Two bells for Coeur, the Bella Vista Montreal-inspired bistro

In the fall, the team behind Memphis Taproom, Local 44 and the newly-opened Clarkville opened a Montreal-inspired bistro called Coeur at 824 S. 8th St. that they hoped to become a neighborhood destination.


This new restaurant in the former Mildred space has now received a two bell, “very good” review from Craig Laban. So what are the strengths and weaknesses of this Bella Vista restaurant and bar?

While there are many dishes worth trying, Laban points out some “quibbles” throughout his review. There were a few dishes, including the tasting plate, that were “flawed or uninspired,” but others garnered his attention. Coeur has one of the “best poutines I’ve tasted south of Québec,” along with a brisket sandwich that had “the best pastrami-esque meats I’ve had in town in recent memory.”

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But Tessier delivered far more hits than misses, including one of the best poutines I’ve tasted south of Québec: a crispy nest of shoestring frites tangled with oozy chunks of cheddar curds splashed in rich veal gravy. A grilled tarte flambée flatbread brought the contrast of sweet apples and caramelized onions beneath the bitter crunch of Treviso. The deep-brown nuggets of crisply fried pork fritters, dabbed with creamy parsnip puree and sweet nubs of fennel jam, are one of the best ways I know to eat a pig’s head.

Coeur’s kitchen also scored a number of worthy entrée plates. Perfectly sautéed turbot showed a nice light touch over melty tubes of gnocchi parisienne and a lemony butter sauce. A boneless rabbit “porchetta” stuffed with pork sausage showed more charcuterie-skill gusto that I enjoyed, even if it would have been better with more emphasis on the rabbit than the pork. A plate of two-toned gnocchi made from white and purple potatoes came glazed in an indulgently truffled cream sauce showered with more shaved truffles (black Burgundy currently) than I’d ever expect at $18.

In regards to the atmosphere of Coeur, the restaurant has an accessible and casual vibe, but can get incredibly loud, as Laban notes that it reached as high as 98 decibels on his visit.

Have you tried Coeur? What are your thoughts?