Brownstein: Beloved L’Orchidée is reborn but spareribs stay the same
There was much moaning and gnashing of teeth when the landmark L’Orchidée de Chine closed a little over a year ago after more than three decades on Peel street.
Oh joy! Oh bliss! The best dry garlic spareribs in Montreal and, according to some aficionados, the greatest in this galaxy are back and ready to be devoured.
There was much moaning and gnashing of teeth when the landmark L’Orchidée de Chine closed a little over a year ago after more than three decades on Peel St. Among other mouth-watering Cantonese and Szechuan offerings, L’Orchidée was renowned for its famed spareribs, the secret recipe for which had been perfectly replicated by waiter-turned-restaurateur George Lau from the original creation that came from the owners of the long-defunct but, in its day, uber-posh Ruby Foo’s on Décarie Blvd. And try as others have, no one else had really come close in matching those spareribs.
Well, the good news is that what was once L’Orchidée has risen up again, with a new name, 31° Latitude, and a new location, St-Laurent Blvd., but with pretty much the same team and same fare as before. It opened quietly Jan. 10.
The main difference is that George Lau, L’Orchidée’s driving force over the years, has retired from the biz to travel. But his sister Eva Lau, who co-ran and co-owned L’Orchidée, is now at the helm of 31° Latitude along with former L’Orchidée manager Joe Zhou. Also back are the chefs and wait staff. The setting, formerly home to the equally acclaimed the Italian Il Sole and later the Japanese Izakaya Kabocha, seats 70, about 30 less than L’Orchidée, but it more than compensates on the intimacy and ambience fronts with a decidedly cozy yet rather chic design.
Apart from the food, what’s particularly encouraging about this development is that it is a reversal of what has been happening on the downtown restaurant scene. It has, unfortunately, become all too familiar for Montrealers to learn about the closing of yet one more longtime favourite dining spot.
Source: The Gazette