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Maestro S.V.P.
3615 St. Laurent Blvd.

Mon-Wed, 12 p.m. to 11 p.m., Thur-Fri 12 p.m. - midnight, Sat 4 p.m. - midnight, Sun. 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Licensed, all major credit cards. (514) 842 6447
OK. Big city, cold weather, warm welcome. Good food. Do you really want anything more? Oh yeah, oysters. And maybe a big glass of white wine and some more oysters—this time Malpeque or Belon or something unusual from the mid-Atlantic—and then some grilled squid with black beans which, prepared here, is a dish that doesn't know where it wants to go, ("Am I Chinese, am I Cajun". . . "Hey, squid—wazzup?" Identity crises? Not on my plate you don't) and then a couple of main courses.

The talapia with crab leg and the skate with sabayon were both excellent. There is always a spot on my platter for fresh fish cooked properly. The sauces here are different, but not too weird. I mean sabayon, more of a warm marsala-based custardy dessert, but it works here. The risotto and vegetables that accompanied the fish were great. I mean small squashes stuffed with a little smoked salmon. Oh yeah, great soups.

The downside is that Maestro is into vertical cooking. That means the base of the dish has the flavour and, as the food moves skyward, we get into strong design elements and forget that cooking is fundamentally about tasting good and not about showing off that your sous-chef really wanted to be an architect. Buckminster Fuller meets Paul Bocuse, I guess, but that's a quibble.

For dessert, the chocolate mousse beats out the tiramisu. Me? I'll go back for the oysters and a bottle of Wolf Blass and be a happy man.—
Reviewed by Barry Lazar

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