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Exceptional Night Out

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MickFlanagen May 15, 2008 12:55 PM

To celebrate my girlfriends university graduation ceremony, her mother and grandparents will be coming to Montreal for the weekend. All put together with a brother and an uncle tossed into the mix, we are 8 people.

I have been put in charge of making dinner resos for the two nights. We have reservations at Lemeac for one of the nights, but not surprisingly Au Peid de Cochon was booked full for both of the nights. As such, I have been looking for replacements. So far the list contains:

Bronte
Au Petite Extra
Toque
L'atelier
Club Chasse et Pêche

I have never been to any of these places, but they are on the list because of generally positive things that I have read about them on this board. It doesn't help that they only guidance I have is "really good food" but I think that translates to:

-somewhere with a good wine list
-nothing like Globe, trendy is alright, but I think you all know what I mean
- One of the people who is coming is very much a "meat and potatoes" type eater. That doesn't mean we need something that follows that rule exactly, but portions can't be skimpy as they ofter are at some modern places (last time we did something like this we went to Garcon, and the aforementioned person is still going on about it)
- I would prefer something showcasing what Quebec and Montreal have to offer (hence Au Pied)
-Nothing to far afield from downtown. We will most likely be cabbing it, but we are defintly situated down town

Aside from that, unfortunately, I lack any further guidance. Am I missing something? Do one of these places stand out above the rest?

  1. e
    emerilcantcook May 15, 2008 01:13 PM

    I think Au Petit Extra might be a notch below the rest of the list. I've been there recently, and while things were OK, it was by no means exceptional. It is a little bit more casual, dependable bistro food, but nothing to knock your socks off. The rest I don't know, I rarely go out for that price range of fine dining (especially due to wine markups), but others might step in to delineate that one special place for you.

    This recent discussion might also help: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/505945

    1 Reply
    1. re: emerilcantcook
      m
      MickFlanagen May 15, 2008 01:20 PM

      Thanks for the tips. I posted this on the other discussion as well, but someone noted that "The food is a bit fancier at Bronte, and the portions are quite small." I think that would disqualify it, but if there are others who can either confirm or deny this claim that would be helpful.

    2. afoodyear May 15, 2008 01:23 PM

      If you decide you want to cater to the meat and potatoes person, I'd add Moishe's (St. Laurent) or Gibby's (old port) to that list.

      1. f
        foodismyfriend May 19, 2008 09:09 AM

        I don't think Au Petite Extra qualifies for an exceptional evening. Food is just ok.

        Is it the small portions that disqualified Bronte or the fancy food? L'atelier is awesome, but the portions are very very small---the idea is to order 2 or 3 different plates per person. Toque food is fabulous---but the resto and the food are pretty darn fancy---and you should expect to pay in excess of $100 per person.

        I have only ever heard rave reviews of Club Chaisse et Peche....maybe someone else on the board who is a regular diner can add whether or not it would fit the bill?

        I haven't been, but there have been some rave reviews about Nuances, the restaurant of the Montreal Casino. It sounds like it might fit the occassion....apparently great food in a sparkly setting with beautiful views of the city.

        3 Replies
        1. re: foodismyfriend
          superbossmom May 19, 2008 02:07 PM

          I've been to Bronte a few times and cannot remember being struck by smaller than usual portions; I guess it's all relative and depends on what you compare the portions to. They brought amuses-gueules when we ordered wine as our aperitif, and also after our appetizers.

          I love l'Atelier but in your circumstances, I would pick a more traditional service restaurant. You actually need 4 dishes there to make a meal, unless you have a small appetite.

          1. re: foodismyfriend
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            moh May 19, 2008 06:16 PM

            I love Club Chasse et Peche, but I am worried the portions might be a bit small for the meat and potatoes person. I think they would have more ammunition if they go to CC&P.

            1. re: moh
              cherylmtl May 19, 2008 07:56 PM

              If you order an app, main and cheese course, CC&P is fine, portion-wise, especially if you go for the meal chaud et costaud, or the chasse et peche. We walked out of there pretty stuffed the other night, and the meal was wonderful as always. For a special meal, it's still my favourite. It is pricey, though - with wine, count on $100 pp easily, and up...

          2. souschef May 20, 2008 01:14 AM

            I went to CC&P about a year ago. It is located where my all-time favourite resto used to be (Le Fadeau), so expectations were very high. I hated the decor (black), and was unimpressed by the food. They absolutely destroyed veal sweetbreads by deep-frying them instead of braising them. The waiter suggested the oysters with chorizo sausage - a horrible combo. I can't remember the rest of the meal, except that I was unimpressed.

            My favourite resto in Montreal is Europea. The food is wonderful, and the value for money is excellent (try the table d'hote at $46 or the 9-course tasting menu at about $75).

            4 Replies
            1. re: souschef
              w
              westaust May 20, 2008 08:41 AM

              I never got the chance to try CC&P as even before we arrived, or even left home, they had lost us as customers. We made a dinner reservation with them for a Saturday night, 7 pm if I recall correctly, when that day arrived, they called us to confirm the reservation, first by asking if we would accept 6:30 instead of 7:00 and secondly by mentioning that by 8 we had to be out of there, since they had accepted a group reservation.

              Considering it was an anniversary dinner, and didn’t feel like being rushed, we simply said forget about it and went to Europea instead, where we managed to get a table later than we first planned, but didn’t regret it at all. We had the tasting menu, and plates kept on coming one after the other, and even smaller things like amuse-gueules were rather filling. In the end it was an amazing meal, and I’d recommend that restaurant anytime, even to big eaters, each portion might seem small to some people, but in the end, it’s quite a earthy meal.

              1. re: westaust
                souschef May 20, 2008 10:55 AM

                On a couple of occasions at Europea I asked for seconds of something small that I particularly enjoyed. They cheerfully obliged. The value for money at lunchtime is astounding; for $26.50 you get almost the same amount of food as you do at dinner for $46. I love their concept of a "pre-dessert", and the small gift they give you to take home (it was a breakfast cake the last time).

                I am amazed at what CC&P did to you.

                1. re: souschef
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                  MickFlanagen May 20, 2008 11:16 AM

                  "I am amazed at what CC&P did to you." As am I. I am not surprised that you didn't go.

                  Thanks for all the tips

                  1. re: MickFlanagen
                    superbossmom May 21, 2008 05:24 AM

                    CC&P, westhaust what they did is pretty brutal, they should have gone out of their way to respect your reservation, not classy at all, I'm making a mental note of that.

                    Since they are one of the "hot" places in town, they must be getting a swelled head, they should not forget that restaurant reputations are built on repeat business, when times get tougher you need a stellar attitude to survive and keep your money spending clients.

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