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Authentic southern bbq in montreal

Looking for info about a new smokehouse in montreal called "BOFINGER" in NDG.

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    1. re: SnackHappy

      Thanks for the info I may go try it tonight. I have family from the southern states and they are always looking for Good old fashioned bbq up here. We tried Mesquite a few months ago but it was disgusting and dirty and the owner didn't seem to care when we tried to explain real bbq.

      1. re: montrealbelle

        Bofinger is a disaster. This place makes Mequite look good. I cannot fathem how 2 owners of decent restaurants are putting out this garbage. I spent $25 and had to eat a nutribar for dinner. Even though I'm a chef and caterer ANYONE would have agreed what was put in those boxes was barely dog food. I ordered a sampling to go with all sauces on the side so I could evaluate the meat on it's own; brisket sandwich, pulled pork sandwich and beef ribs along with 3 sauces and cole slaw. I opened the slaw first and it looked like it had been sliced by someone blindfolded. There weren't 2 pieces the same size. It was thick cut and drenched with some weird oil based dressing. Who makes slaw with oil? This was a bad sign-if you can't pull off a decent slaw how can you produce succulent tasty meat out of a smoker? 0/10. When I opened the brisket sandwich I saw 4 thin dried out slices from the flat that looked like they had been run over by a car. Incredibly, there were grill marks on them which is like a neon sign flashing "we don't know what we're doing". The bun was so oversized for the lame portion it looked ridiculous. I picked up a slice and tried to pull it apart and I couldn't tear it pulling hard. I took a small bite and spit it out, 0/10. The sauce was very mediocre and had a puddle of oil on top of it. Next was the pulled pork. Same bun with old looking pork, 1/4 pound max. When I took a bite of this sandwich then looked at the cross section it was 80% bread, 20% pork. It was decent with a smoky kick and very uninspiring, 5/10. The sauce was some kind of mustard concoction. I tasted it 5 times and could not figure out what was in it. I saved the beef ribs for last. I've been smoking them myself for a while and realy love them when they're cooked right. They looked good but very encrusted with rub. My first bite left me with way too much rub and the meat was totally under done. Fatty, tough, not even close to fall off the bone. These could have cooked for at least 2 more hours. The back of the rib still had the membrane on and was covered with fat, 1/10. All the food came in boxes that were closed with 3 staples. I cut myself opening a box-why use staples if there is a chance one could land in your food? Also no menus to give with your order and no address on the menus.
        Authentic BBQ is a labor of love, a time consuming nurturing process that can only be acheived with a passion and respect for the process. Judging from what I sampled, the way customers were being handled by staff and what I saw in the kitchen, these people do not understand BBQ or service. How dare they call themselves a smokehouse. I give this place 6 months.

        1. re: Scener

          Consider giving Bofinger another chance. For starters, I think you missed out on their best dish, which is the pork ribs. The chicken is a close second. I realize it is difficult to consider revisiting any place given the type of experince you had, but bbq is different. I know they are very choosy with all of their ingredients and everything is from scratch with no MSG, so the quality is there. Each cut of meat is cooking for anywhere from 6-18+ hours, so it may take some time for the kitchen to be completely consistent.
          That said, I have a near constant craving for the pork ribs which are as good or better than anything you can get north of the Mason-Dixon line. Remeber these ribs are slow smoked using real hardwood (I've seen the flames and tasted the smoke), so they should be tender but still have a little "chew" (i.e., not completely fall off the bone which is an indication of over-cooking or worse yet - boiling). Also, I caution you 6 ribs is more than any one person needs, although it is a lot of fun to try and eat them all.

          1. re: lesupperclub

            Any idea what kind of smoker Bofinger uses(one of those big rigs from the US)?

          2. re: Scener

            I couldn't agree with you more. I wish I read this before having a Bofinger nightmare of my own.

            1. re: tastyfood

              Care to elaborate? You obviously must feel strongly about your experience since this is your first post on CH. What happened?

      2. I ate there last week before the review came out, here are my impressions:

        The pulled pork was great but the beef brisket was terrible, way undercooked. The sauces were delish!

