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Outstanding Lunch

Andria Jul 1, 2008 08:20 PM

I am looking for ideas for a not just good, but great lunch spot. My foodie brother is in town from Vancouver and I have booked some dinner places for his visit, but am stuck when it comes to lunches. I need to redeem our fine city after a terrible meal at Garcon the other night (perhaps one of the worst restaurant meals I, my brother, or my mother have ever had... and we each ordered different menu items!).

  1. Andria Jul 2, 2008 07:18 PM

    For those wanting to know what went wrong at Garçon, I refer you to Joe's blog:
    http://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com/2...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Andria
      cherylmtl Jul 2, 2008 08:37 PM

      If that's one of the worst restaurant meals any of you have ever had, then I would say you're doing pretty well...I won't bother recounting horror stories of my meal at Le St-Sulpice's S restaurant from a few weeks back, but suffice to say, yours didn't even come close...

    2. nochainsplease Jul 2, 2008 02:24 PM

      I wholeheartedly recommend Le Cartet - I go there often for lunch, and it's one of those places that just GETS it. Beautiful, interesting space; delicious and varied menu choices; very fair prices; wonderful service!

      4 Replies
      1. re: nochainsplease
        kpzoo Jul 2, 2008 03:18 PM

        I agree about Le Cartet - just two things to keep in mind as someone who also used to go there often because my office was around the corner - if you're going during the week and are planning to eat there (as opposed to taking a picnic down to the Old Port, which is also delightful) try to get there early, otherwise it's extremely crowded. The other thing to know is that the tables are big and communal ones. So if you're not in the mood for communal-style seating, this isn't the place for you. I used to love their salade niçoise. I hear their weekend brunch is lovely too, but still haven't made it down there.

        1. re: kpzoo
          nochainsplease Jul 2, 2008 03:52 PM

          They do have non-communal tables as well, for two!
          And I was there for brunch this weekend... it was amazing.
          I had the Atlantic breakfast which consisted of a small dish of perfectly scrambled eggs with smoked salmon (I know, hard to mess up), a half-bagel with smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers and onions, and a galette de saumon (how would you translate that?) which came with an herbed dipping sauce... AND a rather large mesclun salad... all for 15$ - with orange juice and coffee! (The breakfast specials are priced 'with' or 'without mimosa' - 'with' is 5$ more!)

          1. re: nochainsplease
            kpzoo Jul 2, 2008 07:39 PM

            > They do have non-communal tables as well, for two!

            Ah, thanks a lot for the update! I haven't been back there since I stopped working in Old Montreal, which, now that I think about it was 6 whole years ago, I can't believe how time flies! Nice to hear they've rearranged the seating a bit. :-) The brunch sounds lovely. Is it crazy busy on the weekend like it is during the week?

          2. re: kpzoo
            nochainsplease Jul 2, 2008 03:56 PM

            They do have non-communal tables as well - for 2!
            I was there on Sunday for brunch and it was divine, in my opinion.

            Atlantic Breakfast:
            - Small dish of perfectly scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and chives
            - Half a (REAL) bagel with smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers, and onion
            - A delicious salmon cake accompanied by an herbed dipping sauce
            - A rather large mesclun salad with a few cherry tomatoes - nice touch!
            - Orange juice
            - Fantastic coffee
            - All for the unbeatable price of $14.95!
            - They make the orange juice a mimosa for $5 more...

        2. m
          moh Jul 2, 2008 02:18 PM

          Andria, here is a great thread on best gourmet lunch deals:

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/483830

          There is a link to an article outlining the best lunch deals, and the list is pretty decent!

          I love Lemeac for lunch (nice terrace), and the $22 lunch deal at Milos is excellent.

          1. cherylmtl Jul 2, 2008 08:03 AM

            Bazaar might be a nice option for lunch.

            1. m
              morebubbles Jul 2, 2008 08:00 AM

              La Montee du Lait is open for lunch. I was there last week for lunch, it was pretty good. Hopefully you'll have time for a leisurely lunch (I spent 2 hours+ there, so not a place to go if pressed for time).

              1. m
                maisonbistro Jul 2, 2008 07:05 AM

                Can you tell us about the dinner? What you had and what went wrong?

                How about lunch at Schwartz's? You can't go wrong there. A foodie should appreciate the best smoked meat!!

                9 Replies
                1. re: maisonbistro
                  Andria Jul 2, 2008 07:27 PM

                  We will be heading to Smoked Meat Pete tomorrow... tested and approved annually.

                  Lower in this thread I have left a link to my brother's blog about our experience at Garçon... check it out.

                  1. re: maisonbistro
                    k
                    kelarry Jul 8, 2008 09:34 PM

                    Long lines, dry meat. overrated. Don't bother with Schwartz unless you're craving a topic for conversation. Try L'Express for an authentic French experience. I have never had a lunch anything like it.

                    1. re: kelarry
                      carswell Jul 9, 2008 08:06 AM

                      If your meat was dry, you didn't order right. Lean is for tourists.

                      1. re: carswell
                        1
                        1Marlowe1 Jul 9, 2008 11:34 AM

                        I let most of this preserving the status quo (your opinion) business go. But, come on, Schwartz is what it is. I can accept that some people enjoy this place and over-hype it because there is a sentimental attachment to the place. You, on the other hand, should accept that not every one is going to go there, wait in line, for a sandwich and fries, and come back exalted. The lean is for tourists business is really quite condescending. The place is inconsistent and always has been. Schwartz, in my opinion, is not something worth making a detour for.

                        Havre aux Glaces, however...

                        1. re: 1Marlowe1
                          carswell Jul 9, 2008 11:52 AM

                          It's not condescending. It's a quote from the staff. No one who orders medium fat or fatter complains about dry meat.

                          And you shouldn't jump to conclusions about my relationship to Schwartz's, a place I rarely recommend beyond acknowledging that it's one of the top purveyors and a more or less compulsory stop on the classic Montreal experiences tour. I'm not a fan of smoked meat -- or pastrami for that matter -- from there or anywhere else and would never queue to get in.

                          1. re: 1Marlowe1
                            m
                            maisonbistro Jul 9, 2008 12:15 PM

                            There was a long discussion here about the merits of Schwartz's. They do smoked meat andthey do it well. Maybe you don't like smoked meat, that's fine - not everyone does, not everyone likes Havre aux Glaces (I've tried many flavours and well, wouldn't go out of my way for that) - so really to each his own. As far as being inconsistent, I would gladly go out on a limb and say that they have been one of the most consistent restaurants around. You go there, you know what you're getting. A tight squeeze, a surly waiter and great smoked meat.

                            1. re: 1Marlowe1
                              r
                              rcianci Jul 9, 2008 01:14 PM

                              I've never had a bad sandwich at Schwartz's. In my experience, the line moves fairly quickly, so I've never waited more than a few minutes either.
                              Maybe I'm just lucky.

                              Also, when I was a kid, I used to eat at a diner where the owner would call out "All right, already! Make way for the live ones!" as soon as you were done with your food. Schwartz's waiters seem downright polite by comparison. :)

                              1. re: 1Marlowe1
                                e
                                emerilcantcook Jul 9, 2008 08:35 PM

                                No seriously, I really really enjoy Schwartz, and cannot understand how one could say that it is overrated. It might not be your taste, you might not like it, and of course you are entitled to hate it. No problem with that. I hate ketchup for example, does that mean it is overrated? Non, I don't think so.

                                For what it is, Schwartz it is pretty good, however noone is obliged to like that kind of food. Moi, I love it, especially during the cold winter months when I need something with "substance" (and fat). And this comes from a former vegeterian tryout, Middle Eastern descent, recent immigrant, "try to cook like a vegetarian at home". woman that only tasted this kind of food in her late 20st. I guess that helps to refute the romanticization/ attachment hypothesis.

                                1. re: emerilcantcook
                                  kpzoo Jul 9, 2008 09:02 PM

                                  This is just a theory, but I wonder if the expectation factor/waiting-in-line annoyance comes into play here at all. What I mean is, if one were a tourist and had seen Schwartz's overhyped to death in all the guidebooks, and had built it up in one's mind to be some kind of better-than-sex experience, and then waited an hour in line next to other similarly hyped-up tourists for a meal of a sandwich and fries that is devoured in 15 minutes while sitting elbow-to-elbow with strangers, I can actually kind of see how one might be a little let down with the experience, no matter how good the food might be under other circumstances.

                                  Personally I hate lineups and won't wait that amount of time in line for a meal, so try to only go during off-hours (4:00 pm is pretty good - in the dead of winter even better!) or if you don't mind smoked meat for breakfast, I believe they open at 9:00 am ;-) .... or do takeout. My 2 cents on the matter.

                        2. souschef Jul 1, 2008 09:03 PM

                          Europea never disappoints, for lunch or dinner.

                          Did you complain to the waitstaff about the meal at Garcon ? I certainly hope you did, and if so, what was the outcome?

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