Archive | Food RSS feed for this section

Beba

21 Aug

While I call Pointe-St-Charles home, I am lucky enough to be close by from Verdun and the booming restaurant scene that is developing along Wellington street. As that neighbourhood has changed and developed, we have seen more and more interesting restaurants establish roots in the area that have some great pedigrees. Most recently, we have the case of Beba, a restaurant on Ethel – just off Wellington – that was started by the Schor brothers, Pablo and Chef Ari, who have some great bonafides including the fact that Chef Ari was Chef de Cuisine at Liverpool House prior to opening this restaurant. With a pedigree like this, I couldn’t wait to walk over and see what they had in store for us so I called my sister who lives in Verdun and she joined my wife and I for a nice evening dinner.

Beba has the look of a real neighbourhood bistro. The interior is very clean with simple modern touches such as the marble countertop bar, the circular mirrors along the wall and leather mid-century style banquettes. There is also a garage door on the side which allows to really open up the space in the summer. They also have a nice little terrasse in the front which faces Ethel street which makes it very calm and relaxing as a spot. The weather was so beautiful that night that we got a chance to sit outside for our meal – perfect conditions to enjoy a hopefully great meal.

Beba advertises itself as serving ‘food and drink inspired by the Spanish and Italian cultures that settled in Argentina’ which is an interesting premise and a big difference from the Liverpool House fare that people know chef Schor for but one that reflect he and his brother’s Argentinian heritage. The three of us decided to share a bunch of different items from the menu. The menu is apparently adjusted frequently so it is subject to change.

First up, we had the beef and olive empanada. A classic Argentine item – a nice flaky crunch to the pastry shell and the interior filing was quite flavourful. More beer in flavour than olive which I appreciated immensely.

Next was the Swiss chard involtini with zucchini, pine nuts and yogourt. An interesting presentation and usage of Swiss chard. Very flavourful dish – I enjoyed the freshness of the veggies and how that paired with the creaminess of the yogourt.

Our final starter was the green salad served with egg, summer vegetables and grana padano. A very simple dish in presentation but a perfect usage of the seasonable veggies available,. This was a beautifully fresh salad with a nice balance of acidity, sweetness and some richness. I rarely order a green salad at a restaurant but this one was well worth it.

We moved to the ‘bigger’ dishes of the night and started the gnudi with tomato butter and pecorino. This was the biggest hit of the night. The gnudi were light and fluffy in texture with a lovely creamy rich flavour. The tomato butter was insane – so smooth and rich of flavour. The pecorino provided some bite to the dish. We lapped this up and I would go back to Beba just for this dish.

Next was the eggplant served with a lamb ragu and peas. I really enjoyed this dish – the star is the hearty lamb ragu which had tons of that gamey richness that I love about lamb. The eggplant was good but somewhat hidden by the strong notes of the ragu. The peas provided some crispness and the little sauce a little acidity and brightness to the plate. A solid dish all around.

Our final dish was the rabbit ‘pan con tomate’ served with an aioli and a mussel escabeche. I loved the different usage of the classic spanish ‘pan con tomate’ dish to serve the rabbit. The garlicky aioli with the tomatoes, the mussels and the rabbit paired very nicely together. The rabbit itself was excellent – the one complaint is more of the presentation one. By having the rabbit pieces still on the bones, it made it more of the hassle to enjoy the rabbit with the tomato bread itself which meant that the dish was eaten more in two parts then all together. The flavours were excellent outside of that minor complaint.

All in all, Beba was an excellent experience from beginning to end and is a welcomed neighbourhood spot close to home. The dishes were delicious. The service was sharp and friendly; and the atmosphere was a perfect combination of hip energy with a relaxed neighbourhood haunt vibe. Chef Schor and his brother have a really interesting thing going very quickly. I look forward to more walks over for some good meals and hope you shall all join me.

Cheers!

Beba
3900 Éthel
514 750 7087

Advertisements

Les Street Monkeys

6 Jul

We have reached July which means we have reached time to celebrate my birthday. As I have gotten older, I have gone away from a party to celebrate. I prefer just a nice dinner with friends either home or at the restaurant. The challenge, as always, is to find somewhere that works for a group – where we can easily share and where the cost to my friends is reasonable. I hate forcing my friends to splurge at my expense. Well, for this year, I decided to stay close to home in Verdun to try our hand at some Cambodian cuisine at Les Street Monkeys.

