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May 12, 2008 08:35 AM

Graduation dinner with the grandparents??

Hi, I am graduating from McGill in two weeks' time. My 80-year-old Jewish grandparents, along with my parents, will be attending the ceremony, and we would like to all go out for a celebratory dinner afterward. However, there are a few problems with this.

Normally, my parents and I would head out for some sort of ethnic feast involving a lot of shellfish, at a restaurant in Chinatown or maybe La Sala Rossa. But my grandparents a) aren't that adventurous and b) will eat non-kosher meat at a restaurant but not pork and probably not shellfish. French cuisine (like Au pied du cochon) probably isn't that good of an idea either. I still want to have a really nice dinner, though! After all it is my graduation!

My first thought for something that's sort of in the area is Moishes. Does anyone have any other suggestions??


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  1. Howdy!

    What about Italian and Old Montreal? Da Emma or Graziella. Both are extremely conservative and extremely delicious. Or Nantua, straight seafood mostly grilled (they do have a steak on the menu for meatatarians) also in Old Montreal. Or something like the Beaver Club or another old-school hotel restaurant, if you don't want Old Montreal?

    Good luck, and congrats on the graduation.

    1 Reply
      1. re: carswell


        If Sala Rossa is 'too adventurous,' I'm not certain how Pinxto could be considered a conservative choice. If anything it is even 'more out there.' And if the grandparents are kosher at home, I don't think a Lebanese restaurant will go over very big...

        1. re: zekesgallery


          There's little that's adventurous about Pinxto and what adventurous there is can be easily avoided given the many-little-dishes approach. Calling Bazaar a Lebanese resto is simply wrong -- while there are Middle Eastern influences aplenty, the aesthetic is, if anything, contemporary Mediterranean/French. In any case, I provided links to both restos' websites, so the OP can decide for herself, eh?

          1. re: carswell


            Between you and me, I agree that Pinxto is not adventurous. But as the OP specifically stated that a tapas joint wasn't suitable, I would stand by my statement as it being an inappropriate suggestion.

            And Bazaar, last I checked, was owned and run by Lebanese people. I have nothing against it (or them) and have had good meals there, too. But suggesting that some extremely conservative and kosher grandparents go there to celebrate is just not being sensitive to other people views. (And, the OP also specifically stated "French cuisine... isn't that good of an idea either"

            1. re: zekesgallery


              She stated that La Sala Rossa wasn't suitable. Pinxto is light years away in terms of cuisine and ambience. Agreed that Moishe's it ain't, which is why I provided a link to the website.

              As for the nationality of the chef and backers of Bazaar, you might want to bear in mind that Queue de Cheval is owned and run by Greeks. Ditto Le Pois Penché. Les Cons Servent by a Mauritian. Chao Phrya by Chinese. Tons of sushi places by Vietnamese. You might also want to check a map to see where Israel is located. And, hey, the OP specifically stated the grandparents aren't strictly kosher. There have been at least a couple very conservative -- maybe too conservative -- dishes on Bazaar's daily menu the last two times I've visited, both in the last month or so. A dish of grilled lamb, in particular, while perfectly executed could have come from a high-end steakhouse.

              1. re: carswell

                Well heck, there is an idea, Moishe's.
                I am thinking they are similar to my grandmother, but you know, if she can see a menu beforehand she's usually able to find something she will try.

                1. re: carswell

                  Thank you so much for all these suggestions! Pinxto and Bazaar are probably not good choices; in the end I'll probably stick with Moishe's or maybe Gibby's.

                  For the record, Lebanese food is practically Israeli food (or vice versa!), and my grandmother makes hummus quite regularly. In fact I once had a conversation with the owner of a Lebanese cafe in the McGill Ghetto who said most of his clientele were Jewish students who went to Israel and got hooked on falafel! But as much as I'd like to go to Bazaar, probably it isn't the best choice for this.

                  Thanks again!

                  1. re: cutelittlebirdie

                    I was thinking the same thing birdie - I have many (Ashkenazi) Jewish friends who love Lebanese food (and the Syrian food at Petit Alep). And even if the owners are Christian by background, one is very, very unlikely to find pork on the menu. Congratulations on your graduation - I'm sure you'll have a great time.

                    1. re: lagatta

                      I agree. I didn't get why it is insensitive to take kosher parents to a Lebanese restaurant either, and I am glad that others share the same opinion. The food is similar, and while Bazaar is not necessarily halal (nor strictly Lebanese), the cuisine is rooted in a tradition that doesn't use pork. Regardless, if it were halal, it might have even fit the kosher requirement loosely (although kosher laws are even more stricter than halal). Unless there is some serious ethnic animosity, most practicing Muslims and Jews actually prefer to eat each others' food if they cannot access to materials that are prepared in their own tradition, because it is much "cleaner" and "more proper" than say a Chinese or French restaurant that would incorporate improper/unclean ingredients and meat that is butchered improperly.

                      That said, Bazaar is not a halal restaurant (so most of my discussion was not too relevant to the issue), but in any way I don't recommend it for a special meal. Perhaps they have improved and went back to their old glory days, but my visit right after their move was very underwhelming, especially for the price point.

                      I think steakhouses always please older people (provided that they eat meat) so Moishe's or Gibbys is definitely a way to go. They are fancy but not too fussy, the meat dimension and generous portions gives the feeling that you are getting your money's worth (say compared to a more refined food with smaller portions), and the atmosphere is usually traditional but convival. Nice stereotyping, eh?

                      1. re: emerilcantcook

                        As mentioned above, I've been back twice recently. The first time, just me and another hound sitting at the bar, was a mixed bag: the downers being over-salty veal cheeks and those impeccably prepared but otherwise lacklustre lamb chops, the high point being a superb crème caramel perfumed with orange and cardamom. The second outing, a group of nine or so after a wine tasting last week, was a winner all around, with everyone enjoying -- and sharing tastes of -- their food. The only complaint I heard was that, however declicious, the foie gras app was too large. My grilled squid with fresh artichokes was a fine if not particularly wine-friendly app; the lamb ossobucco succulent and abuzz with spice; and despite the $1 price hike, the $4 mingardises tray remains the city's best bargain dessert. Several hounds were there, so they can chime in with comments if so inclined.

                        1. re: carswell

                          It is good to hear that Bazaar is back to life. I had a real memorable meal at their older location, and I was really upset that they might have slipped after a move.

                          1. re: carswell

                            "The only complaint I heard was that, however declicious, the foie gras app was too large."

                            This is a problem with which I am willing to grapple. Sign me up.

                            1. re: thelonious777

                              Re: overly large fois gras app:

                              Thelonius777, I think you'll find it a good problem then. It was delicioius! It comes on brioche like bread with a pear compote, and the fois is very nicely seared.

                              My veal cheeks app was perfect, and the sauce heavenly. The veal cheeks were incredibly tender. I couldn't stop dipping the fig bread in the sauce. I got so full just from this appetizer, I barely touched my spiced grilled quail. the quail was deliciously spiced, and came with a very delicious ratatouille. I did find the quail itself a little dry, but the skin is crispy and spicy and makes up for the slight dryness. For dessert, I had some beautiful strawberries with a fresh cheese and a balsamic vinegar reduction, classically prepared and beautiful to behold.

                              I found the meal very elegant. The spices are fresh and the preparations are a work of art. I enjoyed my meal very much.

          2. If you're thinking along the lines of Moishe's, you'd probably be better off at Gibby's, atmosphere-wise, although the grandparents would likely be fine with either. Moishe's is closer, though.

            1. What about Raza on laurier? The space is nice and the food interesting while being accessible. It seems to fit your requirements: http://www.restaurantraza.com/carte_e...