        Also, I can believe she said the mac’n’cheese was good. It was Kraft-like but without any flavor. I was expecting yummy cheesy-gooey noodles and all I got were orange covered elbow macaroni.

        The owner is super nice – old owner of the Clermont- who teamed up with the owner of La Louisiane to open up this place. It pretty nice and I hope they stick around, but the food needs some tweaking.

        17 Replies
        1. re: Arktik

          Arktik, do you know which specific "old owners" of Claremont to open this up? You can PM me if you don't want to post names on the board. Thanks.

            1. re: ios94

              According to a chef's blog, the owners are Kyle Kerr and Stephane Nanny. See: http://soupnancy.squarespace.com/bits...

              I had lunch there today and was delighted with my smoked chicken sandwich drenched in sauce & generous, tasty sides of cucumber salad & dill-scented baked beans. I'll be back for sure. My husband also enjoyed his pulled-pork sandwich. Reminded me a bit of Black Camel in Toronto - down to the B&W colour scheme - http://www.blackcamel.ca/

              A nice change from Mesquite, which I also love. Montrealbelle - so sorry to hear you had such a bad experience. I've been there dozens of times and never had an issue with either cleanliness or politeness. Let us know what you think of Bofinger.

              1. re: kpzoo

                OK, cool. I used to work at Claremont that's why I was curious. I will definitely check out Bofinger.

                As for Mesquite, I have been there only once and was not highly impressed but we are willing to give it another chance sometime soon. If I'm not mistaken the menu states that their sandwiches are served on (I believe Portugeuse buns, or some specific bun) unforutnately it was served on those grocery store cardboard buns, it seemed that our order was delayed and/or sitting under the heat lamp for a long time and I wasn't too impressed with the sauce.

                1. re: ios94

                  Due to this thread, I went to Bofinger last night. It wasn't bad, it wasn't great; just kinda so-so. I got there around dinner hour. The place was beginning to pack up and people were milling around the cash, ordering and paying for their meals, and just staring at a big menu behind the counter - which, incidentally, is all in French. There's a smaller menu on the counter itself, which is in English. It was my bad luck to be stuck behind a couple and their prepubescent daughter, who couldn't decide what she wanted and was taking forever to place an order. Finally, it was my turn and I ordered the pulled pork sandwhich combo with two sides. I got the mac and cheese and potato salad. The sides were a real disappointment, both were bland and tasted like substandard fare that you'd get at a fast food type of place. The mac and cheese was just a step up from Kraft Dinner, swirled pasta covered in a thick cheese sauce. It didn't have the oomph and ahh of a good mac'n'cheese. The potato salad was even less interesting. Chunks of red potato that were still slightly undercooked; crunchy, in a light mayo type dressing with bits of red onion and utterly bland, no salt, no flava, and no taste. The pulled pork sandwhich was better. The pork was well cooked, stringy and chunky, and garnished with coleslaw and texas style bbq sauce. The sauce was smokey, tangy, and slightly spicy which suited me just fine as that I don't have a high heat (chili) tolerance. Alas, there wasn't enough sauce on my sandwhich, and the coleslaw was also bland, adding only texture but no taste to the sandwhich. The bun itself was nice, slightly crispy exterior with a soft doughy interior.

                  Having said all that, I would still give Bofinger another shot. The place does have potential, and the staff are friendly and polite. However, since the place is new, there are still a couple of kinks that need to be worked out. Namely, the disorganization in placing an order, paying, and being served at the counter. Bofinger's current set-up seems to be confusing new clients. Immediately, when you walk in, you're struck by the delightful smokey bbq scents, the smokey atmosphere (literally cause of the food being cooked in the back), the honky-tonk blues blaring in the background, and the black and white diner decor. The booths would indicate that you sit yourself down and wait until a server comes to your table and takes your order. That's not the way it works for the most part. You go to the counter, place your order, find a seat and then wait until they call your name at the cash. You then go and pick up your food and sidle back to your seat. That doesn't sound bad in theory, but when it's packed, the folks behind the counter and working the cashier are bombarded. Trying to take new orders while clients that have already eaten are trying to pay for their meals. To compound matters, last night, there seemed to be only one girl working the cash, and she was trying to juggle taking new orders, clients trying to pay for their meals, AND garnishing the dishes. A part of the counter contains a buffet style compartment of garnishings for the sandwiches (a la Subway). The poor girl was doing triple duty. In my opinion, this is a real weakness in disorganization. Clients were getting impatient and upset with all the waiting. Those that wanted to order had to compete with those that wanted to pay. Exacerbating the situation are that people that are unfamiliar with the food are left milling around the counter reading the menus and trying to figure out what they want.

