Every Friday night, it almost feels like the best of Europe in Old Montreal, specifically at one of the city’s Leading Hotels of the World, Hotel le St-James. To eat at their XO restaurant is truly an experience of its own. The rich atmosphere becomes that much more amazing thanks to a quartet playing live jazz.
Gentiane Mg (pianist) and friends play exceptionally well with agility and brio. They are always tight and truly stunning. (Believe me: I studied jazz piano at U. de Montréal, so when it comes to jazz, I am demanding.) Such talent, and such great food, cocktails and wines.
I started with a cocktail (all of them are house creations), the St-James tonic — very fresh with high quality ingredients including Piper Henricus gin. I also tried great white wines , fittingly paired with salmon tartare and the salmon poke. The ingredients were so fresh — what more can we ask for? Above that the service was exceptional, from the barmaid to the sommelier and the servers. One more little detail: you can talk without shouting, a plus when you want to relax. Strongly recommended. ■
XO Jazz every Friday at Hotel le St. James’s XO Restaurant (355 St-Jacques), 7 p.m., free entry