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Dec 10, 2007 05:22 AM

Restaurant Sans Menu - review

Went to this place last week after hearing some talk but not really finding a good review on it. So curiousity, and hunger, made the decision for me.

Service was a bit loosey goosey. While we were a bit indecisive (admittedly) the menu, which was brought over on a chalk board was a bit confusing. However, this shouldn't excuse the fact that we waited around for a good 20 minutes before getting any explanation of how the 'sans menu' works...

In terms of the food. I ordered the Salmon tartare starter and my partner ordered the endive salad. Last time I checked, tartare did not include smoked salmon, nor did it include mayonaise. I, being used to tartares at Lemeac for example, was dumbfounded by this. The starter was palatable, but mainly because I was starving, and definetly not worth the 12$. The endive salad lacked presentation, and the dressing it was drowning in was creaming, something like a Ranch or Ceasar, also very unsettling.

So with the concern looming, we were presented with our main dishes after a loooong delay. I order the bavette d'agneau with carmelized echalotes. I have to admit, the meat was tender fall-off-the-bone, which was very welcomed in our arctic climate. My partners angus was a little less stellar. While she did order it well done, it was quite dry and not all that good at 23$. I could do better on my own grill!

The wine I selected was good, perhaps I am being a bit cynical, but they did try to up-sell me a 55$ bottle when I knew perfectly well that something in the 40$ area would suffice. While the wine list was rather limited (it was also on a chalk board) I did enjoy the fact that the server was gracious enough to decant the wine, which helped open the bouquet immensely.

Overall, I would say, it is good for the area that there is a restaurant with a bit of the plateau vibe. However, it may be worth your while and your dollar to make that trek to a place that is proven with a cuisine that is better organized....

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  1. I wholeheartedly agree. I live in the area and had been meaning to check this place out for years. My girlfriend and I finally went a few months ago and were very disappointed. I don't understand why so many people like this place when there are so many other restaurants that do the same thing so much better.

    I feel quite validated by what you said in the second paragraph about the mayonnaise in the tartare and the Ranch / Caesar dressing. I cooked in restaurants for years and my impression of Sans Menu is that the chef is not professionally trained. It just seems as though some people who like to cook decided to open a restaurant, without all the bother of going to cooking school or apprenticing.

    I'm not inherently against this idea - just don't charge the prices of a fancy Plateau bistro if you're cooking at an amateur level.

    1. Smoked salmon shows up in a lot of salmon tartare these days, sorry to say. Usually the dish is billed as *tartare aux deux saumons* or the like, but not always. Best to inquire before ordering.