Reviews : Joe Beef & Decca 77.
(sorry about the "french-glish" long review )
I wanted to do a review of JB a couple of days ago, but I could not find the words for it, and in the meantime, I went to Decca 77, and I'm taking the opportunity to compare and contrast those 2 really different restaurants.
Joe Beef might be one of the quintessential restaurant of Montreal, small, cozy, fun, good food, good atmosphere, while Decca 77 could be the quintessential hotel, or big city restaurant, large space, hip, hip, fashionista, lawyer's 5 à 7, good food, but not really cozy or fun.
Couple of things both place have in common are the service quality and the food quality.
For the specifics.
I was surprise at how small the restaurant really is, I knew it was small from reading the different reviews, but not that small ! I like it, and I felt really comfortable seating there and spending some time eating and drinking. The small space also reflect what this restaurant is, and what it project as one; a place where people come to have fun, and be around people who share the same "joie de vivre" in the montreal sense of it.
Decca 77 space is "vertically" huge, very high ceilings, but horizontally "challenged"; it's quite surprising when coming in from the bar area; I sat at the bar for a drink, and the bar it self is small, 10-ish places and maybe small tables for people who want to sit; the whole restaurant and bar is located on the corner of the IBM tower, and the restaurant side is located on the drummond side, in front of a very nice downtown parking !!! so the view is not that nice !!! again, I was surprised at how small it is, they have what, place for more or less 60 persons ?
At Joe Beef, it's written on the wall, and the menu looks promising both on the "entrées" and the "plats principaux"; I cannot remember every items, but they all looked good !
We ordered one "Salade de Pissenlits avec lardons" and "large" clams stuffed with "Crabe des neiges", the first was good and the lardons crispy and the clams were wonderfully stuffed !! ( I love crab),
The Plats were the duck magret with "figues sauce" and the "Chop" de Porc (smoked) with apple; both meat were cooked as expected, the Porc was really a surprise, I was not expecting it to be smoked ( lightly). one highlight was the artichoke "fritters" as a side dish, that WAS GOOD, served with a spicy-ish mayo dip.
As for desert, they were good and mostly light after some large portions; a fromage "blanc" with a reduction of muscat grapes, and some straberries with mint and vanilla ice cream.
The wine list is ok, looked cool from top to bottom; we (I) decided to go for a bottle of a Ridge Three Valley Zinfandel blend.
all in all, a really nice evening.
At Decca 77; we have a completely different agenda when doing food, this is more "upscale", more what "people" want when dining in that kind of place. I decided to have the "Menu Fixe" which is a STEAL as $35. The amuse bouche was Unagi with a lobster sauce, very good, me want more. The "entrée" was a cold mussel salad with "coco" white beans; very good and interesting combination of flavour and texture, that was served with a glass of dry muscadet (good). The "Plat principal" was a duo of veal, on one side a fritter of "Cheeks" and on the other side, a veal chop (?); The fritter was "strange", maybe I'm just not used to eat fried food, but it was good, the "friture" was light ( breading) and the cheek was very tender, on the other side, the main veal piece was nicelly cooked and was ok; the wine served with this was a "K5 Domaine de L'Oustal Blanc" a red from the south of France; a suggestion of the sommelier, and I was surprised, it was not the most expansive selection. kudos. and it was good !!
For desert, I had a concoction of almond, citrus and coconut, hard for me to describe better, but it WAS GOOD !!! it's been a while since I really liked a desert !
2 different experiences from 2 very different restaurants.
in short, JB for the ambience and the food; decca 77 for the food and the $35 prix fixe menu
as a side note; at JB, a young couple, completely "wasted" and drunk came in, they sat down and started to make a "ruckus"; not too much but I think disturbed the people next to them, so they were politely "expelled" quite fast!! lol and the owner trying to explain to the guy outside that, yeah it's fun to get drunk and be on the "party" but not like that and not at his restaurant.
That's it That's all.
Have eaten at both and come from a very different perspective than yours. At Decca, as a vegetarian, I was completely insulted to receive as my main dish a very non-descript plate of penne and tomato sauce. I think they keep it on hand for people who might inappropriately decide to bring their children to this resto. I had asked the waiter to please have the chef prepare a main plate using whatever vegetables were being served that day. A couple of months later my husband's office had their X-mas party at Decca. They had the bar area and mezzanine for their private use ( about40 people). The ambience was fabulous. Food was good but some employees complained about small portions. I couldn't believe that I was served the same pasta dish again. I won't bore you with the details of what followed. Overall however other than being quite pricey the X-mas party was a great success.
Joe Beef is not the place for a vegetarian even though they will tell you otherwise. I cook a lot at home so am not looking for comfort food when I go out. My greatest pleasure in dining out is generally in the plate presentation. This was totally lacking in all four of the dishes that we ordered that night. Although my husband enjoyed his dinner at JB, the rest of our party would not go back again.