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Jul 14, 2006 07:53 PM

Laurent Godbout's Version of Starving

This is a announcement to all chowhounders... there is a brand new concept in dinning emerging in Old Montreal: the 2 hour diet. Last Thursday night my boyfriend and I decided to try a new restaurant, we had JazzFest tickets for 10:30 so we decided to make an evening of it. We attempted to eat at CLub Chasse et Pêche but they only had room at the bar and we wanted something romantic... We headed around the corner to try Laurent Godbout's 2nd restaurant: Versions. 7pm: A very accomodating and professional waiter sat us in the beautiful courtyard. We ordered a nice bottle of wine and a main course each (not very hungry since we had munched during apéro beforehand) My b-friend ordered la Côte de veau and I ordered the Trio de Canard. The entire menu sounded succulent and we had a hard time deciding. 7:15 our bottle arrives we each have a glass. 7:45 we get bread. 8pm the waiter comes by to apologize for the wait and says he saw our plates in the kitchen and it should not be very much longer. The bottle is half empty... 8:30 the waiter is avoiding us, the courtyard is full and the restaurant is filling up, only two tables have food on them... Someting is verrrry wrong. 8:50 we ask for the bill, still no site of the veal or the duck... The waiter insists on the restaurant paying for our bottle which is long finished. He is not to blame so we tip him handsomely for his efforts and his profusive excuses! (We quickly scan the restaurant on our way out, lots of wine on tables and no food, not counting bread...) We ended up eating a quick 5 minute pizza at Piz Pistol (not exactly the romantic gastronomical evening we had in mind) So if you are looking to lose weight, or want to participate in a hunger strike Versions is my recommendation. Anyways, food is so June 2006! Here is hoping this reaches Laurent Godbout so he can rectify such an inexcusable experience.

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  1. I think the chef must have quit and no one knew what to do about it. We came back from Montreal yesterday and during our stay there, our food was always served promptly. But my God, the prices! We're not sure how anyone affords to live there. Except for visits to the Botanical Garden and Insectarium and Biodome, everything was outrageously expensive. What a beautiful city, but we will never return. Quel dommage....

    1 Reply
    1. re: shortchef

      Please explain about the prices. Did you spend all your time in the tourist trap that is Old Montreal? A few high-end, $600-bottle-of-vodka kind of places aside, Montreal is usually thought of -- by residents and by visitors (cf. the "Affordable Montreal" cover of the March issue of Gourmet) -- as delivering great bang for the buck. Oddly enough, not an hour ago, I decided not to read a Veritas thread on the Manhattan board (because V and NYC are out of my league pricewise) and thanked goodness I live in Montreal where, like last night, I can go have a bowl of perfect gaspacho followed by a lovely plate of beef tartare, frites and homemande mayo, all washed down with a well-filled glass of an obscure, characterful Loire pinot noir, in a chic setting at 11 in the evening, and walk away paying C$40, taxes and generous tip included (this was at Leméac). A few nights ago, three friends and I pigged out at a Portuguese resto, dining on delicous grilled chicken, chorizo, pork steak, beef short ribs, fries, rice, salad and flan for something like C$25 a person, including a bottle of decent red wine. Really, I think there are few other places in North America where I could eat -- at home or out -- as well as I do for as little as I pay. If you know of any, please clue us in.

    2. This happens because the restaurants most of you guys keep recommending ad nauseum are outrageously expensive. I agree that Montreal can be done on the cheap because it's my reality. We can't all afford Joe Beef, CCP, etc.

      That being said, shortchef where exactly did you eat? I, personally, stick to smaller, non-downtown restos.

      2 Replies
      1. re: C70

        Sure, most people (myself included) would go broke if they ate at the top restaurants every night. But a lot of visitors, judging by many of the questions posted, very much want to go out to fancy places every night (or even two or three times a day in some cases) when they're on vacation, so you can hardly fault people for answering those queries.

        Still, cheap eats get discussed here too, and surely there would be more if more people would explicitly say that's what they want.

        All of which has essentially nothing to do with the cost of living. The fact is that Montreal's cost of living is still among the lowest for major North American cities, despite recent increases. That even extends to the relative prices of high-end restaurants, judging by what I've read of, say, New York, Toronto and Vancouver.

        1. re: C70

          The reason some of these places are repeated ad nauseum is that they represent the best that the city has to offer. They are seldom recommended to people who clearly state that they are on a budget. When people are on vacation in our fair city shouldn't they see what Montreal chefs at their best?

          I personally feel that a Harveys hamburger is far superior to Burger King or McDonalds but would I recommend it to someone who only has three days in Montreal unless they tell me that they can only afford a burger and fries and not even a more gourmet burger experience such as La Paryse.

          And for the record, many of us ad nauseum supporters of Joe Beef et al only eat there infrequently or on very special ocassions.

        2. I'M really as to where you went. Like Carswell said, I suspect you stuck to Old Montreal where many restaurants are less than decent and most of them overcharge for what you get. Around my neighborhood (Le Plateau), I can get great breakfast for avout $10 or even less at some places. I can get a great lunch for between $10 and $20 and if I go crazy, I'll spend $30-$40 on a dinner and I'll have a glass of wine if not 2. I strongly recommend you stay from NYC or even Boston for thar matter if you think Montreal's expensive because there, the prices are out of this world in many places.

          As a matter of fact, a weekend article in La Presse reveals that the average price for a dinner os $36.80 in Boston, $48.60 in New York, $35.50$ in Chivago and, get this, only $26.70 in Montreal. How expensive is that?

          1. I agree that Montreal has excellent food and lower prices in comparison to many other places in the world.
            Everyone - can you name some of those places you go to that are inexpensive? Five years ago or so I used to go to Mt.Royal Hot Dog for breakfast/brunch, but they went down in quality once renovated. Other places for approx $10 or less for breakfast/brunch? I go to the Plateau, Gay Village & downtown areas frequently.
            For lunch - recs.?
            My own find is Portuguese Chez Doval which has a lunch special even on Saturdays! 8.95 to 9.50 includes soup, dessert & coffee (espresso or allonge).
            How about for dinner on a budget? Say $15, no wine.

            3 Replies
            1. re: leeds

              Off the top of my head, 4 places to eat great supper under 15$

              Puca Puca on St-Laurent (don't tell anyone)
              Villa Wellington (peruvian) and les Délices de l'ile Maurice in Verdun

              And get this: Au Pied de Cochon! That's right, although prices have gone up, you can either order 3-4 appetizers (for 2) and/or choose carefully from the main menu. You'll be well fed at a great price!

              1. re: ScoobySnacks20

                Please tell me Puca Puca is back to its excellence of about 7+ years ago. Last time I went, maybe two years ago, it had seriously slipped. It wasn't bad, but it definitely wasn't "something special" anymore. For one thing, the truly divine potatoes were simply gone...

                1. re: Mr F

                  Sorry to report my info on Puca Puca is a little outdated since I moved away from the area last year.

                  It would be a shame if they started cutting back on the quality to keep their ridiculously low 12$ 3-course meal. Typical restaurant mistake thinking your customers will not fork out just a couple more dollars when we all know inflation affect everyone.

                  I can still taste the Skate wing I had there last time though. I also have fond memories of their wine pricing... 50$ for 2, taxes, tip and a very decent bottle of Sauvignon indluded...

            2. the reason why you waited so long is that Laurent has treated his kitchen staff badly for so long, that most of his key members quit over the last few months and he is extremely understaffed.