The menu is described as Cambodian-style street food. The portions are small and designed to share. The menu is mostly Cambodian but they do venture in cuisine from other south-east Asian countries. As a party of 5, we decided to grab a bunch of stuff to try. First up, we ordered their pork and taro fried imperial rolls. Solid rolls – a nice crunch on the outside. Inside, the filling was plentiful and very flavourful.

Next, we had the shrimp ceviche marinated in a lime, fish sauce and wasabi dressing. The waiter warned us the dish was quite strong in wasabi and wow was it ever! It hits you right in the nose once you take your first bite. If you can handle the heat, the dish is excellent. The shrimp is very tender and the addition of the radishes and the scallions provided some lightness and crunch.

We couldn’t say no to a traditional papaya salad but sadly it wasn’t a big hit. Texture was nice and had tons of sweetness and acidity but it lacked some punch in terms of the heat. Most of us agreed that Satay Brothers’ version is better.

Our next dish faired better. The Khmer style fried chicken drums – fried chicken with a shrimp paste, kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass and garlic sauce – were excellent. Great crunch but the chicken remained moist and tender inside. The sauce stuck nicely on the drumsticks and provided a nice garlicky punch.

The positives continued with the eggplant salad – grilled eggplant tossed with a dressing made of lime, fish sauce, rice powder, dried chili, mint, Thai basil and cilantro. The eggplant was nice and soft and the dressing was super flavourful – packing a punch both umami and sweet. Everyone really enjoyed this one.

The Mee Siam – fried rice vermicelli with a soya and crab paste sauce mixed with red peppers, chives, onions and bean sprouts – was solid and a nice compliment side dish to the rest. The fried rice had a nice little crunch to it that you want.

I am a big fan of bone marrow so when I saw the Phnom Penh bone marrow dish, I had to order it. Bone marrow with butter, hoisin sauce, kampot pepper, fried garlic, marinated onion and coriander leaves served with bone broth and vanilla Chinese fried bread. Nice flavour again to the dish – a good balance of sweetness and heat. The vanilla bread was surprising as well for now well it fit with the bone marrow. The only negative was the lack of much marrow on the bones – would have loved to see more there portion wise.

The biggest hit of the night was the Amok fish – lightly breaded cod with a red curry sauce with coconut milk, red peppers and fried taro strings. The fish was super flaky and tender and that sauce was excellent. Tons of flavour to pair with the fish. The dish lasted all of a few minutes on the table.

Our final plate was the stuffed chicken wings – boneless wings stuffed with thai sausage and brushed with turmeric, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass sauce. The sausage stuffing had some heat and stayed tender within the chicken wing. The lemongrass sauce brought some acidity which paired well here. Excellent dish.

Les Street Monkeys was the perfect spot for a group dinner. Everything was easy to share, very flavourful across the board and very reasonably priced. Food-wise, it cost us about 35$ each to cover everything we ate. That is a great deal for the quality of food we got. Cambodian-style cuisine is not something that is present readily in Montreal but I am happy we got to try it and that it is so close to my place if a craving ever hits!

Cheers!

Les Street Monkeys
3625 Rue Wellington
514 768 1818

Les Street Monkeys Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nashville 2019 – Rolf and Daughters

1 Jul

Coming back from Memphis, we had another night free for a dinner. Given our success with my pick of Husk the night before, I was given carte blanche to pick a different spot to try. Looking at all of the great restaurants that Nashville has to offer (which are quite a few), I decided to go with something outside of the ‘typical’ Southern fare but a current staple of the Nashville food scene, Chef Philip Krajeck’s Rolf and Daughters.

Located in a former boiling house at the Werthan Factory in the Germantown neighbourhood, Rolf and Daughters put Chef Krajeck on the map in Nashville and he has become a multiple winner of the James Beard award since. The restaurant is known for its mediterranean inspired cuisine using local Tennessee ingredients and producers. Chef Krajeck’s homemade pastas are particularly noteworthy apparently.

The space is a beautiful mix of industrial and modern touches. Being the late service on a weekday, the restaurant wasn’t too crowded. I will give tons of credit to our waiter – he was sharp, on-point and bitterly funny and dry with a sort of midwest/Minnesota nice accent that we throughly enjoyed all night. His cocktails choice were also excellent – I loved how all the house cocktails were named for school things. A quirky but fun detail.

