Tag Archives: St-Henri

Tuck Shop

7 Jun

About 5 years ago now, I read a review from Lesley Chesterman in the Montreal Gazette about a restaurant in St-Henri – a neighbourhood I knew nothing about – called Tuck Shop. Everything about what she wrote about the restaurant – from the food to the decor to the music even – peaked my interest and I made a note of it. Fast forward to now – I have moved to Pointe St-Charles and have spent tons of time in St-Henri visiting all the great new restaurants and spots that have popped up…. except for Tuck Shop. The one initial reason I even knew about the neighbourhood. Well that needed to change. Taking advantage of a rare evening free for both myself and my girlfriend, I set up a last minute dinner date to finally see if Tuck Shop was worthy of its high spot on my to-visit list.

Relatively nondescript when you walk by, Tuck Shop is a 40-ish seat place with a great mixture of hardwood floors, white brick tiles and wooden walls. The open kitchen in the back creates a more dynamic feel to the space and I love the granite countertop bar in the middle of the room. The room is adored with mason jars filled with marinades and sauces which provide a homey touch. The music the entire night was right up my alley and kept me humming along the whole meal – from CCR to Grease to Steve Miller Band. Noise level was moderately high – you could still have a conversation but not in a hush tone. Service was punctual and on point – I particularly enjoyed when we received our menus and were recommended to try a cocktail…. especially since the server in question was the one who made them. And in fact, the menu said cocktails by Seabass. Loved the friendly and fun way that was done. The entire team all night brought the same energy and vibe. Well done.

After being sold by Seabass, I couldn’t say no to one of his cocktails. I went with the Maple Rhubarb – Brandy, maple syrup, mint, lemon and rhubarb bitters. The rhubarb taste was subtle but there. The overall drink was sweet enough that my girlfriend enjoyed it but balanced enough that I could taste the brandy and not feel I was being stiffed. An solid starter.

We decided to share an appetizer and went for the Florida soft shell crab with green papaya, coloured carrots, cucumber, radish, coriander, chili, peanuts and kaffir lime mayonnaise. A wonderfully light but flavourful dish. The crab was beautifully rich and tender with the outer crust providing a bit of crunch. The green papaya salad underneath provided some sweetness and a bit of heat which could be countered by the lime mayonnaise. A beautiful dish throughout.

The first of our mains was the fish of the day – in this case, salmon – with herbed ricotta gnocchi, morels, fiddleheads, fava beans, carrots, Tokyo turnips, sorrel, daylillies, salsa verde and root vegetable puree. The fish was beautiful but the star here was the herbed ricotta gnocchi – rich and fluffy delights. The inherent earthiness of the fiddleheads, morels and fav bears were an interesting pairing with the creaminess of the puree and the fresh kick from the salsa verde. Enjoyable all around.

Our second main was the Cornish Hen with Littleneck clams, homemade chorizo, fennel, white beans, kale, coriander, chili, charred onion puree and tomatillo. I simply loved this dish! So much going on but oh so good…. The chorizo was the driving force flavour-wise – spicy almost to the point of overwhelming the palate but it didn’t. The hen was juicy and crisp on the outside. The underlying clams and white beans helped to dull the chorizo as did the sweetness of the puree. The jalapeño added even more hotness if you were so inclined.

With a bit of room left, we went for the brownie with noix de Grenoble and homemade vanilla bean ice cream. Loved the ice cream – great rich vanilla taste however the texture of the brownie was a bit too dry for my preference.

Outside of the minor quibble at dessert, Tuck Shop was exactly what I had hoped it would be even all the years later – A beautifully relaxed atmosphere serving kickass refined comfort market driven food. My biggest disappointment is that I waited so long to eat there. Believe me, that will not happen again. It’s great to see such an awesome spot holding down in St-Henri for this long now. There were one of the first here. Here’s hoping they continue to do so for many years longer.

Cheers!

Tuck Shop
4662 Notre Dame Ouest
514 439 7432

Tuck Shop on Urbanspoon

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Satay Brothers

10 Mar

A couple of years ago, while visiting Atwater Market with some friends, I tried a food stand called Satay Brothers. Don’t exactly remember why I chose that particular food stand for food instead of the other ones present but I was quite happy with my choice that day. Fast forward to today and the Satay Brothers have opened up their prep kitchen on St-Jacques a few blocks over from the market to customers looking for their amazing asian fare during the winter time as well.

