High-end business dinner
I have to organize a high-end business dinner for about 30 people, mostly from the U.S. and Europe. We would prefer a private room, or at least a sectioned area within the restaurant. Innovative cuisine is preferred, but an extensive wine list is a must.
How about Les Caprices de Nicolas on Drummond Street between Sherbrooke and de Maisonneuve? The cooking is modern French, not quite as eclectic or cutting-edge as Toqué!'s but innovative and very refined. The wine list is pretty impressive, better than Toqué!'s or L'Épicier's, though the mark-ups can be brutal. The restaurant is divided into three rooms, one of which is frequently reserved for private parties. You'd have to contact them about capacity, but I'd guess it could handle 30. Prices are definitely high-end.
Café Ferreira Trattoria, the swank Portuguese bistro on Peel above Ste-Catherine, has a "salle corporative" that can handle groups from 20 to 60. For all I know, they might also be willing to reserve the back part of the restaurant proper--it's on a slightly higher level and looks to be smaller and more intimate than the bustling front, where I've always sat. The cooking is haute Portuguese, the wine list is full of obscure Portuguese wines (some of them very good) and the Port list is said to be the broadest and deepest in North America. You might give them a call (514 848-0988) or check out their graphic intensive, French-only website, which includes menus and the wine and Port lists, at http://www.ferreiracafe.com/
Depending on the evening and time of year (i.e. not the Friday before Christmas), you might consider reserving one of the city's many small restaurants for the night. I know this has been done at Le Club des Pins. The highly innovative La Chronique might be open to the idea. Anise's website (http://www.anise.ca/) says you can reserve the place for groups of 16 or more on Sundays and Mondays, when they're normally closed (they also have a private room but it can only handle 20). Of the three, Chronique's wine list is the most impressive (though not if you're looking for trophy bottles) and Club des Pins' is more than servicable. A bit more out of the way, Restaurant Christophe on Van Horne in Outremont (see the thread posted on 8/26/02 for a description) looks like it can seat about 35; having yet to eat there, I can't say what the wine list is like. Trendy Cube in Old Montreal is also open to this kind of thing (I haven't been there either, so I can't vouch for either the food or the "cadre").
High-end, innovative and big enough to confortably fit a group of 30 people. With these requirements in mind, Toqué! and Chez l'épicier immediately come to mind. In terms of quality, you can`t go wrong with those two as evidenced by all the postings on this board. Both places have an aisle that is appropriate for such groups. With respect to wine, I am no "connaisseur" but while Chez l'Épicier has a decent list, Toqué! seems, from what I have heard, to contain more gems. One would not expect less from what is arguably the best restaurant in the city.
(note to carswell: I got your email and I intended to reply but I accidently lost it. If you can write again, I would be happy to reply.)