Now, onto the food. We were quite hungry so we covered lots of ground menu wise. The house-made loaf of sourdough bread served with seaweed butter was excellent – great crust on the outside with a soft yeast interior.

The salad of red beet, kohlrabi, dill and smoked roe was great. The red beets were super sweet and tender. The dill and roe provided some freshness and bite to the dish as well.

The dry aged beef tartare mixed with black garlic and sprouted lentils was unique for us for the use of the lentils in the tartare. It provided an interesting textural component to the dish. The beef had a great deep rich flavour and the black garlic provided a nice kick as well.

Our final appetizer featured something I had never heard of before: agretti. This small Italian-in-origin herb tastes somewhat like spanish and was served to us slightly cooked down mixed with golden raisin, chili and anchovies. This dish was quite something – a wonderful mix of sweetness, spiciness, richness and freshness. Something I never would have considered simply by reading the menu but very happy that I got our waiter to explain it to us. My favourite dish of the first part of the meal.

Given Chef Krajeck is known for his pastas, of course, we ordered a couple of his staples within our main courses. First was the cecamariti served using cultured butter and black pepper like a cacio e pepe dish. The pasta was super tender but wow that sauce…. it tastes like one of the best cacio e pepe sauces I’ve ever had but there is zero cheese. It is all the cultured butter. It has the creamy richness with the bite of the pepper you want. So so good.

The second pasta we tried was the garganelli verde served with a heritage pork ragout and sarvecchio parmesan. Again, the pasta itself was excellent texture wise and the ragout was superb – very rich and hearty. It is funny that some of the best dishes I’ve had were in Nashville but hey props to them for nailing these dishes so well.

Our last main ventured away from pasta as we tried the pastured chicken served with preserved lemon and garlic confit. The chicken was super tender and moist. The combination of the lemon, garlic, butter and tarragon provided a nice bright and rich pairing with the chicken. Very well executed.

After all of that we still wanted some dessert so we split 3 of their 4 offerings. First up, the one that we enjoyed but that wasn’t as impacted as the others – the Japanese cheesecake with pine put, strawberries and sorrel. Beautiful presentation, the flavour was fine but we didn’t love the texture – a little too ‘dry’ for our liking.

The next two though….. first, the sourdough ice cream topped with huckleberries and chocolate. Yeah sourdough ice cream sounds weird but man it worked so well. Very cool yeast flavour came through within the ice cream. Chocolate and berry topping always works well with ice cream so that was a perfect adjunct to the dish.

The last dessert was even crazier – a rhubarb granita served with a sake mousse, mint sorbet and almond. The real star here was the mousse – so light and fluffy with the unmistakable notes of sake. Our waiter described it as a cloud and yeah that’s right. It complemented well the freshness of the mint sorbet and the sourness of the rhubarb. Excellent finish to our meal.

Rolf and Daughters has high praise around Nashville and I can see why. Excellent service, beautiful space and food that really surprises and delights whose are open to try some different stuff. The 3 of us left full and very happy to have made our way out to Germantown to experience something a little different than what we had planned for when we decided to visit Nashville. This was an excellent experience and definitely worth a stop. In the end, it is the meal I will remember most of our time in Nashville.

Cheers!

Rolf and Daughters
700 Taylor Street
Nashville, TN
615 866 9897

Rolf and Daughters Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Épicerie Pumpui

15 May

One wouldn’t exactly expect to head up to Little Italy for some good Thai food but that is exactly where I found myself over the last few weekends – being drawn to St-Zotique street by the call of curry and chicken wings. Épicerie Pumpui is a ‘lan khao gangs’ – a combination curry shop and grocery store that is common in Thailand but mostly nonexistent in North America and certainly here in Montreal. Chef Jesse Mulder – who had run Thai delivery service Chak Wow prior to opening this brick and mortar spot – and his partners opened up Pumpui a little less than 2 years ago.

The space is very casual in style – with about 12 seats in-house and ordering at the counter. The small grocery section sells a variety of Thai ingredients and items. The menu is relatively small – 5 ready to serve options and then another 5 or 6 a la carte items. The menu consists mostly of curries and more obscure dishes for a North American audience as well as a few other ‘classic’ dishes like Pad Thai and green curry.