                  Another oddity is that seems to be only one set of salt and pepper shakers inside the entire restaurant. Next to the soft-drink fountain, there's a set of salt and pepper shakers for patrons to use. The communal idea of sharing is nice but ultimately impratical when dealing with so many people. When I wanted to add salt and pepper to my ultra bland potato salad, I had to get up from my seat and get the shakers. It's not just getting up and getting the shakers that is inconvienent, but what if someone else had taken the shakers to their table? With that many people that are all eating at the same time, small salt and pepper shakers should be at every table and counter!

                  Given my rather damning review, I'd still go back. As I said, I think the place has potential. While I was eating my sandwhich, I saw other clients tucking into giant size sizzlin' ribs. This is probably the signature dish and the one that keeps clients coming back.

                  Chai Latte gives Bofinger two and half stars. One star for the food and the other one and half for the friendly service. The poor girl behind the counter was swamped but still found it in her to be polite and friendly.

                  1. re: Chai Latte

                    That’s a pretty accurate assessment. I went on a Monday afternoon so I didn’t encounter the “bottlenecking” problem at the cash but even at that, the cashier was taking my order on a little notepad and I can only imagine the confusion if there were more that a few people hanging around. It’s too bad, given that a lot of people will be flocking there after the Hour’s review; that’s when you want to impress people so they will come back.

                    Despite everything, I’m with you…I will give it another shot. Maybe try the ribs…

                    As for Mesquite, I have only heard bad things about it so I never stopped to check it out…

                    1. re: Arktik

                      If you want "authentic" BBQ then you want food that is smoked in a smoker, using wood - not baked in an oven. I haven't been to Bofinger yet, but I will walk in and if they are using gas or electric I won't even bother eating there. If they are using a new-fangled smoking machine that uses little woodchip blocks or somthing like that, I may place an order.

                      Besides building my own smoker, the closest authentic bbq is in Putney, Vermont, at Curtis' BBQ, and a couple of other joints in New England.

                      1. re: spankyhorowitz

                        Don't get me started on Curtis. He does open pit BBQ and to me that's no different from grilling. Also check the New England board. It comes up again and again that the quality of his Q is not consistent.
                        But as for Bofinger's, well anytime anyone says "Authentic Southern BBQ", I get suspicious because there is no such thing. Different regions of the Southern U.S. have distinctly different styles.

                        "Authentic Southern BBQ" which my wife, who grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, calls "Yankee BBQ", usually means boiled, braised, or baked meat with a sweet sauce (containing liquid smoke) glazed on at the last minute when it's reheated for service.

                        Here's a simple BBQ test. Order your meat WITHOUT any sauce. Is it still interesting? Does it still have a smoky flavor? In the case of ribs, is it tender with no chewiness whatsoever and does the little connective tissue that remains seem to have a melting quality? If you can answer yes to these questions, congratulations! You found a place that makes good Q. If the answer is no, then I would give the place a pass.

                        1. re: rcianci

                          I don't believe that it is Bofinger's claim that they do "Authentic" anything. That's just the title of this thread. The full name of the place is Bofinger Barbecue Smokehouse. Anyway, I'll ask how they smoke their stuff, next time I go. It is smoked, though. It's not baked like how St-Hubert (and I suspect Baton Rouge) ribs are.

                    2. re: Chai Latte

                      I agree with everything Chai Latte wrote. They really need to work out some better ordering system. A form perhaps? Some sort of dupe system?

