough, mixed with orange, was fried and filled with lovely air pockets. The sugar made it sweet yet light. It was nice.
We finished the meal with a glass of Poire-Williams Eau de vie. It was pungent and just what I wanted and not bad at 13 euros a glass.