First off, I went with the fried chicken wings with sweet chili sauce. Pumpui has developed a reputation for these and yeah I can see why. These were amazing – super crunchy skin, very tender inside and a nice sweet heat coating them. I just needed more!

After the wings, I decided to try the Curry Hunglay – a Burmese pork belly, shallot and ginger curry. Had never heard of this dish until I saw it on the menu and enjoyed it tremendously. Very generous portion overall. The curry was mildly spiced which suited my relatively weak spice palette. A nice combination of richness, sweetness and spice. The pork belly was super tender as were the shallots which was a different way for me to enjoy them. An excellent discovery for me.

On my second visit, I started with a Hibiscus mint iced tea which was very bright and refreshing.

I then decided on the Asii Pian – a dry curry of chicken, thai eggplant, tomatoes, lemongrass and galangal from the Shan region. I had never heard of galangal which is more citrus and piney version of ginger. Very different flavour which came through strongly with the sharp lemongrass notes. Again, like the previous curry, tons of flavour and a very hardy portion. Another hit for me.

Given how the majority of true Thai restaurant in the city are more formal affairs, it is great to have such a great Thai counter service to get great flavourful and more unique curry for a quick lunch, takeout or dinner. I know it seems weird to head to Little Italy for Thai cuisine but believe me, it is well worth it.

Cheers!

Épicerie Pumpui
83 Rue Saint-Zotique E
514 379 3024

Épicerie Pumpui Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

TRAN Cantine Vietnamienne

8 May

The joys of the Montreal food scene is when you get a ‘weird’ craving, you can actually easily find a spot to satisfy said craving. We are blessed with so many options and variety in our fair city. A couple of weeks ago, I got a craving for pho. Maybe it was the colder than usual weather. Maybe it was just because it had been too long since my last bowl. Either way, I wanted some pho. Luckily for me, there is actually a pho place close to my house which I hadn’t tried yet so what a perfect time to head over to St-Henri and check out TRAN Cantine Vietnamienne.

Cantine TRAN is located on the corner of Notre Dame and De Courcelle – just on the edge of the ridiculous food strip that is Notre Dame street in St-Henri. The place is simple in decor – other than the huge fish tank by the washrooms. The space is very bright through the lighting both artificial and natural from the large windows in front. Seating is for about 15-20 people. There is also delivery service through UberEats or takeout if you wish which it what I went for.

The menu is a variety of classic Vietnamese dishes. First up, a couple of different roll options. Their spring roll of chicken, shrimp, vermicelli, mint and cilantro served with peanut sauce was very bright and fresh. A classic starter roll. The peanut sauce had a nice sweet flavour which paired well with the roll. The imperial rolls – pork, mushroom, onion, carrot and vermicelli deep-fried – were okay. Good crunch but they didn’t really pop flavour wise.

Being a Vietnamese shop, of course they also have Banh Mi sandwiches on the menu so I needed to try one as well. Served in a fresh baguette with pickled carrots and daikon radishes, cucumber, scallions, soy sauce, cilantro and housemate mayo, TRAN offers a choice of chicken, pork, beef or soybean curd in their sandwiches. I went with grilled chicken on this occasion and it was amazing. Probably the best Banh Mi I have had in town – excellent bread with a perfect combination of acidity, sweetness and freshness. Very very good.

And finally we have the pho – the actual source of my craving. TRAN offers the option of either beef flanc, rare beef, chicken or soybean curd. It is a chicken based broth served with fresh rice noodles, onion, cilantro, scallions and fresh chilis, basil and bean sprouts on the side. This was exactly what I was looking for. Super flavourful and clean broth, nice tender noodles and an excellent portion. It is amazing that I can get such good pho so close to home.

TRAN is an excellent spot for great Vietnamese food. Whether for a sandwich or some pho, I think you will be very happy with your experience. St-Henri continues to be a great food haven for the Sud-Ouest part of Montreal and I, for one, am very happy for that. Now on to the next craving 😉

Cheers!