                      Overall we had a nice experience there, last night. The meat is really good, but they're a bit stingy on the sauce in the sandwiches. I didn't really like the condiments bar concept. I wish they would just have set recipes for everything. There's a nice selection of hot sauces. In all the confusion around the counter, I really didn't have time to check them out. I felt kind of pressed to move along.

                      The mac & cheese is really bland and not worth ordering. The coleslaw was too oily for my taste, but my dinner partners liked it just fine. The fries were alright. A bit on the dry side, but not too bad.

                      The ambiance and decor were nice. The fake distressed furniture is a bit cheesy. They really should have salt and pepper shakers and hot sauce at the tables, though.

                      Anyway, I'll be going back when it's less busy to try the ribs. I certainly hope they work out the kinks soon. With a few improvements, this place could be really great, and somewhere I would go on a regularr basis.

                      1. re: SnackHappy

                        Hi SnackHappy,

                        Just out of curiosity, what did you have at Bofinger? It sounds like you had one of their sandwich combos.

                        1. re: Chai Latte

                          rcianci - I agree.
                          I have eaten barbecue all across the Carolinas and Georgia, as well as Kansas City, and I have experienced the sevral different types of authentic barbecue that come from those places.
                          I haven't been to Curtis' in about 5 years, but back then it was pretty good...

                          I was at Tom Jenkins in Florida last week and I was happy as it was much better than anything here, but still I wasn't thrilled.

                          1. re: spankyhorowitz

                            Spanky or anyone else here, tried the Southern BBQ place Karl le Gros that was in Pointe-Claire until it closed around 2-3 years ago? If you have, curious what you thought of it. I had tried them twice & found it fairly good, but I haven't tried the top Southern BBQ places outside Montreal.

                          2. re: Chai Latte

                            I had the Cuban sandwich which, appart from not being very authentic, was rather good. My dining parters had a Po Boy and smoked lamb. The Po Boy was good, but did not stir-up memories of New Orleans. The main culprit with both sanwiches was the bread. They use Portuguese type rolls. I like that bread, but it's not what I'd use to make a Cubano or a Po Boy.

                              1. re: rcianci

                                The lamb was okay, i guess. It was drenched in sauce so i didn't get to taste it by itself but it seemed a bit dry.

                                1. re: SnackHappy

                                  I made it to Bofinger Friday night, my GF and I ordered the pork ribs and the pulled pork sandwich. As some others have mentioned, the ribs need to be cooked for a few more hours as they were not tender enough, the rub was decent but they were quite fatty. Baby back ribs would work better but I guess cost in the issue. I enjoyed the pulled pork though, it was not swimming in BBQ sauce the way it was at Mesquite. I'm not crazy about their system but we didn't have any complaints as we got our food in a timely manner, they should have a wait staff but it seems that they want that "fast food" system so as to get more turnover and more take out. It definitely works in their favor as they get more volume this way. We were probably in there for not more than 30 minutes, if that. I believe that you are getting what you pay for at Bofinger, nothing more nothing less. The food settled well afterwards, another good sign. It didn't seem to have too much butter, MSG, etc...that other places include and make you feel like you are going to keel over.

                                  The place was quite busy but not chaotic, but I could see potential trouble if they get really busy and have people ordering food with nowhere to sit. They should also look into a better vent system. I will be back though.

              2. I went to bofinger last night. My pulled pork was alright but did not have enough sauce (though I think there's a fine line, because at mesquite there was definitely too much).

                I do not recommend getting a nanimo bar at bofinger, because the one I got last night both smelled and tasted like smoke.

                p.s. I made myself a ghetto bofinger po'boy, by ordering pulled pork and sticking my own fries in there. The only difference was the cheese!

                1. Went back, last night. Had the pork ribs with memphis sauce, cucumber salad and baked beans. My first observation is that 6 ribs is way too much for one person, but then again YMMV. I really loved the sides. The cucumber salad was so refreshing. The baladi cucumbers had perfect taste and texture and the dressing was just the right balance of sweet and tart. The baked beans were also delicious if a little undercooked. On to the meat now. The pork back ribs were better than I expected. The rub was vey tasty and the Memphis sauce had a very nice acidic quality that cut through the fattyness of the ribs. The ribs themselves were very moist although they probably could have stayed in the smoker a little longer. Some of the meat was a little too chewy. I wasn't disappointed, though. I thought they were delicious. They did have the membrane still on, though. I wouldn't think it would be a big thing to take it off. I certainly hope they take the membrane off the beef ribs because those things will hurt your teeth.

                  They also have salt and pepper shakers on all the tables, now. So, hurray for us!

                  Overall, this second experience was better than the first. I will be going back to try the beef ribs, soon.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: SnackHappy

                    The difference between Texas barbecue(the original) and Southern Barbecue is that Southern Barbecue is rarely smoked.
                    Here in New York as well as the entire East coast of the states from maine to Florida, Southern Barbeque is synonimous with Soul food, or Southern cooking.
                    The prereqiusites are, as someone has stated previously are, tasty meat or bird, before the sauce, and the most important, fall off the bone tender.
                    If you can pick up the ribs or chicken without some of it falling back on the plate, then it is not authentic Southern Barbecue.
                    I would suggest finding a soul food restaurant, or Baton Rouge

                    1. re: tombombadillo

                      I don't know what baton rouge you've been to, but (though I enjoy it) I have definitely never experienced any meat falling off any bones there.

                  2. I finally went tonight. I was ready to walk out immediately because the girl at the cash was horribly sarcastic and rude. i found their menu confusing and this girl seemed to have no patience for a newcomer not familiar with their choice of sauce. Pettiness aside, the food was mediocre. I think the owner needs to take a trip down to the south to learn a few things about bbq and SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY. Their spicy sauces were not spicy whatsoever. It was nice getting to eat some meat for very reasonable prices but the experience wasn't so great. I certainly am not a fan of the whole java-u look and it would be nice not to have softdrinks in the same plastic coke cup I bought at dollarama. As for the sides, I had the macaroni and cheese, potato salad and coleslaw - my friend and I barely ate any of them because they were flavorless. I give bofinger a meh but I will give it another shot because in the end, the price was right.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: celfie

                      I guess they've fine-tuned since you were there. I was there and service (I don't know if you can call it that) was good. Very patient with a kid who doesn't like a lot of stuff with 'sauce' on it. It was almost kind of fun (sure, the cash girl is a little ascerbic, but I think it's been honed to the point of charm).

                    2. I don't know if the cuisine at La Louisanne fits your description but we had a fabulous meal there last week. Pleasantly surprised on all counts, service, presentation, flavor, accomodating a fussy vegetarian (me) . prices were a tad high, though. It is on Sherbrooke St. West in NDG near Melrose.

                        1. re: carswell

                          Mesquite is quite good, you just have to know what to order. I suggest the chicken leg with side of salad and their fantastic onion rings. As for bofinger, did any one see Sara Musgrave's review in the Gazette last week I think? Quite a different from The Mirror's review.


                          1. re: beckybee

                            Anything changed at BoFinger? Worth a visit?

                            1. re: beckybee

                              I think they've worked out most of the little problems - things can still be a little slow when they're really busy, but the food seems to be fairly consistent. The pulled pork has not disappointed me yet, brisket is usually good (sometimes a little drier than others though), chicken and lamb have been good. Ribs always look good, but I've yet to try them. As for sides, french fries are decent, as are the baked beans and the potato salad. I dislike mac and cheese at the best of times, so I haven't tried theirs, but it's not something I would normally think of ordering with BBQ anyways.
                              There was a review on Montrealfood a little while back -http://www.montrealfood.com/. It's certainly worth trying. I prefer it to Mesquite.

                              1. re: cherylmtl

                                Food is pretty good, but it's not what I would call authentic BBQ. The pulled pork is tasty and worth ordering, but it is a pale imitation of North Carolina pulled pork (dang I miss that stuff, the Southern diet nearly killed me but boy the food is good). The beef ribs are very flavourful but the meat doesn't fall off the bone. Those are the dishes i've had recently. The mac and cheese is disappointing, but i love the cucumber salad, this is their best side by far. I like the cole slaw, even with the oil based dressing. I agree they should cook the potatoes and beans more. I think it is worth going to as there aren't a lot of alternatives in the city, but I'm still going to plan my trip back to the Carolinas soon.

