Tag Archives: bourbon lemonade

L’ Gros Luxe (Sud Ouest)

23 Jan

Over the past few years, I had heard many things about L’Gros Luxe, the originally plateau-only restaurant known for solid cocktails and cheap but enjoyable food. However, like for many restaurants in our fair city, time and circumstances were such that I hadn’t tried them yet even as they expanded to Mile End and Longueuil. A few months ago though, L’Gros Luxe came to me as they opened up a Sud Ouest location on Notre-Dame right beside Corona Theater and more importantly, only a 10 minute walk away from my apartment. With a spot that close, I really had no excuses anymore!


Over the past month, I went twice with a couple different groups. First thing which is a little unique is the fact that L’Gros Luxe does not do reservations. However, thankfully for those of us who don’t want to wait outside in the cold, they have created an app with which you can add yourself onto a waitlist to get a table. First time around, we didn’t think about it so we ended up waiting about 35 minutes so we grabbed a beer next door (thanks Burgundy Lion!). The second time around, I used the app but ended up not needing to as the restaurant was strangely empty that Thursday night.


I really like the look of the restaurant – a mixture of vintage Victorian style with some more modern touches. The room feels very inviting and warm – a solid place to enjoy a happy hour. When it was very busy though, I felt the noise level to be too high which is a common complaint nowadays in many restaurants but one that still bugs me when it affects my ability to actually understand what my friend sitting next to me is saying. The second time was much more enjoyable.



Drinks options are plenty at L’Gros Luxe. Bourbon lemonade by the pitcher is available and while the price point is cheaper than many others restaurants around, personally I found it to be a little light on the bourbon and more of the sweet side of things. The ladies with me enjoyed it that way… me not as much. I did however enjoy their Sud Ouest Lemonade – a mixture of Ungava gin, white beer, simple syrup and lemon juice. This was a better balance of sweet and strong.



The other staple of l’Gros Luxe drink wise is their Caesars. I hate caesars so it’s not my thing but each one is quite large and also topped with a variety of food items. When your caesar comes with onion rings and a fried pickle on top, I can imagine it being worthwhile.


Foodwise, L’Gros Luxe is an odd mixture of items that I guess you would characterize as bar food but frankly it runs the gamut from tacos, salads, burgers, poutines, etc. I was able to try a variety of items over my two visits. The appetizers I had were up and down. First was the nachos – topped with black beans, cheese, green onions, marinated jalapeño slaw, corn and coriander. The size of the plate was nice but the cheese was weirdly only on the under layer and underside of the nachos so most chips had no melted cheese on top of them. When one buys nachos, there is an expectation of cheese on most of the chips. Frankly, that’s a pretty easy thing to ensure when you make them. That was not done here which was strange.


The other appetizer was the grilled feta – served with olives, cherry tomatoes, basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and bread. Pretty self-explanatory and a solid dish overall. The feta was grilled just enough to make it less salty and a touch softer than normal. We had enough bread to make proper croutons for the entirety of the portion we got.


The poutine is one of their big dishes and very enjoyable. Their classic is made with tater tots! I don’t think I’d had tater tots for at least 10 years. Topped with green onions as well as the usual cheese curds and gravy, there are a multitude of extras you can add – be it pulled pork, grounded beef,etc… The pulled pork I added to mine was nice and tender. My friend’s version is ground beef and regular fries was solid as well.


One of my friend’s tried out their beef burger – served on a shallot bun with siracha mayo and the usual condiments. Good sized burger, cooked nicely through. The bun was light and fluffy but didn’t fall apart as it eaten. A solid burger overall.


Finally, I got to try a dessert – deep fried cookie dough served with ice cream, whipped cream and caramel/chocolate sauce. Or at least it was supposed to be served with ice cream. On receiving the dish, we quickly realized that no ice cream was actually present. The problem got solved once we mentioned it to our waitress but still a weird issue. Overall the dessert was good but too much whipped cream compared to the other elements.


L’Gros Luxe was a up-and-down food experience. The items are good – not great – so while the price is reasonable, I still wanted better. Same thing for the drinks. I left after my second visit thinking that L’Gros Luxe’s best fit is as a great happy hour or drink spot. Not sure a full dinner is truly worth it. I’m happy to have it close by but also happy I didn’t go out of my way to visit for dinner previously.


L’Gros Luxe
2472 Notre-Dame Ouest
514 903 2721

L'Gros Luxe Sud-Ouest Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Le Boucan

13 Aug

Last month, for the event of my birthday, I was looking for a nice relaxed spot to enjoy a great meal amongst friends and perhaps have a few drinks along the way. After decided that (of course) the Burgundy Lion was the happy hour spot we would start at, Le Boucan seemed like the ideal location to continue the evening. It certainly helped that we could simply walk over from the pub… also I just love BBQ. I had only been once prior and quite honestly the events of that first visit are quite hazy for some reason or another. Because of that, I was quite excited to “re-try” Le Boucan.


Located on a strip of Notre-Dame street that is quite literally booming, Le Boucan is a relatively small restaurant inside that was a nice terrasse out back to enjoy in the summer time. The interior has a rustic barn look – red wood panels on the walls, sliding barn doors at the washrooms, worn wood signs and hand drawn menu boards. The key focus point inside is the bar area with all the bourbon bottles exposed to the patrons to see. It is a very relaxed and enjoyable ambience.


Le Boucan is a smokehouse so the menu is all BBQ – pulled pork, ribs, etc. On the drink side, they have a full bar menu with a particular focus on bourbon cocktails. As a starter, we ordered a pitcher of bourbon lemonade because well… I’m completely hooked to the stuff and can’t ignore it when it is on a menu. This particularly version of it was quite good – not as sweet of many variants around town but definitely the strongest in terms of bourbon which was perfect for our evening…. but which made the second pitcher ordered later on a little more problematic…



Needed a bit of food now, we grabbed some entrees. First up was a plat of Le Boucan’s Nachos which I forgot to take a picture of….. either way, excellent plate of nachos with quite a nice amount of toppings over top. Sadly, you will just have to take my word for it. One of my friends ordered the meat balls. Topped with some scallions and served with some croutons and sauce, the meatballs were nice and moist. Nice flavour to them as well.


I myself ordered the mac n’ cheese. Served in a onion soup bowl, topped with some scallions and some bread crumbs, it was a nice macaroni however the cheese sauce was not creamy enough for my personal tastes. As such, the cheese didn’t stick to the macaroni itself very well. The cheese sauce had a nice rich flavour at least but wasn’t really one of my favourites.


For the mains, most of us wanted to order some pulled pork however our waitress informed us that they had run out! Not cool so we worked around it. However, they had enough for one dish so one of us got the pulled pork poutine. Such a heavenly combination – beautifully tender pork with nice fries, cheese curds and some gravy. I would come back for this dish alone…. I guess I just need to make sure to reserve my portion early when I dine later.


Given the lack of pulled pork, I went for the full rack of ribs with fries and cheesy corn. The fries were solid and the cheesy corn is a play on creamed corn which I enjoyed. The real star of course were the ribs. A massive portion of ribs – tons of meat on the bones with a good crust on them. No knife required to remove the meat here… that is the level of tenderness we are talking about. Very nice all around.


The only other different main on the table was the rib and chicken combo with the side of potato salad. The chicken was nicely smoked – tender and juicy with a nice smoky flavour. The potato salad was pretty good as well – more on the chunky side of things but still creamy enough. A solid dish all around. Dessert was tempting but frankly at this point, we were too full to even consider the options. That will have to wait until next time.


Le Boucan was a solid evening of delicious BBQ and drinks – the perfect setting to celebrate me getting another year older. Our group of 7 walked out happy and contend which is all I could ask more on this evening. BBQ in Montreal is getting better and better – Le Boucan has a solid spot in the best this city has to offer… thankfully I can remember enjoying it this time.


Le Boucan
1886 Notre-Dame Ouest
514 439 4555

Le Boucan on Urbanspoon


28 Jun

Always on the lookout for somewhere different to celebrate the start of the weekend, I met some friends at their office in Westmount a few Fridays ago and walked down the hill to Ludger. I have had my eye on visiting this new trendy St-Henri spot on Notre-Dame Ouest for a while and this beautiful evening seemed like the right time to check them out.


Ludger labels itself as a buvette with a gourmet accent aka we are a bar but also have high-end food. Located on a corner on Notre-Dame, they have taken over an old storefront with the old recessed entranced and all-window facade and spruce it up with a massive rural on the side and a beautiful wooden terrasse as well. I can’t speak for the inside because we never set foot in there – no tables available there so we sat outside. The noise emanating from the windows told of a noisy environment – not totally unexpected given it was Friday night. The terrasse itself was nice and quiet with build-in wooden banquets instead of chairs. It’s also on the cross street, not Notre Dame itself so there was no cars driving by us which was nice.


Ludger has a nice cocktail menu, a decent selection of wine and a food menu that I would characterize as eclectic. No real obvious “type” here but very intriguing. Before we grabbed a bottle of wine, I tried their special of the night, bourbon lemonade – my summer drink of choice. I was exposed to this beverage at Icehouse a couple of years ago, I have been hooked and have converted many friends and family. At this point, summer without it just seems wrong! Sadly, in this case, I was left disappointed. This version was overcome with sweetness to the point where the natural acidity of the lemon and the smokiness of bourbon were left wanting. The ideal bourbon lemonade blends all of these aspects smoothly. This one did not.


Food-wise, we stuck to the appetizer options as we were not all that particularly hungry. First up, fried veal sweetbreads with kimchi and peanuts. Very creative dish and one I never would have thought about prior to this. The fried sweetbreads were crispy enough on the outside without losing the fatty goodness inside. The kimchi with its inherent spiciness added some nice heat to the dish and the peanuts brought some texture. Add some micro greens, shitake mushrooms with a piece of crispy chicken skin and you have a excellent dish. If you have an aversion to sweetbreads, this dish won’t convince you otherwise but I love them so it worked for me.


Next up, we had their polenta fries. Another creative approach from the kitchen here – they got enough of a crunch on the fries without losing the texture of the polenta. Paired with a nice mayo as well (correction: I have been informed this was parmesan cream, not mayo). My only issue here was the amount of fries we got for the cost of the dish. I frankly would have been preferred sweet potato fries or just regular fries if we would have gotten us more to enjoy. Good but not enough to truly enjoy.


After that, we went for the meat plate – a combination of rosette de Lyon, prosciutto, duck breast and others with some olives and bread. Overall a solid dish – I’m always a big fan of this kind of plate… well other than the olives which I despise but we’ll skip on that discussion for now. Again, a little small given the price but still delicious.


Our last dish of the evening was grilled squid with chick peas. A deliciously meaty piece of squid, grilled wonderfully with a nice creamy yogourt sauce paired with it and the chick peas. Following the theme of the meal, delicious but again, somewhat small for the price. (Correction: This was actually octopus, not squid – thank you to my readers who caught this mistake)


Ludger was a pleasant experience although one that I would characterize as overpriced for what it is. Loved the overall vibe, the setting and the creativity of the food menu. The rest of cocktail menu gets me interested as well. Not sure I will get bang for my buck food wise to make this a good dinner option however this is definitely a worthwhile drink spot with perhaps a dish or 2 and will be the site of future happy hours to come on my end. Now I probably just need to visit the interior as some point….



4001 Notre Dame Ouest
438 383 3229

Ludger on Urbanspoon

%d bloggers like this: