Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Quebec (inc. Montreal) >
Dec 10, 2008 10:02 AM

Happening gourmand

Does anyone know if this is happening again this year ?

Thank you.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: Walnuts

      ha i recommend skipping on restaurant du vieux port
      the cuisine du terroir menu looks interesting

      1. re: celfie

        I second the recommendation about skipping "restaurant du vieux port", it's not really worth it. My gf and I really enjoyed the $15 menu at Mechant Boeuf. That burger was tasty!

        1. re: Walnuts

          On Thursday we had reservations at Studio 701 for us and our two teens. We goofed and were late. I wasn't sure where the restaurant was since I could only find the bar Studio 701 so I asked the coatcheck girl and got sent downstairs.

          They didn't have our reservation (I thought because it was so late) but they seated us anyways. Very nice waiter took our drink order and when we opened our menus we discovered we were in the wrong place! Went back and explained to the hostess, she checked upstairs but it was really full and loud by now and there were no tables. We decided to stay downstairs (Aix?) where the prix fixe was a little more and the kids were graciously allowed to order off the upstairs menu. I found the Studio menu was better. My lamb was nicely done but the sauce was a little salty, same with the sirloin my partner ordered. The deserts were heavenly.

          Our waiter was really, really wonderful. We never go out anywhere really nice and he made us feel like we belonged there. I don't know how to express this quite right-- the whole thing was a little embarrassing but he just went with it and made us feel like valued, long-time customers. I almost wanted to hug him.

          To sum up-- a great meal but I would go back to Studio 701 before Aix (I think the Terroir shares the same kitchen?).

        2. Thanks for pointing this out. Some of the menus look very interesting!

          1. I have to wonder why only restos in the Old Port are participating, when it seems like most of the expensive, hip places are on St-Laurent. Any ideas?

            3 Replies
              1. re: lroberts

                It's a sort of disguised promotion by a Montreal restaurant hospitality group.

                1. re: BLM

                  Ah. In that case, it makes sense, but it's still lame that no one else is doing it.

              2. Went tonight with five friends to Verses as part of the Happening Gourmand festival. None of us had ever been to the restaurant before so we figured it would be a good way to give it a whirl, but unfortunately I don't think any of us will be back.

                First, after we had sat down and perused the evening's menu for an absurdly longtime, the waiter finally showed up only to announce that one of the entrees was not available, there was no replacement and then asked if we were ready to order. Of course, half our table were going to select the entree so we had to go back and reconsider our options. Finally, when the waiter returned to take our orders, he took everyone's order but forget there were six of us at the table and if I hadn't had said anything, he probably would've left without taking my order.

                The service was not only slow, it was inconsistent and our table probably went through about five different servers at various times throughout the meal, with the waiter taking the order and servers not knowing who ordered what (which led to a lot of plate shuffling). The food itself was both inadequately described and below average. The starter of gnocchi in venison sauce with shredded pork wasn't bad, but the main of guinea fowl was really a stew served in a onion soup or small pot pie dish (no mention of any of this on the menu). The actual meat was bland and the chestnuts mentioned in the description were nowhere to found. The salmon was a solid dish, but ultimately nothing very special. The wait for the dessert was unbearably long. The coffees arrived long before the dishes, and when they came they were not impressive. The creme brulees were cold, leading us to suspect they were just taken out of the fridge, torched and brought to the table. The plum puddings were passable and the chocolate fondant with pistachio ice cream was merely ok, leaving a Duncan Hines kind of taste as you reached the bottom.

                Verses occupies a beautiful space, but it is way too much pomp and circumstance. The plates are ostentatious for no reason, and the multitude of servers make a simple task more complicated than it needs to be. And I simply cannot comprehend slow service. It's possible to be both attentive, without being overbearing but at Verses it almost like the wait staff is doing you a favor by being around. Also, does this place have a hostess? When we walked in, I practically had to track someone down to get seated and when we left there was no one who asked how our meal was or anything. Verses misses the simple things, and messes the big things up too. A big disappointment all around.

                2 Replies
                1. re: jagbbq

                  I definitely agree with you regarding service. We had reserved for the first seating (6pm) since we did not want to dine late on a weekday. We were a party of 5, however, one of us was delayed.

                  We were seated quickly and then approached by Waiter #1. He immediately began taking our orders.. however, we had not even opened our menus yet... we had barely taken our coats off. We told him we were waiting for one more person.

                  He responded by informing us that we didn't have much time to dine because there was another group coming at 9pm (it was 6:10!!). He insisted on taking our order. We told him we are still waiting for another person, who was arriving shortly.

                  I kid you not, he came back within 5 minutes, pen and paper in hand and asked us what our order was. We felt like we were under pressure and called our friend who was on her way and read the menu to her on the phone so she can make her selection!!! We made our selections and then he asked us for the dessert selections. We found this odd.

                  We then selected a bottle of wine (an inexpensive bottle). the waiter then responded, "oh, yes, this is a special cheap price for the happening gourmand!"... I was not impressed!

                  Waiter #2 then brough out some bread. When we asked for more, she said certainly and walked off with the empty plate. I could see Waiter #1 tell her not to bring out anymore bread. And so no more bread was brought to our table. It was obvious that Waiter #1 was the senior waiter.

                  I explicitly asked her for more bread, and she said yes, and walked by the first waiter... She was very polite and helpful and an excellent waitress in comparison to him. He was not amused. That was the last I we saw of him.

                  So to recap, the service was sub par and definitely not becoming of such an establishment.

                  I guess with a "cheap" menu, the waiters are receiving less tips, however, this is no excuse for rude and in-your-face behavior.

                  On the bright side, the food was above-average. The deer spare ribs were excellent and the barley risotto was very tasty. The salmon dish was delightful.

                  1. re: foodie_mtl

                    That's really a shame. I went to Verses with six friends on the 29th and we have nothing but positive things to say about it. The food was delicious, the service was attentive, even the hostesses (both of them) were pleasant. It took quite a while for everyone to arrive and choose their meals and I never felt any pressure to hurry.

                    Everyone in my group agreed we would definitely like to come back again.

                2. A great opportunity to explore Old Montreal’s finer cuisine on a tight budget…

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: jamjam

                    I already reservations for Aix, as it seems to be the only one of the restaurants featured I am particularly interested in.

                    1. re: Peaches to Poutine

                      I would say Verses is about the same as Aix, quality wise.

                        1. re: Peaches to Poutine

                          I think AIX is great during this promo or otherwise. I've always had wonderful meals every time I've been and it's in a very nice space at the Place-d'Armes. I like it a lot and would easily recommend it. Imo, the $27 menu with the rabbit confit and braised short ribs sounds even better than the more pricier menu options.

                        2. re: sweettoothMTL

                          I was very disappointed in my experience at Verses last year
                          and from the looks of the 2011 menu, they haven't even bothered changing some of the dishes!

                          I would suggest Aix over Verses any day