                                1. re: moh

                                  I finally ate at Bofingers last night. Chicken was cold and I couldn't taste any hints of apple in the sauce. Ribs were okay, but any smoke flavour seemed to come from bought liquid smoke. Mac & Cheese was very generic. (I've had better frozen from the grocery store). Coleslaw was unimpressive and lacking any acid. French Fries were really good, though. Music was too Loud & setting a little too hip for Messy chicken and Ribs.

                                  1. re: beckybee

                                    Speaking with Steph (one of the owners) back early this past summer, we were discussing his decision to open bofinger, and the education that they had when assessing which smoker to buy. They have a very large smoker made in the southern states, that is a wood smoker. No liquid smoke in their smoked meats.

                                    They also smoke exclusively on maple. Domestic abundance being the main reason there.

                                    Interestingly enough, I was reading some years back that most folks can not distinguish the difference between the smoking medium.. i however challenge this as when smoking mild foods such as seafood or fish, Mesquite, maple, and hickory are far too strong. In the case of fish and seafood, alder is best.

                                    I digress...

                                    Regardless Bofinger may not be a dictionary definition of southern Q, Kansas Q, or memphis Q,or other Q and does not purport to be. What they are, is Q made in Montreal, and it happens to be some of the better Q in the city. Yes, you can go to Burlington Vt. and other proximate New England q joints, and get a variety of other interpretations of Q, but as stated above, you can not apply the word authentic to something with such regional variances.

                                    1. re: fedelst1

                                      Any reviews of the second Bofinger, that just opened in the West Island? Are they using the same kind of smoker & etc.?

                                      1. re: BLM

                                        went to eat there today for lunch (the one on sources), i can't compare with the original one since i've never been to that one.

                                        I had the pulled pork sandwich which was really good just enough sauce on it. Also tried the mac'n cheese which i find good, cheesy and creamy although no distinctive taste.

                                        Overall i had a good experience, and will surely go back to try the other menu items

                                          1. re: ScoobySnacks20

                                            "Bofinger West Island = Great."

                                            Does that mean it's better than the one in NDG?

                                            I don't even want to go to Bofinger anymore because it's so inconsistent and trying something new is always a crapshoot.

                                            1. re: SnackHappy

                                              I ate there a couple of weeks ago, and had the same beef ribs and sauce that I've had in NDG, and I can't say it was any different. Much like our collective gripe with Asian restaurants, I sure wish their "hot" sauce was actually hot. One of my friends had the pulled pork, despite my warnings, and it was very dry and bordering on inedible. My wife had the same experience in NDG. I travel a lot for work to both Raleigh NC, and San Antonio TX, both of which just happen to be quite well known for their BBQ. Bofinger's ribs are not bad in comparison, but their meats are dreadful.

                                              1. re: bomobob

                                                Comparing Bofinger to good NC stuff is brodering on unfair...

                                                Comparing it to other BBQ here or from a price standpoint to fast food chains, it comes away with flying colors!

                                                1. re: bomobob

                                                  Bofinger's ribs are good, and I like to eat them. Agree with Bomobob's post completely, I tend to stick to the ribs when I go there.

                                                  (am hopefully planning to be in North Carolina very soon..... pulled pork here I come! Yay! And yes, it is unfair to compare Bofingers to good NC stuff, but life is unfair. Really hope this trip comes through!!!)

                                                  1. re: moh

                                                    (I know a really good Korean place in RTP (Raleigh) I can give you directions to....:))

                                                    1. re: bomobob

                                                      Bomobob, I would be very interested in knowing your favorite BBQ places in the Triangle.... I think I put my email on my profile, if you have a chance....

                                                2. re: SnackHappy

                                                  I can't compare to NDG, this is the 1st time I've been.