TRAN Cantine Vietnamienne
4690 Rue Notre-Dame O
514 379 4690

TRAN Cantine Vietnamienne Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

La Cabane d’a Coté

27 Mar

March means sugar shack season here in Quebec. So for the last few years, that has meant going to La Cabane au Pied de Cochon, Martin Picard’s spectacularly glorious shack up in Mirabel. It’s not traditional but frankly I want a great meal at a sugar shack which isn’t as easy to find anymore so I go a little on the crazy side. However, this year, for the occasion of my wife’s birthday, I decided to forgo that particular experience for its cousin, La Cabane d’à Coté. Located on the property just next door to Cabane PDC that they purchased last year, Cabane d’à Coté is a smaller, more intimate setting (about 40 seats) run by Vincent Dion Lavallée, Martin’s partner and formerly the head chef at the Cabane PDC.

La Cabane d’à Coté took over the old sugar shack on the property and uses the old evaporator as the cooking apparatus – heating with wood and using the flattops on top of the old evaporator to cook off of. It is a unique idea for a restaurant and creates a cool scene when you enter the restaurant as the kitchen is front and center. Other than one table, the rest of the common seating is situated in the rooms just off from the center kitchen space with views of either the maple forest on one side or the apple orchard on the other. It is a beautifully simple restaurant space which evokes a classic style (especially with the use of old style dishes and cutlery) but with some twists. Even though the space is 40 people tops, it goes get a little nozy but not so much that you can’t enjoy the eclectic mix of music through the evening – think 90s pop with classic quebecois.

Compared to the Cabane PDC, La Cabane d’à Coté’s menu is a table champetre which changes more frequently that the twice a year of the other shack. The restaurant is also open year round and doesn’t require the same reservation time – although it can still take some time to get a table. The menu is a 5 course fixed menu which they say is all you can eat but frankly we were so stuffed just with the portions they served us that I can’t imagine anyone asking for more!

The first course was composed of two dishes. First, a split pea soup with maple glazed duck meatballs, sour cream and cheddar cheese. Excellent soup that really evoked the classic hardy soup that I love but the addition of the maple glazed duck meatballs really gave it some more richness and a touch of sweetness that I enjoyed.

Paired with that was homemade raisin cinnamon bread grilled on the flattop served in a maple reduction and topped with foie gras, maple sugar and creme fraiche. An insane level of richness and sweetness that was glorious. To our pleasant surprise, the charred toasted notes that comes from grilling over the wood really came through. Quite a start of our meal.

The second course was a more subtle affair. Of the four dishes we got for this course, there were two big hits. First was the raw scallops served with fermented cabbage and cream sauce. The scallops were sliced thinly and beautiful. The acidity of the fermented cabbage paired very nicely as well.

The other big hit was the thinly sliced white ham served with bacon and bacon over a base of apple butter. Coming from the hams the group raises on the property, the ham was so good. Beautiful texture and great flavour. The apple butter underneath was a rich and sweet treasure as well.

We also got mini buckwheat pancakes served with maple syrup and a salad of endives prepared in escabeche served with fresh sheep’s milk cheese. The pancakes were enjoyable but compared to the other dishes weren’t as special. I enjoyed the salad although my wife found the endives still too bitter for her liking.

At this point, we were already starting to feel full but we weren’t even halfway there! The next course brought two dishes. First, a sort of celeriac omelette served with smoked trout. A solid dish – the big standout was the chunk of smoked trout. Beautiful texture and flavour.

The other dish was a duck tartare of mushrooms, beets and crispy duck skin served over a Jerusalem artichoke puree. A really different tartare that I really enjoyed. I liked the use of the skin to add some different texture to the tartare. My wife doesn’t love duck so this was the dish we split opinion over the most over the course of the evening.

The fourth course was an all-meat affair. First was maple glazed grilled pork from the Cabane served with a cherry sauce. Simple but very well done. The quality of their pork in terms of flavour and texture comes through and the sweetness of both the maple and the cherries paired perfectly.

The second dish wasn’t as successful sadly – quail stuffed with duck meat served in a minestrone soup. The quail meat was excellent. The issue for both of us was the soup which clearly got an extra kick of vinegar but so much so that all we got flavour wise was vinegar. The big disappointment for us on the night.

The last dish of this course made up for it however – rabbit and chicken pot pie served with maple carrots. My favorite of the night. Beautiful presentation and great depth of flavour to boot. A great flaky crust, lots of meat and a beautifully rich but not heavy sauce to pair all of it together. Chicken pot pie is one of my childhood favorites so this dish evokes much love for me.

