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Jul 17, 2007 01:42 PM

Steakhouse in Montreal?

I'm taking a relatively large non-foodie crowd out for dinner in Montreal, and I've been ordered that we must do steak (of course, I would much prefer French, but these folks are not gastronomes). Anyhoo, does anyone have any suggestions for a fun, large group-accessible steakhouse that won't break the bank? I know, I know, I'm embarrassed to be asking . . .

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  1. Le Steak Frites St-Paul could do the trick.

    The one on St-Antoine is pretty big and easily accessible. Plus they are BYOW.

    4 Replies
    1. re: SnackHappy

      A bit of a tangent, but do steakhouses in Montreal really use "Montreal steak seasoning"?

      1. re: Bill on Capitol Hill

        Not as a matter of course. I'm pretty sure I've encountered it locally only in delis, which would make sense since it's reportedly related to the spice blend used for smoked meat. In fact, it seems to be more popular in the States than here; US-based McCormick -- not a big name in Quebec -- appears to be the main manufacturer and none of my foodie friends, even the grill fiends, has a bottle in his or her pantry.

        Barry Lazar's interesting article on Montreal steak seasoning (aka Montreal steak spice), originally published in his book *Taste of Montreal : Tracking Down the Foods of the World*, is available online at

        1. re: carswell

          Montreal steak spice have seen mostly locally in smoked meat delis, but I've seen it on a rare occasion at Montreal steakhouses. Although at the Montreal steakhouses that have it(Moishes I believe from memory), I'm not sure they call it 'Montreal steak spice.' They might just call it 'steak spice.' From what I hear(not sure it's true), Montreal steak spice was originally developed for Schwartz's

          1. re: carswell

            Montreal Steak Spice is also really popular in western Canada (Alberta). It seems to have been elevated to the same status as ranch dressing in that some people put it on anything savory they eat.

      2. I'm reading the write-up in Voir, and if there are any non-red-meat eaters in your bunch, they can find cuisses de canard confites (confit of duck legs) or salmon. Vegetarians would have to make do with the salads and sides including green beans, a brochette of grilled veg or sautéed mushrooms.

        Actually steak-frites is very French; not all people on the other side of the pond are fins gastronomes...

        1. Maybe you could ask your group to take a look at the menu at Lemeac. With items like Hanger steak, Braised short rib, Grilled veal chop, Rack of lamb and Angus filet mignon your fancy food weary diners might find somerthing to their liking. Also Lemeac is a bistro so it's not at all intimidating or really that fancy. Then you could get your French food and they could get their meat and potatoes.

          3 Replies
          1. re: SnackHappy

            Yes, one of the classic bistros -- Holder, L'Express, Le Continental in addition to Leméac -- would be a good compromise. They always have steak in one form or another as well as plenty of options for the more adventurous. Of course, if what the group wants is a steakhouse atmosphere and all the trimmings (creamed spinach, baked potato with sour cream and chives, etc.) that you'll find on every steakhouse menu from Petaluma to Peoria, then a bistro won't fill the bill and one of the less unaffordable local steak palaces (Le Keg?) will have to do.

            1. re: carswell

              Matty, can you give us more feedback as to the type of group (business meeting, other), budget constraints etc? I suspect you want something that can be easily costed per person, but who knows, could be wrong about that (I've had to take part in organising such things in the past, with the complication of guests from several continents).

              I've never heard about creamed spinach at steak places; is that a US idea? That is not what I'd serve creamed spinach with...

              1. re: lagatta

                Yeah, creamed spinach is pretty much a U.S. steakhouse standard. Never cared for it myself.

          2. At the same time I'd assume this is a kind of business, association or corporate dinner, and understand the need to keep it simple. There are possible alternatives for non-steak eaters, and people with health concerns or taste preferences can substitute vegetables (at a slight surcharge) for the frites.

            I don't know if one is allowed to bring a vinier (bag-in-box) to a byow restaurant, when it is obviously for a large group of people and not for a couple getting horrifically sloshed. If not, there are wine logistics to work out. But it is a big saving. I'm sure St-Paul has hosted many such events.

            2 Replies
            1. re: lagatta

              I've seen viniers in BYOWs. Not at fancy restaurants, but i've seen them.

              1. re: SnackHappy

                Creamed spinach is a traditional side at Peter Luger's

            2. Depending on your tastes, Magnan's can fill the bill for fun and kitsch, groups and budget.