                                                  The pulled pork had an intense smoke flavour. I little on the dry side but in a good way as the meat stayed tender and had more texture that way. I also asked for sauce on the side (Texas) then poured on top fo the meat because that's the way I roll.
                                                  My GF had the hamburger that she liked very very much while my son had some of the mac & cheese which was bland and creamy (which is the point I guess, but not my style).

                                                  The fries I had were a total dispointment, not properly cooked at too low temperature. I came in early, so I guess the fryers weren't up to heat...

                              2. re: carswell

                                Went to the Downtown Bofinger last week and I must say I was quite disappointed. Yes, fries and 'slaw weren't bad but I thought the ribs were A TOTAL RIP-OFF. Given the thickness of the bones there was hardly any meat available. On top of that, cook-counter boy counted a pair of "Y-shaped" ribs as 4 ribs, not two (after all, there's no meat in between the two bones of a Y-shaped rib). Sadly, I ordered it eat-out and didn't notice this until later.

                                Best part of the meal was the vegetables that I made myself chez-moi.

                                A real disappointment given the prices they charge.

                                Guess it's back up the 401 for some Swiss Chalet ribs for me....

                                1. re: Chow_Hound_Dog

                                  My only experience at the Downtown Bofinger was also a disappointment. I've been to the NDG location several times and have always been satisfied, but Downtown is different. They offer a different variety of sauces, the pricing and menu options are not the same either (downtown is more expensive for fewer ribs) and the ribs themselves seemed smaller - but that may have been just the psychological effect of paying more for less. I'd go back to NDG anytime... just seemed like a better deal....

                                  Are Bofingers franchised? Is the price difference just a consequence of downtown rent?

                                  1. re: grillit

                                    Speaking of NDG Bofinger (only one I've been to), I've also found it delivers consistently good quality and value with one puzzling exception: the quality of the buns used for sandwiches and burgers is extremely variable.

                                    Sometimes it's a decent-quality crusty bun that stands up well to the mass of meat, juices, sauce and garnishes... and sometimes it seems as if they ran out of buns and sent somebody to Esposito's for a couple of bags of generic hamburger buns that quickly get soggy and fall apart.

                                    Is it *that* hard to set up and maintain a steady supply of good buns?

                                    1. re: Mr F

                                      Yeah same here about the buns, i've also been given rotten potatoe salad so i never take any of the sides except fries...the rest are terrible anyways

                                      1. re: cookatlarge

                                        I'm not so down on the sides. I think I've tried them all by now, and the mac and cheese is the only one I definitely wouldn't have again. I rather like the baked beans.

                                        Shame about that potato salad, though. Hope you got satisfaction.

                                      2. re: Mr F

                                        We asked about that a few months back, when the buns started to change - it seems they felt the buns they were using were too large, and were looking for other types. They have gone through a few different versions since, although it seems they've settled on one which unfortunately doesn't hold up to the food terribly well, although it is still much better than the generic hamburger bun they tried at first. But the original buns, even though they were quite large, still worked the best IMHO.

                                        1. re: cherylmtl

                                          I'd never been there before April, when we started preparing to move to the area, and we've seen at least three different buns since then. Personally I don't bother with the sandwiches anymore, but my SO keeps trying and (as of about a week ago) it seems they still haven't settled on a bun. Or have settled on a dubious choice.

                                          Even Dad's, a second-rate bakery at best (we do love it for other reasons), has rolls better than anything seen at Bofinger in the past few months... pity, because it's almost an ideal neighbourhood fast-food joint.

                                          1. re: Mr F

                                            Imagine if Steph were to adopt a nice fresh fluffy Portuguese roll, like the ones at Coco Rico as the base for the Bofinger sandwiches!!!! Now, this would work perfectly.

                                            Perhaps I will just bring him a dozen the next time I head over to the University location for lunch...

                                            and....They got to do something about the line at the University location. I don't know how many times I have seen folks just turn their back on the 20 minute wait.

                                            1. re: fedelst1

                                              "Imagine if Steph were to adopt a nice fresh fluffy Portuguese roll[..]"