Finally….. we get to dessert! Some how we found a way to eat all 5 desserts they brought us 😉 The ricotta doughnuts served with maple dulce de leche were solid and enjoyable. The praline and sunflower seed ice cream was a very pleasant surprise that we both loved. The Baba served with haskap berries (camerise in French) and cranberries syrup topped with maple pastry cream and whipped cream was the most visually appealing of the group. Flavour-wise, the cake was a little heavy but the fruit syrup and the maple elements paired beautifully together with it. The most unique dessert was the frozen apple poached in maple syrup served with fresh cream. The apple’s texture was very unique in this preparation and of course, apples and maple pair so well together.

And lastly, as this is a sugar shack after all, we got some fresh maple taffy which was served to us through a hidden compartment in the table which allows them to bring snow into the restaurant to pour the maple syrup over. Very cool element and of course the perfect end to a sugar shack meal.

La Cabane d’à Coté continues the excellent tradition of the Cabane PDC and turns it into a more intimate, less bombastic experience. There is still excess – it’s a Martin Picard venture after all – but chef Vincent finds a way to make it slightly more refined and subtle. I would love to come back in the summer time to see what Vincent would do with all the fresh produce they produce on the property without the sugar shack trappings. This was a wonderful night and definitely worth visiting again.

Cheers!

La Cabane d’à Côté
3595 Montée Robillard

Le Club Chasse et Pêche

16 Feb

Despite my best efforts, there are still numerous Montreal staples that I have yet to try. Be it for lack of occasion or honestly just forgetting about them, some restaurants have been continuously on my to-try list for years and years. Le Club Chasse et Pêche has been one such place. The old Montreal staple run by Claude Pelletier, long lauded for the quality of their work since 2004, has weirdly never been one that I would think about when looking for a high end restaurant for an occasion. Well, thankfully that was fixed for me as a friend of mine decided to have his birthday dinner take place there so I finally got to see if all the praise was justified.

Located very unassumingly on a side street in the Old Montreal, Le Club Chasse et Pêche has a somewhat weird visual motif to me. Given the age of the building, they highlight some of its classic features – beautiful old stone walls and archways – in the periphery but the rest of the space is a mix of more modern touches – dark printed pattern wallpaper on the ceiling, black accent walls with a flat concrete-like finish, modernistic artwork, curved plastered walls which orient and separate the room in ways to make things feel more intimate but also weirdly disorienting. It works with the low lighting to create a very intimate ambience perfect for the type of special occasions that bring you to a place like this but personally not the type of style I enjoy.

The menu is not big but frankly everything on the page sounded amazing. As a starter, I went with the crispy veal sweetbread served with a soubise sauce, comté, mustard and hazelnuts. I love sweetbreads so even though the rest of the items listed seemed like a weird mixture, I felt this dish call to me. It was superb – the sweetbread was cooked to perfection – juicy and tender but with a great exterior crunch. The onion sauce had a nice balance of sweetness and creaminess and the other elements worked well even if adding cheese, mustard and nuts to this would seem odd. Just trust me.

The other starter I got to try through an exchange with the birthday boy was THE Club Chasse et Pêche classic starter – the braised piglet risotto topped with foie gras shavings. Holy cow did this dish not disappoint. My friend called it the best risotto he has ever had and I would agree. The risotto itself is cooked nicely – a touch firm but still very tender and the flavours are out of this world – the mixture of the pork and the rich foie gras made this so decadent but so powerful. Definitely a dish not to miss when you go!

As a main dish, after much MUCH deliberation, I went with their version of the surf and turf, Le Chasse et Pêche, the component of which change regularly. On this occasion, it was buttery lobster and 30 day aged steak. Excellent preparation of both elements. The lobster was all rich and buttery goodness. The steak was seared perfectly and very tender. An excellent surf and turf.

As a dessert, I decided to go with their Bomb – a caramel and milk chocolate tartelette served with an 80% chocolate sorbet. I loved the tarte – flaky and crisp with a great rich caramel flavour. Honestly I didn’t like the sorbet – it felt too watery to me which gave us less impact than it should have. A minor quibble in a great meal.

