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Jun 4, 2008 05:38 AM

Moishe's Steak Oy

First of all the dining room is done up like a 70's Catskill hotel dining room. The waiters are as promised "crusty". The steaks (strip, porterhouse, ribeye) were what you'd find in a second rate steakhouse in NYC, really too fatty and gristely to be terrific. (Yes I know marbling is essential, gristle is not). The vareneke were undercooked and soggy, as were the pale limp fries. And the baked potato were baked in foil (come on enough retro nonsense).
The place was bustling on a Wednesday night. Still we appreciated the free parking in back
(not advertised). They take your car, give no ticket, but remember which car is yours when you come back ( We gave a nice tip ). Not the usual system but it worked.

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  1. Dude! Sorry if you had a disappointing experience at Moishe's, but your comparison borders on insulting...

    1. Ugh. Your review just goes to show that some institutions are nothing more than that, institutions. I don't know how you wound up there (I am guessing either a guide book or a very sentimental Montrealer steered you in that direction), but in my opinion any recommendation for Moishe's should come with a warning that goes something like "Steaks are not great. Service is substandard. Montreal institution with retro charm" . Sorry you didn't get the warning before you booked.

      14 Replies
      1. re: foodismyfriend

        I have not been to Moishes in a decade but I would never recommend it , institution or not. There are too many other options. Gibby's is somewhat of an institution but their reputation has been maintained over the years and you can get a great steak dinner there for much less than Queue de Cheval.

        Ben's Smoked meat was an institution but the food was inedible in recent years.

        1. re: foodismyfriend

          Several people on this board, myself included, have recommended it to people who insist on dining at a steakhouse in this city with no outstanding steakhouses. Decor and waiters aside, my experience there has not been like meinNYC's. Also, coming from the home of Peter Luger's, what the #@!$& was s/he thinking?

          "Steaks are not great ... Montreal institution with retro charm" could equally apply to Gibby's, whose saving graces are its setting and production-line consistency. "Steaks are not great. Service is smarmy. Overpriced, wannabe institution with a parvenu charm" describes Queue de Chaval to a T. "Steaks are not great ... Sorta, kinda Montreal institution with a sorta, kinda charm" equals Rib 'n' Reef. What are you left with? Steak Frites St-Paul and The Keg and not much else.

          Haven't been to Moishe's in quite a while so maybe it's gone downhill. Still, forced to go to a local steakhouse, it'd probably be my pick. Provided I wasn't paying, that is.

          1. re: carswell

            So, no good steak to be had in Montréal?

            1. re: mrbozo

              Good? Yeah. Great? Not that I'm aware of.

              And Queue, Moishe's and company are charging great steak prices.

              And they're not delivering anything you couldn't find in just about any comparably sized city in Canada or the US. Why overpay for a mediocre steak with generic trimmings when you could be enjoying yourself for as much or less or even far less at Au Cinquième Péché, Montée de Lait, Le Jolifou, Le P'tit Plateau, Bazaar, Leméac, Les Trois Petits Bouchons, Bouchon de Liège, Au Pied de Cochon, Alep, Jun-i, Raza, Club Chasse et Pêche, Decca77, Europea, Brontë, Graziella, La Porte, Ferreira, Joe Beef, etc., all of which have good, even great food and a sense of place?

                1. re: carswell


                  Ummmm, apologies for disagreeing, but how do Jun-i, Raza, Graziella, have a 'sense of place?' They are great restaurants, but they could be in any city - there is nothing Montreal specific about them.

                  Personally, my list of restaurants with a sense of place not on your list would include Patati-Patata, La Banquise, Roi du Plateau, Brasserie Brunoise, Titanic, Beijing, L'Express, Andalos, Sur Bleury, Daou, and Al Taib.

                  All of which are tuned finely enough to local tastes that that you have to wait before you can eat, no ifs ands or buts.