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The restaurant has a small sitting area of probably about 20 or so people. I arrived solo on a surprisingly busy mid afternoon Saturday. It was busy enough that I was set up at the bar counter since no tables were opening up anytime soon for a solo customer.

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To start with, I ordered the green papaya salad with grilled pork. This was a wonderfully fresh and light salad – a combination of what tasted like lemon, lime, mint and basil with the added crunch of peanuts to play with textures. Great start to the meal.

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Next up, there was the classic steamed pork buns. A nice piece of fatty pork with some coriander, cucumber and a hoisin-like sauce. I loved these the first time I had them at the market and I still loved them now.

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With the buns, I also added one chicken satay. Perfectly grilled and tender, when you added the amazing peanut sauce, the dish had a great kick to it. Believe me, I hate cucumber but you certainly needed them afterwards to help cleanse the palette.

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Finally, for dessert, I decide to try the Kueh Salat. A combination of coconut, stick rice and pandan, this was a perfectly light and sweet dessert that played very well after the rest of the meal.

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For all fans of the Satay Brothers from the Market, this is a must-visit to enjoy your usual summer favorites. For the rest of you, this is an extremely worthwhile visit – great food at a very reasonable cost. The Winnicki brothers and their mother have created a wonderfully homie restaurant experience. Alex, who was tending to the floor, was quite active – always interacting with his customers, starting up conversation while keeping service very snappy. The love shown to him and his family from all the patrons is a testament to the attention they put on everyone who comes through that door. I must also praise Alex from being quite understanding towards a situation with me that involved leaving money at a ATM prior to my arrival (unbeknownst to me when I came to pay) which is a problem at a cash only place. Quite the embarrassment for me but Alex was very trusting and was not concerned that I wouldn’t come back later on to pay (which I did 20 minutes later). For the way he handle my situation, I thank him very much and, irregardless of the amazing food, he has certainly ensured that I return on a much more frequent basis in the future.

Cheers!

Satay Brothers
3911 Saint-Jacques (in the winter)
514 587 8106
Atwater Market (in the summer)

Satay Brothers on Urbanspoon

Léché

10 Nov

I am a sucker when it comes to sweets. It doesn’t really matter – be it cupcakes, brownies, cookies, doughnuts, etc – I pretty much love all of them. More and more in Montreal, we are lucky to have wonderful bakery and pastry shops making great things for us to enjoy outside of the usual Tim Hortons and Starbucks fare. Recently, through Twitter, I had heard of a new artisan doughnut shop in St-Henri that I needed to check out called Léché. Wonderful I thought, let’s check it out right away! Then I saw the opening hours…. Not very conducive to my work schedule. However, through some good circumstance, I had the chance this week to quickly head over before work to grab a box and see just how good their doughnuts were.

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Very much enjoyed the warm and homey feel the space had. The open kitchen is also a great element to the shop – really creates a unique feel. I would have loved to stay longer simply to see the team work in on their treats but sadly time was of the essence. I walked out with a box of 6 different doughnuts to sample from. In general, the doughnuts all have a very light and fluffy dough which doesn’t have much of a sweetness to it on its own. However, given the different toppings and fillings, that is perfect and truly allows those elements to shine above the dough itself. Also, these guys are stuffed to the gills. My experience with most doughnuts had conditioned me to expect half filled doughnuts. Boys was this a pleasant surprise.

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Working from the top left one and going clockwise, I had the white chocolate mousse, peanut butter and Jelly, chocolate, apple crumble, raspberry and milk chocolate mousse doughnuts. The white chocolate mousse was a perfect creamy delicious mess of a doughnut – sweet and delicious. The PB & J one was just amazing – a perfect manifestation of what makes the sandwich so good. The right balance between the salty and the sweet. The chocolate one was very good but probably. The star of the apple crumble is the wonderful apple filling you find inside. The raspberry one was a slight disappointment but that has mostly to do with the fact that I ate it after the PB & J one so it felt like the jam inside was missing its peanut butter companion. Finally, the milk chocolate mousse was very good although I preferred its white chocolate brother.

All in all, quite impressive and very satisfied with my 1st experience. Léché will definitely be in the back of my mind next time I am confronted with the prospect of more “mainstream” doughnut options. Next thing, I just hope that they open up their hours a bit more so that I can stop by a bit more easily in the future.

Cheers!

Léché
640 de Courcelle
514 303 2200

Léché Desserts Inc. on Urbanspoon

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