Le Club Chasse et Pêche was a great experience and worth the wait. The food was exquisite – our entire table left the dinner very full and satisfied. It may be easily missed when you walk around Old Montreal but believe it, it is definitely worth your attention. Don’t wait as long as I did.

Cheers!

Le Club Chasse et Pêche
423 Rue St-Claude
514 861 1112

Le Club Chasse et Pêche Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

1909 Taverne Moderne

9 Dec

In Montreal, hockey and the Habs are king. As such, the team continues to find new ways to expand their reach. One of these is through food as the team has opened up a massive sports bar in the Bell Center to cater to the downtown core – 1909 Taverne Moderne. Clearly modelled after Real Sports in Toronto, 1909 is a sports bar restaurant on steroids. It is a huge multi-level restaurant which offers standing room, bar seating and mezzanine banquets all focused around a gigantic screen showing sports – obviously the Canadiens if it was a game night but in this case, college basketball and hockey.

The space is impressive to look at. It is also very loud – the combination of the high ceiling, the mezzanine structure and the loud music playing at the same time means that this isn’t the place for a quiet meal. Clearly you come here because you want a party, you want to watch sports in a group setting or you are coming to the Bell Center for a game or show and want something close by. Looking at the menu in comparison to a typical sports bar, the bar menu is varied with lots of local microbrewery options. The food menu itself also steps away from the usual bar fare with some more up-scale items.

My wife wasn’t too hungry so as a meal, she went with the Teriyaki baby back ribs appetizer. The ribs were pretty good – served amongst like spare ribs, they were fall off the bone tender and pretty flavourful with the sweet Teriyaki glaze.

The positives stop there though. I went with the Chili Con Carne with a side order of fries. First up, they both arrived at the table lukewarm. This brings up the issue of the service. Our waiter was nice but he wasn’t very quick or attentive in general. It took a while for him to come take our order and the food was slow to come as well. It is a very busy space but then more staff should be present or at least they should re-think how they function because our guy was running around like crazy but never really on top of things. It is not acceptable for food to be served not hot. We had a concert to go to so I didn’t make a deal of it but could have been very easily.

The chili itself was bland – it lacked any strong flavour notes. No heat, no sweetness, no nothing. It was filling because we was meat and beans but frankly anyone with their slow cooker could have matched it.

The side of fries was equally uninspiring – the cut was fine but they had no inherent flavour and when you add that they were lukewarm, really not a winner especially for 6$. I got to try some nachos one of our friends ordered and it was a similar story – very average fare. Lots of chips but not a whole lot of cheese or topping for something that costs 13$.

In the end, frankly I can see the interest to go to watch a game in a cool setting but frankly the food (and the subsequent cost of the meal) really doesn’t make this a worthwhile dining experience outside of that. Much like the Habs this year, there is potential but the finished product is no where close yet.

Cheers!

1909 Taverne Moderne
1280 Avenue des Canadiens-de-Montréal
514 416 9809

1909 Taverne Moderne Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lloydie’s

9 Dec

When the weather starts to get cold around here, most of us start to think about warming climate and getting away from the snow. I, on the other hand, think more about cuisine from those warmer climate. My regular weekly errands bring me up to Mile End and right by a relatively new spot in the neighbourhood – Lloydie’s. Lloydie’s has been around as a producer of Caribbean food in Montreal since 1987 but has only recently opened up a couple of fast food-like restaurants to serve their cuisine. I took the opportunity a few times to try them out and see if they could evoke some warm feelings in the midst of the cold creeping up on us.

The menu is short and concise. They have jerk chicken, jerk pork and oxtail served in a few different ways (plate, sandwich or poutine) and with a variety of sides as well. It is fast food so you order at the counter, take it and go. In both cases when I visited the service was quick and very efficient. I tried their ginger beer on my first visit. Super strong ginger flavour – this isn’t one of those “sorta” ginger drink where you taste it a bit. It is all ginger, all the time. I enjoyed it as a nice palate cleanser during the meal but it will definitely be an acquired taste for many.

First up, I went with the jerk pork poutine. A nice generous portion of fries topped with a gravy, cheese curds and some jerk pork. The fries had a nice cut to them and just a little crunch on the outside. The gravy was light but flavourful and the cheese curds were the right kind of squeak – as one would want in a poutine. The key distinguishing feature here is the pork. The pork was very tender and had tons of flavour – not too spicy but with just enough kick to tell you it’s there. Very enjoyable.