                  1. re: zekesgallery

                    Zekesgallery, while I agree in general with your point, I'm not sure that some of the places on your alternate list would be reasonable replacements for someone who wanted to eat at a fancy steak house. Places like Patati-Patata, La Banquise, Roi du Plateau are great, and very Montreal, but hardly attract the same sort of crowd or have the same kind of atmosphere. Could you see a Moishe's regular walking into La Banquise dressed for a big night on the town? Pretty funny image I'm getting! Ahh, but the money they'll save... (no saving on calories though)

                    1. re: zekesgallery

                      You mention Beijing, Daou, Andalos and Al Taib and you're bugging me about sense of place?!

                      Waiting for a table has nothing to do with what I'm talking about. And what I mean by the expression isn't local ingredients, though in some cases that's part of it.

                      It's a feeling I get when eating in these establishments, a feeling that they probably couldn't exist elsewhere in North America, that they're somehow intrinsic to Quebec or Montreal. Given their size, their ethos and the people behind them, I have trouble imagining Le P'tit Plateau, Au Cinquième or La Montée de Lait being conceived of, let alone exisiting, anywhere but in Montreal or, maybe, Quebec City. Now, that may not be as true for, say, Jun-i or Raza, but I still find that Montreal informs them in one way or another: the attitude of the staff (pace, phedre), the patrons they attract, the feeling *en salle*, the aesthetic (stylish but rarely snobby or stuffy), the menus (open to the occasional flight of fancy -- including the unfortunate near-omnipresence of foie gras -- but basically affordable and down to earth). I'm too short of sleep at this point to think of other examples and am willing to concede that, to some degree, it's subjective, that others may not see it the way I do. But when I eat in restaurants like the ones I've listed (and, hey, note the etc. at the end; it isn't an exhaustive list), I often find myself thinking this is the kind of place that makes me glad I call Montreal home, it's places like this I'd have to give up if I moved away.

                2. re: carswell

                  We were there not that long ago (my father-in-law insisted on going when he was last in town), and the steaks, IMHO, are better than those at Gibby's. I had the bone-in filet, which, while not the best steak I've ever had, was more than decent (although at around $55 it better be!). I just can't stand the atmosphere there - it's bright, loud, and not really what you expect from a steakhouse, especially at those prices. But really, there are no Montreal steakhouses that can hold a candle to the big names elsewhere (Peter Luger being a perfect example), and I'd never recommend going to one unless someone absolutely insisted on it.

                  1. re: carswell

                    Once again I have to agree with Carswell, Montreal is not a Steak House city but that said, if you must, the best choice is Moishes.

                    Gibby’s I don’t even bother to recommend.

                    If you have had the experience of eating at Peter Luger, Sparks, Bones, Mortons or Ruth Chris don’t even think about having steak in Montreal.
                    It’s like having dined on Royal Iranian Caviar and then being served Super C black lumpfish eggs and trying to compare them.

                    As Carswell says spend your money on great local cuisine and the save the steak experience for the US.

                      1. re: mrbozo

                        I occasionally smuggle Alberta Beef to Montreal in the form of my mum's Korean BBQ. Dang I miss that beef... I don't miss much from Alberta, but the beef, yes....

                        1. re: mrbozo

                          I find Albertan be to be horrific. It might just be the grass fed stuff (what I have eaten during trips to Alberta) but man... where it gets it's reputation for good beef from, I'll never know.

                  2. Bit late to the thread, but... Have never been to Moishe's, but my father had been a regular for decades. He mentioned that on his last visits over the last year, the quality had appreciably gone down. Something about some marinade or rub that used to be the Moishe's signature, and that they are no longer doing.
                    Anyway. IMO steak is steak - simple enough to prepare that if you want it, you buy a great cut at a butcher you like, and cook it yourself. Spending 50-60$ on steak is for american tourists...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: johnnyboy

                      "Spending 50-60$ on steak is for american tourists..."

                      ....if there are any of them left - I only once skipped my yearly Montreal September sojourn between 1988-2007 - and that was the year of 9/11. But this year the economy has finally got the better of me.
                      I used to go to Moishe's for a couple of reasons - the steaks were very good - okay not great but they were very good - and because $55CA steaks used to cost us $30US - today its $53US.

                    2. Greatest steak bargain in Montreal is the baseball sirloin at the Keg......I've been thrilled with it every time, a nice sized juicy and tasty steak with hardly any fat for $23. The only problem is that parking is a pain in the ass.