It wasn’t an easy feat, but the team behind Plateau’s burned down Sel Gras Restaurant has re-opened its doors. If you didn’t hear, a nasty arson attack took this beautiful gem just within a week of it’s opening last year and we have been anxiously anticipating its comeback. If you haven’t been yet, Sel Gras is as cozy and full of love as it gets. The team behind it helped them rebuild and re-energize this lovely Mediterranean resto on its own. We caught up with Matthieu Arteau, one of the co-owners, to talk about starting over, inspiration and of course the menu…
You guys recently re-opened after the fire, was there any anxiety about re-opening for a second time?
I think we were so focused and concentrated on re-opening that we didn’t have time for nerves! We really pushed our entire team very hard to make sure we re-opened as quickly as possible. It was imperative for us to get back into the groove of things and work. It wasn’t easy and there was a lot of sweat and tears, but we made it as a team.
What’s different this time around?
Always trying to see the silver lining in things; essentially everything has remained quite the same. What is different is the little details that you are forced to live with the first time around. For example, the bar colour that wasn’t perfect, the light fixture placed a little more centered over the tables, door stoppers and so on. We got to improve on an already existent project… a six-day-old one, but nonetheless we were able to make the little things even better.
Where did you draw inspiration from when it came to the design itself?
For the design, like a lot of other things, the words REFINED COMFORT have been key. We really wanted to find the balance between the new and the old, the wood and the metal, the fancy and the less fancy. We wanted to have a clean-cut restaurant that could please a wide variety of people. We want everyone who comes to feel at ease and welcomed as much in the decor as in the food, and of course the service! We chose basic key elements like metal, glass, wood and ceramic to keep the look organic but fundamental with a sleek and clean feel.
What about the menu?
The menu is posted on our Facebook page, which we welcome everyone to go and review. Our chef is Portuguese and a proud one at that, so obviously there are subtle tendencies that surface, but all in all we are a terroire restaurant with a nice Mediterranean influence. We like the basic ingredients of that type of cuisine. Please note that we don’t serve olives in a bowl – it is really just an influence and inspiration. We are all about taste and flavour; it simply needs to taste good, in fact it needs to taste GREAT! We are also going to have a steady flow of delicious oysters available seven days a week starting next week.
Any star dishes that you want to share with us?
Star dishes I would have to say are the tuna tartar, merguez, black cod and the pork cheeks. I find they fully represent our restaurant and our essence. We already have people coming back for the cod and tuna dishes! The tartar and pork cheeks are the two dishes chosen for the taping on Thursday morning with a dessert.
What can one expect from a night at Sel Gras?
When you come to Sel Gras, please expect that we are going to do everything to make you want to come back. In all honesty, we are really defined by the words I mentioned before: REFINED COMFORT. I want people from all walks to come and feel at home. We have a beautiful wine list and set the decor up to make you want stay. With the best possible service we can offer, people can come and hang out at the bar over a nice appetizer and oysters or even sit at a table and be whisked into a five-course meal and try our delicious selections of digestives. All in all, I simply want people to leave with a smile, a full belly, and the name Sel Gras on the tip of their tongues!
For location and reservations, visit Sel Gras on their Facebook page.
#LYNL | Live Your Notable Life
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