I also decided to order a side of plantains that first time. The plantains are fried up and tossed with a spicy seasoning mix. I loved the flavour of the plantains but personally thought they were a little too thick sizewise. As a result, they lacked the more crunch I love with my favorite fried plantains.

The following visit I went for a plate of oxtail. The plate is served with a side of plantains and either rice or fries – as you wish. The fries are tossed in the same seasoning as the plantains which adds a nice taste to them. The oxtail was wonderful – fall off the bone tender and very flavourful. The stewing liquid/gravy is rich and very deep in flavour. It has a certain sweetness to it – almost chocolatey in nature.

Super flavourful meats, nice depth of flavours and solid portions – Lloydie’s definitely goes a good job of bringing Caribbean food in a fast food approach. If you want to be the cold, definitely head over to them for a hit of Caribbean heat.

Cheers!

Lloydies
66 Rue Saint Viateur Ouest

Kinka Izakaya

14 Nov

When I was asked to find a restaurant for my friend’s bachelor party, I knew exactly the kind of restaurant I wanted to go to: an Izakaya. It has the perfect combination for a fun night with a large group of people: fun ambience; solid food that is easily shareable; good drink options to enjoy with the food and at a good price to boot. For this particular occasion, I decided to bring my friends to a place that I hadn’t visited before in Montreal: Kinka Izakaya. The groom-to-be and myself had been to one of their Toronto restaurants and had a great time (from what I remember anyway….) so I thought it would be appropriate to bring him to the Montreal equivalent to see if the same good time would be had.

Located in Faubourg St-Catherine, Kinka Izakaya is a relatively compact space with much emphasis on wood and stone. The kitchen is open to the room. There is a lot of noise as one would expect on a busy Saturday night. Service was quick and efficient. Much props to their rainbow sake bomb celebration which involves lots of yelling, singing and a big blackboard – a perfect thing for a bachelor’s party 😉

Foodwise, it is the usual mix for an Izakaya – noodles, soups, fried food and some sashimi options. I always go for the classic edamame bowl – nothing out of the ordinary here. Not over-boiled and properly salted. Always a good light option on the menu.

The classic gyu carpaccio – seared beef sashimi served with ponzu, wasabi mayo, garlic chips and scallions – was okay. The meat was tender enough but frankly there was a little too much ponzu at the bottom of the plate so the dish was fruity acidity.

The karubi – grilled miso marinated beef short ribs – was more of a hit. The meat was nicely grilled and very tender. The marinade came through nicely and wasn’t too overbearing.

The Gyoza here were deep fried vegetable dumplings served with a sweet chili mayo. Very flavourful filling and a nice crunch to the exterior. I enjoyed the nice sweet heat that came through in the mayo as well.

One of my personal favorites at an Izakaya is takoyaki – deep fried octopus balls served with tonkatsu sauce and mayo. Kinka does this well – the filling was very flavourful. The natural flavour of octopus comes through nicely and I always love the mixture of the tonkatsu sauce and the mayo.

The karaage – deep fried soy sauce marinated chicken served with garlic mayo – was a little oily but had great crunch and the chicken itself was moist and flavourful – not too salty despite the soy sauce marinade. The garlic mayo had a nice kick to it as well and paired well with the chicken.

One of our group really wanted to order the tontoro so we tried it. A skewer of grilled pork cheek served with yuzu pepper – I enjoyed the tenderness of pork cheeks but frankly this is the one dish that lack strong flavour.

The final dish I tried was ikapiri – deep fried calamari with spicy ketchup and wasabi mayo. Nice taste to the calamari themselves but lacked the crunch you want from fried calamari. The spicy kitchen and wasabi mayo was a very strong combination of sweet, spice and richness. Really loved this dish despite then lack of crunch.

We had fun, eat and drank well – so overall Kinka Izakaya was exactly what I hoped it would be. Izayakas are always a fun time and it’s great to see many good ones opening up around Montreal. So arrive with an empty stomach, open mind and be ready to shout ‘Sake Bomb’ – you won’t be disappointed.

Cheers!

Kinka Izakaya
1624 Sainte-Catherine Ouest
514 750 1624

KINKA IZAKAYA Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

%d bloggers like this: