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Posts Tagged ‘by the Mont-Royal metro’

Reservations aren’t usually necessary during the week, but they are a good idea. Like many low-key Montreal restos, it doesn’t look like much from the outside, and it doesn’t look like much inside the spartan brick interior. Fortunately, the food speaks louder than anything else and some nights, when the lighting is just right and gently glowing off of the water and wine glasses, it can be a very low-key, romantic establishment.

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Romados is an astonishingly clean and odor-free Portuguese rotisserie/bakery. I comment on the odorless quality of the establishment because once you make your way up the line to the counter, you see the numerous racks of flattened chicken rotating juicily over smoking flames. The flames are all under powerful exhaust hoods, which effectively controls any smell of smoke or cooking meat. Unfortunately. Because this is some of the best rotisserie chicken I’ve ever enjoyed.

We were both very hungry, so we both ordered a 1/4 chicken combination plate – he got the breast and I got the leg – which included a heap of deliciously seasoned fries (celery salt and pepper, perhaps?) over a generous 1/4 chicken – brushed with spicy sauce to order – and salad, plus fresh roll, and small pastry from the pastry side. Including soft drinks, the total was around $16, and could easily have fed four people instead of just us two. We usually split one of the combo plates. We left unpleasantly full because everything was so tasty we didn’t want to stop eating it. Juicy, flavorful meat under salty, smokey skin brushed lightly with spicy sauce – which, by the way, is not spicy, merely piquant. And yes, I recommend diners use their fingers like barbarians instead of bothering with the plastic cutlery – after all, you can lick your fingers afterwards, whereas licking a knife is still construed as unseemly. If parking weren’t such a problem on that street, I would definitely make picking up a chicken part of my weekly routine.

Drawbacks of eating here include there being limited seating, and possibly waiting in a long line to order. Apparently it’s advisable to call in your order ahead of time so as to avoid the line.  Another drawback might be their use of styrofoam take-out containers…but it’s hard to dwell on that when everything else about the place is so good. I can’t imagine a better deal for this quality food or a cleaner take-out establishment.

115 Rue Rachel Est at Rue de Bullion

Metro: Mont-Royal

See my November 2010 review here.

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Formerly known as Rumi Grill, Rumi Express is basically the same but with cheap-looking table card menus and ketchup bottles on every table. The previously problems with ventilation – leaving diners smelling strongly of smokey barbecue – have since been fixed.

Aside from the lack of a/c in the summer and its distance from the metro (~10 blocks from Mont Royal, which is a looong way away when you’re already really hungry), this is a pretty good francophone Turkish resto with killer baklava. Menu has a yummy-looking selection of pita sandwiches, plates, and salads – dare I even mention vegetarian-friendly. I don’t usually order vegetarian, but the eggplant “fries,” hummus, and tahini sandwich would be worth getting again, and the fries were hot and browned and chewy on the outside and soft an fluffy on the inside (good). Functional decor cheapened by the laminated diner-style card menus on the table and the crumpled, stained paper placemat menus that are reused. Fortunately, everything else is clean. Outdoor seating off the sidewalk during warmer months.

4403 Blvd. St. Laurent at Rue Marie-Anne E.

Metro: Monty-Royal

See my September 2009 review here: https://rachelrecommends.wordpress.com/2009/09/14/rumi-grille-cafe-b/

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Au Pied du Cochon is one of those contemporary “upscale downscale” restos (as my husband puts it) which overemphasizes its downscale quality while providing upscale food and service. They have a successful schtick, and they sell it with just the right degree of over-the-top glee. It can be hard to get a reservation, so plan ahead. This time around, it took two unreturned voicemail messages, one unreturned email, and then finally one last-minute phone call the night before which miraculously got us a 7pm reservation on the next day.

There is no sign on the outside of the resto and there is a strategically placed tv in the restroom which plays a lopped, frenetic promo tape. Despite the difficulty in getting a reservation, service was excellent, and not a 10 minute period went by without waitstaff patrolling by to wipe crumbs off the table or refresh the bread basket.

I enjoyed the strongly cultured butter with my bread. It was tempting to fill up on bread and butter alone, but of course we had other food which had to be eaten. For starters, my husband and I shared a very tender and juicy tomato tarte and some spicy cod fritters which were a tad too salty. I ordered the foie gras cromesquis for myself, which were two bite-sized fried balls of foie gras that were supposed to explode in my mouth. Unfortunately, I was too worried about burning my tongue after being warned by the server to really enjoy them; they merely melted a bit.

I had trouble deciding what to order, but I know that it had to include foie gras. I went with the iconic duck in a can again. Duck in a can was a duck breast, 100g. foie gras, vegetable concoction which is sealed in a can, boiled for 20 minutes, opened with a can opener at your table and smashed into a tower on top of a slice of toast and a parsnip puree. The dark, caramelized vegetables melded with the bread and parsnips and my red, tender duck breast was wonderful with the dreamy foie gras. It’s a very heavy, rich, darkly coloured dish, oozing with a lot of fat, which I think I’ll have to overlook the next time I dine at this resto.

We were disappointed to hear that the maple stout floater was not available, as we had remembered it quite fondly from out last visit over the summer, and opted to split the poached pear and ice cream. It arrived inexplicably swimming in a cold liquored broth. I enjoyed the bit of intensely vanilla ice cream, but the pear reeked too strongly of alcohol to really enjoy. My decaf latte tasted like water after the richness of the meal.

This is not a resto for the faint of stomach or appetite, nor is it an ideal place for children. It can get very noisy, and depending on who your fellow diners are, it can also get a little rowdy. But the food is inspired and this is definitely a “top 10” resto. I’d recommend going at least twice, however, or even several times, because the more frequently one goes, the less apt one is to try to order everything on the menu at once and pig out.

Metro: Mont-Royal

536 Avenue Duluth Est and Avenue de Chateaubriand

 

See my April 2011 write-up here.

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On a cold, slushy evening we went to this small Syrian resto before we went to see a movie at the nearby Cinema du Parc. No reservations were needed and we were seated right away. Like many low-key Montreal restos, it doesn’t look like much from the outside, and it doesn’t look like much on the spartan brick interior. Fortunately, the food speaks louder than anything else.

The menu is available in both English and French. We ordered three cold mezzes: baba ghannouj, labneh – which I kept mistaking for a very creamy hummus – and beet mutabbal, – a beet puree which is apparently one of their specialties. They look exactly like the pictures online and are very tasty. The small dishes were served with a plastic bag-encased basket of naan which smelled fresh and faintly buttery. I spooned out the mezzes onto my plate and scooped them up with small pieces of the naan. Then came our two meat dishes, Jarret d’agneau grillé avec oignons et tomates, nappé d’une sauce tahini  et yogourt, and a dish with little sausages and potatoes that I didn’t care for since I don’t often enjoy sausage. The lamb was falling off the bone and a wonderful collage of yogurt, parsley, and red onion smothered and enhanced it. I even tried digging out some of bone marrow. It was one hot dish too many for two people; next time we’ll order rice instead.

The whole place felt very real and authentic, though it was decorated like any other Montreal resto. We were treated to live music, a man playing simple ethnic-sounding tunes on a guitar-like instrument. A nearby table of what looked like middle aged regulars sang along to some of the songs he played and cheered after every set. Service was efficient, though perhaps the music made it hard for the server to take our orders. We finished the meal with house-made baklava and espresso. I don’t take coffee with dinner, but drank the extra one that we were given, much to my later regret. It was good coffee, just not what I had wanted.

With only a couple of Middle Eastern restos in Montreal under our belts, we are hardly experts on the local representation of the cuisine. However, this is one of the better ones that we’ve tried and we shall indeed be coming again.

Metro: Mont-Royal (though it’s really not that close)

4629 Avenue du Parc and Rue Villeneuve Ouest

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Au Pied du Cochon is one of those contemporary “upscale downscale” restos (as my husband puts it) which overemphasizes its downscale quality while providing upscale food and service. They have a successful schtick, and they sell it with just the right degree of over-the-top glee. It can be hard to get a reservation, so plan ahead. There is no sign on the outside of the resto and there is a strategically placed tv in the restroom which plays a lopped, frenetic promo tape. Our reservation was at 5pm, the opening time, and there were quite a number of staff zipping about behind the bar, around tables, and canning. Service was excellent, and not a 10 minute period went by without waitstaff patrolling by to wipe crumbs off the oversized table or refresh the bread basket.

For starters, my husband and I shared the endive and blue cheese salad, an enormous apple-abundant dish which could have been a main course, and a plain-looking cold smoked sausage with toast and mustard.

I had trouble deciding what to order, but I know that it had to include foie gras. I was tempted by the foie gras-stuffed au pied du cochon, but instead opted for the equally iconic duck in a can. Duck in a can was a duck breast, 100g. foie gras, vegetable concoction which is sealed in a can, boiled for 20 minutes, opened with a can opener at your table and smashed into a tower on top of a slice of bread and a parsnip puree. The dark, caramelized vegetables melded with the bread and parsnips and my red, tender duck breast was wonderful with the dreamy foie gras. We shared some hot and crisp duck fat-cooked fries, which were also great dipped into the rich, meaty rendered fat er, sauce which oozed around my plate. While our happily companions split the duck in a can, I don’t think it was absurd to eat it all by myself as well, though perhaps towards the end I resembled the resto’s manic pig emblem a bit too closely.

For dessert, we split a floater, which was maple syrup, club soda, maple ice cream drizzled with Stout made at the table. Delicious, adult, sophisticated, and wonderful after the salty, hearty meal.

This is not a resto for the faint of stomach or appetite, nor is it an ideal place for children. It can get very noisy, and depending on who your fellow diners are, it can also get a little rowdy. But the food is inspired and this is definitely a “top 10” resto.

Metro: Mont-Royal

536 Avenue Duluth Est and Avenue de Chateaubriand

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One ritual that my husband and I have is to immediately follow a visit to St-Viateur Bagel on Mont-Royal with a visit to Petits Gâteaux, a small cupcake boutique that just happens to be on the way to the metro from St-Viateur. Petits Gâteaux looks very girly, with its pink logo and adorable globes of frosting, but don’t fear the frill. No man, woman, or child could pass up these delectable cupcakes, which are everything that a cupcake should be and more. That’s right – they taste every bit as good as they look, from the moist little bits of cake to the creamy swirls or puffpalls of frosting topped with a pinch of garnish.

I recommend sampling the mini cupcakes instead of going for the regular-sized ones. Why? Because you can eat more of them, that’s why! My favorites are the chocolate – which is just chocolate enough – and the coffee. Be prepared to wait in line. It’s not always possible to sit down, so be prepared to take your cupcakes to go.

Metro: Mont-Royal

783 Avenue du Mont Royal Est at

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