APDC, Les Montees de Lait, Joe Beef - Reviews
We just returned from a long weekend in Montreal -- we ate at three great restaurants thanks to the recommendations of chowhound. I've never actually written a review before, so I'll apology in advance for any rookie mistakes.
APDC - We ate here our first night in Montreal. We had attempted to make reservations through the website, but somehow the reservations never made it into their book. Our hotel concierge was nice enough to take care of securing us a table 2 days prior to our trip. I wish we had a place like this in NY - incredibly unique and very good food. I had been a bit nervous to try this place as neither of us are particularly big fans of foie gras. We ordered based on our server's recommendations. Very casual restaurant, people are here to relax and enjoy their food.
We started by sharing the poutine. All I can say is wow - I didn't know foie gras could taste that good or that it could go so well with fries. It's certainly not a dish for those who are worried about their cholesterol.
My fiance had the duck in a can for his main course. This is, without a doubt, the most unique dish I've ever seen served. He loved it. I was a bit more on the boring side and had the lamb shank which was quite large and quite good. By that point we were compeletely stuffed and skipped dessert.
We each had one glass of white wine which was recommended by our server and went well with both of our dishes. Total with tax and tip was about 130 CAD.
Our second night in Montreal found us at Les Montees de Lait. It's clearly a local place as we were the only folks who spoke English in there. Even though we were close to 30 minutes late for our 8pm reservation, they seated us right away. Though the restaurant was half empty when we walked in at 8:30, it was full by 9pm. We each had opted to have the four course menu. My fiance and I were both thoroughly impressed by the depth of the wine list here and it was by far the most comprehensive listing of the three places.
My fiance started with a halibut dish that was a special for the evening and was excellent according to him - he didn't share that one so I'm assuming it was quite good. His second course was also a special and was escargot cooked into a ravioli. The escargot were incredibly tender, with just the right amount of garlic cooked with it. He didn't like this dish as much as his first, but it was also his first attempt at escargot. He then followed with the venison dish that was also very well done and finished off the evening with the pot de creme dessert that he claims was the best he's ever had.
I followed our servers recommendations when ordering my meal - I started off with the blue fin tuna dish which was good, but nothing special. It's a "safe" dish to start with, but I've had similar preparations at many different places. Next course was goat cheese and grilled eggplant, which was a combination I had never had before. It worked, but was very rich and very filling to the point where I could not finish it. Pork belly was my third course which was quite excellent- this dish was the highlight of my meal. For dessert I had the chocolate mousse which was a little too far on the bitter side for my tastes, but I'm not that big a fan of chocolate in the first place.
We each had a different glass of white wine and of red wine that were well-paired to our meals. The only hiccup in the meal was the service between our third and fourth courses - it took nearly 40 minutes between courses, despite our request for a menu. Total with tax and tip was about 160 CAD.
For our last night we ventured to Joe Beef. This was the place that we had the highest expectations for given all the buzz around it. We arrived a bit early for our 7pm reservations and were seated without a problem. Tables are very close together making it very difficult to have a private conversations.
We each ordered an appetizer and a main, our server chose a wonderful red wine to pair our meals to. I would say this was the best choice of the three places we went to in terms of pairing.
My fiance started out with the rabbit appetizer. He was happy with the preparation and left none of it behind. He ordered the sirloin for his main course as he really wanted meat and he certainly got it. The portion size was enormous - I think we both could have shared it and left full. It was cooked perfectly to his specifications and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. Very good.
I started with the soup made with pork, artichokes, and fall vegetables cooked in a chicken broth base. Not that exciting a dish, but very good. For the main, I had one of the evenings specials which was halibut, scallops, and clams. Tremendous portion size, and everything cooked incredibly well.
Though there were no disappointments at all with the meal, this is the place that we'd be least likely to return to in the future. I can't really put my finger on why, but it wasn't as unique as the other two - it was just missing something -- although it may very well have been our high expectations. But the food was still very very good. Total with tax and tip was 160CAD.
The glasses of wine never ran us more than 12 CAD per glass, which was quite reasonable, especially when compared to the prices in NYC. I thought all the restaurants offered a good value for the meal they were providing.
My wife and I took some friends to Joe Beef Wednesday night. As has been written before, it’s a tiny, tiny place with maybe 40 seats tops. There were no menus. Everything was written, in French, on a big blackboard that covers one wall. My wife and I translated for our friends and I tell you it was very hard to choose.
For starters we chose a Mushroom soup, a Smoked Salmon plate, and Sweetbreads with a Salad of Cabbage, Apple, and Bacon. The mushroom soup was rich and creamy and topped with truffle oil foam. The sweetbreads and bacon were beautifully crisp and nutty and the cabbage and apples perfectly dressed. I didn't get a taste of the smoked salmon, but my wife and our friend seemed to be really enjoying it.
For mains we got a Hanger Steak with Beaujolais sauce, Braised Beef with Carrots, Chicken with Crayfish, and Sheppard’s Pie. We let our server pick the wine for us, a spicy Cote-du-Rhone which matched the food beautifully.
Many were the shameless moans of pleasure coming from our table as we demolished our food. Particular standouts were the braised beef which came with really, really fresh heirloom carrots and a roasted marrow bone and the chicken, which consisted of braised legs sitting in creamy crayfish bisque and covered with fresh truffles!
The steak was tender and perfectly cooked and the Sheppard's pie was a deeply flavorful beef bourguignon topped with mashed potatoes enriched with aged Canadian cheddar. We gave each other little tastes of each other’s dishes and ooh’d and ahh’d a lot.
Desserts consisted of a crisp meringue with berries and whipped cream, and an éclair filled with chocolate nougat cream and brandied cherries. The servers brought out little pitchers of bittersweet chocolate sauce which they ceremoniously poured over the meringue and the éclair. That was really fun. One of our friends got a special dessert the kitchen had made just moments before: Canneles, which were little vanilla cupcakes with a crunchy caramel exterior and a moist center. They came with pots of not too sweet apple sauce and Crème Anglaise for dipping. My wife showed remarkable restraint and contented herself with tastes off of everyone’s plates.
This meal was the highlight of our trip. The food was fresh and tasty. Our server was friendly, helpful and well informed about the food and the wine list. My wife and I were very pleased and our friends were thrilled. I would go back again in a New York minute.