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Mar 9, 2008 08:58 AM

Who braved the storm to eat out???

I have been inspired by an experience of a fellow CHer to start this thread. Crappy weather, crazy winds, lots of snow last night, stay in and cook, right? WRONG!!

We had good friends visiting from out of town last night, and we gathered at our place to decide what to eat for dinner. They arrived at our place covered in snow and ice and had to be sent to our bathroom to dry off. But they were still game to go out for dinner, and we narrowed our choices to a restaurant that could be easily and quickly reached by foot. Had I bothered to go out earlier in the day, I would have realized that no restaurant could have met these criteria.

After putting on our war gear, we gamely stepped out into the tempest, and made our way to Lemeac. We had first called to see if we could get a reservation, as we were worried about getting a seating on a Saturday night. 8:00 pm for 5? Noooo Problem! That should have been our first clue to the severity of the storm.

On our way, we formed a human chain so as not to lose anybody in the driving swirling snow. We had to look for paths through the piles of snow blocking the sidewalks, making large detours just to cross the street. We crossed paths with one other foolhardy soul with whom we exchanged an impish grin. Who else was crazy enough to be out in this mess?

When we got to Lemeac, we were surprised that the restaurant was a little over half full. Surprised because we expected it to be nearly deserted.... It is a testament to a restaurant that it can pull in this many people on one of the worst nights of the year. We even noticed the presence of a very famous local celebrity. Most of our party ordered onglet, the Angus beef, the short rib, all great stick-to-your-rib bistro fare that Lemeac does oh so well. I've restarted my diet, so I had the butternut squash soup to start. I didn't notice that it was "gratinee" and was horrified (well, not really) when I saw it arrive with a large cap of golden melted cheese. The soup was really rich and delicious and filling. I also snagged a piece of my friend's house-smoked salmon, and I have to agree with one of the posters that this is a superb smoked salmon, light, subtle, elegant, melt-in-your-mouth. I then followed this up with an entree size steak tartare with matchstick potatoes. This is possibly the best steak tartare I have had. It is fresh and well seasoned, the beef is tender and flavourful. The matchstick potatoes were delicious, but I do have a question: How do you eat the darn things? Tried my fork, and scattered sticks of potato all over the table. And when you finally get them to your mouth, they are sticking in so many directions that little bits break off and fall all over your clothes. You can eat them with your fingers, one by one, but that takes way too long, and if you pick up more than 2 or 3, you run into the same problem of bits breaking off. Well, better for the diet if I don't eat them all, right? I shared the mignardises plate with friends to finish. I enjoyed the fruit jelly, the candy coated hazelnuts, the long thin sweet cookie, the raspberry macaroon but my very favorite was the passion fruit chocolate truffle.

Going back home was a nightmare, because all the blood was rushing to our stomachs to help digest. But we had a great night, and it was fun to see how deserted the world becomes in the middle of a storm.

SO! Anyone else brave the elements to go out to eat?

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  1. Sorry, moh - stayed in and did some baking, watching people walk along saint-laurent from my window :) You're a brave one, that storm was nasty. Now I'm stuffed with apple galette, cognac & orange date squares, chocolate chip cookies, marguerita pizza and quiche Lorraine... could definitely use a walk now that the storm has settled.

    1. A true Montrealer here. We did, we did!!!!

      We had reservations at Decca 77 for a while now, for my hubby's birthday and we decided to brave the weather. Ha! I have never seen anything like it. Downtown was deserted, cars abandoned here, there and everywhere - even on the Ville Marie - why? who knows but there they were. Downtown looked like the "morning (or evening in this case) after the big bang). Swirling snow, wind gusts, and NO PEOPLE!!! We parked maybe half a block from the restaurant - I got blown over (physically) by the wind twice, and I got a great ice pellet facial - when I finally made it into the restaurant, I just looked at the guy and said, well, I was "bien coiffee et maquillee quand je suis partie de la maison" - he laughed. 3 tables were occupied so service was outstanding. The food, not so much. Well, it was good, but didn't by any means blow me over (unlike the howling gusts of wind outside half an hour before). Started with an overdressed, knife cut, sad looking romaine salad - with a redeeming factor of shredded onion rings on it - I mean, how can that be bad right? Monsieur had the game terrine - very good. Then I had the short rib, he had the bison bavette - perfectly cooked and great great flavour. The short rib was on the dry side, not much sauce to speak of and a little fatty - Lemeac's leaves this on eating it's dust. They are not even close. Dessert was the tasting plate - some hits some misses - a pistachio thingy was outstanding - I would have licked the plate, really.

      The star of the evening was the wine I picked, a Joseph Phelps "Le Mistral" - outstanding.

      Would I go back there, probably not - whereas Lemeac, I would go again and again and again and yet again.

      Would I go out again on night like last night, YUP, it was fun, an experience and definitely something to behold.

      1 Reply
      1. re: maisonbistro

        We had an 11am reservation at Sucrerie des Gallant in Rigaud. When we left home, we were in the middle of the mini-storm, and were expecting the worst on the drive home. But it stopped snowing at about the time we took the caleche ride through their beautiful grounds. It was actually toasty to sit under those wool blankets. The snowy landscape was breathtaking. After, we went into the Auberge to sit by the fire to warm up before heading home, and the kids slept all the way in the car, bonus!

      2. no, but I just came back from a long walk. BEAUTIFUL day.

        1. Headed out grocery shopping around 4 p.m. The wind was to my back on my way over to Côte des Neiges but the sidewalks and side streets were drift city and the gusts meant I had to look down, not ahead, most of the time. I actually experienced whiteout -- total disorientation -- at one point, something that's never happened to me in the city.

          The stores and restos on CDN were virtually deserted. Late Saturday pickings are usually slim at my butcher's but not yesterday. Everything I asked for, he had. ExoFruits, normally a madhouse at 5 on a Saturday, was earily quiet.

          At that point, the wind was blowing so hard the automatic doors weren't working. I decided to take the metro home -- only one stop but money well spent. Leaving the station, I found that the sidewalks on Édouard-Montpetit had disappeared.

          Dinner was green bean and cherry tomato salad, roast saddle of lamb in a mustard, thyme, garlic and soy sauce crust and a gratin of Yukon golds and Comté cheese, washed down with a 1993 Laurel Glen Cabernet (still chugging along). Dessert? Some of those tangy Moroccan clementines with new crop Iranian dates (which, btw, are stellar this year). The hot oven, savoury aromas and occasional glance out the window made the meal one of the coziest in ages.

          8 Replies
          1. re: carswell

            hi carswell,

            where did you find those iranian dates?

              1. re: hala

                bomobob notwithstanding, Akhavan isn't one of my haunts, though it would be if it weren't located halfway to Hamilton.

                Got both the dates and the clementines at ExoFruits on Côte-des-Neiges north of Queen Mary. These are boxed, unpitted black dates, not dates on stems. Moshkan brand mozafati dates from Bam, Iran.
                And the package is right: "Try our Fresh Dates with plain yoghurt : Absolutely delicious!!!"

                1. re: carswell

                  NDG is not halfway to Hamilton sir. It's NDG - a cute, fun place populated by wonderful wonderful people.

                  Hamilton, Ha - that second rate bagel place.

                2. re: hala

                  I also got some from 4 Frères at St Laurent an Pins just today, I think for 2,99 a box. Very good. Thanks Carswell for starting another chowtrend.

                3. re: carswell

                  Definitely with you on the quality of dates from the middle east/Africa this time of year. Fantastic.

                  Some of the steps, up to a foot high, going up to front doors were *completely* covered this morning. Cars were piled high with snow from the street cleaners. I feel sorry for the guy that has to shovel his way out of his house, step by step, only to have to spend an hour digging his car out afterward :o

                  1. re: carswell

                    Wow Carswell, you're quite the chef !! Sounds delicious!!!

                  2. In the middle of all that craziness we decided it was a good day to visit a museum, so we went to point a calliere. That , of couse, meant we just had to visit Olive et Gourmando. Their chicken sandwich was pretty good, but the cubaine was amazing. Dessert was a valrohna brioche that DH and I shared.

                    In all, it was really fun and worth the walk in the snowstorm. But, i don't think my 2 year old enjoyed it as much as his dad and i did even though he was really well dressed and never had to walk in that horrible weather.