I'm heading to Montreal and I ran into some residents from there who told me I HAD to go to Joe Beef. Anyone second that motion?
Had a fantastic meal there last September. Great food. Great wine list. Generous chef/owner/host. Super-competent service. Friendly, laid-back atmosphere. Book rez early. It's very popular.
The first time that I went to Joe Beef I was somewhat unimpressed. While I thought the food was good I didn't understand what all the fuss was about. Simply put I didn't get it.
However, I returned last fall when they were serving truffles and requested a truffle tasting menu. I will not describe the whole meal, which was fabulous, but only the main plate. It was chicken roasted with black truffles with a vin jaune sauce. While not a huge fan of chicken this was probably the best chicken I ever had in my life and I am a huge fan of truffles, and it was one of the best truffle dishes I ever had. The meat was infused, throughout, with a truffle flavour that was exquisite. That it was paired with an excellent Domaine Bart only added to the experience. For me it is rare that I conjure past flavours, but this one stays with me to be awakened at will.
I think the key to Joe Beef is that it is a place that one must engage, as opposed to a more passive approach. The more you can interact and engage in a conversation with the restaurant the greater will be your experience.