                                              I'm pretty sure that's what they used the first time I went there. It was during the first few weeks after it opened. I thought the rolls were too big for the sandwiches, though.

                                                1. re: SnackHappy

                                                  IMHO, a bun that doesn't get soggy and fall apart half way through your meal trumps tradition.

                                                  Granted, the size and other aspects should be more or less appropriate, but if tradition calls for abandoning the bun and eating the contents with a fork... screw tradition.

                                                  (I doubt that's what tradition really calls for, but I'm in no position to say.)

                                                2. re: SnackHappy

                                                  If the rolls were too big. Why couldn't Bofinger simply get a good Portuguese bakery, to make it a little smaller for them?

                                                  1. re: BLM

                                                    It's probably much cheaper to use something that's off the shelf than to order a bespoke bun in limited quantities.

                                                    1. re: SnackHappy

                                                      If they can't find something suitable off the shefl.... They have tried different ones.

                                      3. re: Chow_Hound_Dog

                                        Strange because I just had lunch at the Downtown location today and found it quite superior to its NDG franchise. I did not however order the ribs, both times I went I got pork, once the pulled pork and once the Po Boy, this scary burger with pulled pork, cheese, your choice of sauce (I took crazy hot, which isn't even sizzling note-worthy according to my vietnamese standards, or as the cashier put it "it's for white people", which I found strange because she herself was white) and FRIES. Yes that's one hell of a burger, but it was delicious, and the sauce was much more flavorful than the once served in NDG. My friend ate the housemade smoked sausage sandwich, and it's one of those goodies you wished you grabbed for yourself instead of having to painfully watch your friend savour. The cashier said it is made by a Slovenian which means it is fresh and beats any Maple Leaf product in town ;)

                                        1. re: charlotte.framboise

                                          so what's the concesus - is there any decent BBQ in Montreal? I've been to Mesquite and Bofinger. Mesquite was over priced for bland and uninteresting food. Reminded me of La Louisiane - lame.
                                          Bofinger was OK the first time I checked out the NDG location. I have been to the DDO location several times and it is OK too even though there's a hoser-fest going on with all the hockey crap and sports shows on the tv's (forget if NDG location even has big screen tv's?).
                                          I always get the pork ribs which are ok. Sides are nasty except for fries. I made the mistake of getting a burger there - tasted awful, was it frozen, or just bad quality? I don't know. I do know that Harveys makes a tastier burger... but I disgress.

                                          I just want to find some good soul food and bbq in this city without the trendy hipsters and exorbitant prices. is that too much to ask for?

                                          1. re: anita514

                                            Sadly you've about covered it. As much as I love true authentic BBQ, I'd be happy if both Mesquite and Bofinger went out of business. They do not do the food justice.

                                            That said, I think rotisserie chicken and smoked meat are basically Montreal's indigenous soul food. I find a trip to Chalet BBQ or The Main to be a great antidote to the trendy copy-cat places trying to capitalize on other people's traditions. We have so many restos here in Montreal that have been open for more than 50 years; they may not have pulled pork or brisket but they do have soul!

                                    2. Quick report from tonight's foray at the NDG Bofinger, where we took his parents for supper. Turns out Fridays are Full Rack Day, where for 25$ you get a full rack of pork ribs (about 12-15) and two sides. When you consider that the 5 ribs offering there is 13.99$ or so, this is a good deal. It's not on the menu. I think it also comes with a fountain drink but we took a pitcher of beer, so I'm unsure.

                                      The parental units went for the Memphis sauce, just a hint of heat and some rosemary, we went for the Alabama (I think: the one with cider vinegar) and you could taste the sweet-sourness, and distinction from the Memphis.

                                      Sides were fries, potato salad and slaw.

                                      Well, darnit, it was really good and so plentiful we were unable to finish our servings. The racks were hanging over the sides of the pie plates they use. AND to my utter surprise, the potato salad was tasty (still too much mayo, but the olive bits etc. gave it flavour).

                                      My hands still smell smoky and I don't want to wash them. So, yeah, Full Rack Fridays are worth a repeat visit.