Long reviews of my Montreal trip part 1(Lemeac, Decca77, Chez Levesque)
My SO and I were in Montreal from the 21st to the 24th and would like to share our experiences with the board. I asked for some suggestions in an earlier post and got a lot of good recommendations and we were both thankful and it truly made a difference in our trip. My review might be a little long due to the number of places we went to, but I'll try to keep it as concise as possible.
Arrived at around 6pm settled in and decided to skip dinner and wait til 10pm to head to Lemeac for their $22 after 22h special.
Arrived at around 10:15pm with reservation and the place was pretty full got seated promptly and ordered the following:
House smoked salmon
Snails, portabella and tomato ragout, basil butter sauce
Both were above average, generous amounts of house smoked salmon with capers and olives I believe, went well with the bread. The basil butter sauce foe the snails were prett good, overall nothing spectacular about them but it was a good start.
Braised beef short rib, barley
Herb crusted calf liver, potato purée, caramelised onion
The picture for the short rib looked fantastic on the website and the portion was as advertised but to us it lacked flavour and it was a little bland, maybe it was an off night as other members have said good things about it and I was really looking forward to trying it. As for the liver, my SO was being a little adventurous and it backfired as it was totally not her cup of tea whatsoever as she did not like the aftertaste of the liver. She did however love the potato puree with the onion and she polished the side off. Once again, the portion size was huge, so if you're into calf liver, I would imagine it to be fairly good as it was not overcooked at all.
Guanaja chocolate mousse with Madeleine cakes
For dessert we shared the mousse and we both loved it. Unlike others we've had, this one has a more firm texture which my SO really like and it came with a few little chocolaate Madeleine cakes which went really well with our coffees.
Overall, it was a decent experience and perhaps we had higher expectations coupled with us ordering the wrong main plus the possibility of an off night for the short rib that left us a little unsatisfied. However, for the price it was still a great deal and good atmosphere.
Due to the previous night's late dinner, we decided to skip breakfast and went straight to lunch. We stayed at the Sheraton on Rene-Levesque and Decca77 happened to be across the Street at Drummond and Rene-Levesque so we figure, what the hell, I heard so good reviews about the place and their $25 Lunch Prix Fixe seemed really good on their website.
We walked in without a reservation and noticed that we were by far the youngest diners in the restaurant. We expected it as Decca77 is a waterhole for business lunchers in the downtown core. We're both 25 and were dressed nicely, so we did not feel too out of place, but it's definitely not a track pants and hat place as the decor and ambience of the place projects itself as an upscale, sophisticated bar/lounge/restaurant. We were greeted warmly by their staff and were promptly seated. When we looked at the menu, it was different from the one posted on their website, which I believe changes weekly. So we had the following:
Oysters two ways - Deep fried and in shell
We both had the oysters after seeing other patrons odering it and it seemed delicious and it surely did not disappoint. The one in shell was extremely fresh and had a nice sweet taste to it. At first when we saw the size of the fried oyster, we thought it was covered in a thick batter but were surprised when we cut it up to discover the paper thin coating. We're no experts in terms of oysters, but we both loved the dish.
fingerling potatoes, cippolini, mushroom, green beans and béarnaise
garlic froth, chestnut puree, confied shallot and blazed carrots
Frites (Side order)
Both were tasty and well presented. The Salmon was cooked to perfection and the sides/sauce was tasty. My Hanger steak was fairly overcooked along the sides/ends because my steak was shaped in a way that it was thick in the middle but thin on the ends. The Frites were very tasty and well cooked, definitely worth the $5. Overall, above average mains, nothing spectacular but nothing too much to complain about either.
Pear and apple marmelade, jelly and roasted
Chocolate, lemon, lavender
This was the highlight of my SO's meal, her Verrine. We didn't know what a verrine was and the waitress explained that it was like a chocolate/lemon/lavender mousse in a cup. Upon hearing Mousse, she was all over it like a kid in a candy store. Boy, she was in heavens after her first bite and couldn't stop smiling. Unwillingly giving me a taste, I have to agree that t was indeed an excellent finish. My Pear trio was pretty good and very nicely presented with the marmelade in an espresso cup and the jelly and a piece of roated pear on the side. The roasted pear was awesome and the jelly interesting but the portion was fairly tiny.
With that said, for $25, we definitely got a good bang for our bucks. The service at Decca77 was extremely friendly and professional. Water/bread were refilled without asking and frequently and they were very attentive, combine that with a modern room, it's a restaurant that's worthy of repeat visits.
With the nice lunch, we once again decided to skip our dinner and went hunting for yet another late night dinner. We did not plan on going to to more than one late night dinners, we only knew of Lemeac, so we decided to drive around town. Laurier seemed like there's a few bistro/resto so we decided to give it a shot and stumbled along Chez Levesque.
It's got a different feel from Lemeac and has a more of a little French bistro feel. We were seated by the window and were presented with a French menu. Since our Frech were limited, and our waitress' English was also limited, we were assisted by a younger male waiter. We decided on the starters fairly quickly, but still needed a minute to decide our mains, so we told the waiter to give us another minute. After deciding, we made the mistake of placing our order of mains with the waitress assuming the male waiter notifying her of us already placing our app orders. So time goes by and the next thing we know, our mains arrived and we were fairly surprised, we told her that our starters hadn't came yet, she told us that we never ordered appetizers. We told her that we placed the app orders with the other waiter and we were thinking, oh dear. A minute later, they both came over to our table and apologized for their mistake. We told them that it was not their fault and asked them to to place down our main and do a little reverse action. We were both hungry at the time and our mains looked fantastic. The waiter once again apologized for their mistake and offered us both a glass of wine which we decline because we didn't feel like it was really their mistake as were were equally responsible.
Veal cheek in red wine sauce with pasta
Beef Tartare with Frites
It was my first time trying Beef Tartare and it did not disappoint. The texture was fairly mushy and soft and it was nicely spiced. The portion of tartare was huge and the frites were tasty. My SO's Veal cheek was very delicious and literally melted in our mouths. The sauce was to awesome and pasta well cooked. Overall, two excellent 'appetizers'. Next came our 'mains'.
Shells - 3 Oysters in shell, 3 Clams, 3 Mussels
Pate Dish - a mixture of foie and a couple other home made pate
At this point, we were both pretty stuffed, and the shells went down fairly easily. The oysters were very fresh, not as good as that of Decca77, but still very sweet and fresh. Mussels were a little tough but the sause covering it were tasty, clams were very good as well. The pate dish was way too rich at this point, but it was fairly good from the tasting I had, my SO seemed to enjoyed it.
After being stuffed, we somehow managed to find room for dessert and decided to try their Famous Creme Brulee which arrived shortly and said to us "Finally you two gave me a chance to give you free stuff." We accepted and we really thought that it was a genuinely a nice gesture on their part. All in all, despite our little backward meal, we were extremely satisfied by their service and the quality of food and we left full and happy.
That's it for part 1, part 2 will be up soon which includes Europea, Lemeac and others...hope you guys didn't find my post too long.
Great reviews! I appreciate the reporting back!
It was good to receive your report about Chez Levesque. I had stopped going to Chez Levesque, as I found the menu a little tired and not always well-executed. Perhaps it has picked up again. I am certainly intrigued by the veal cheek dish with pasta, I do love beef cheeks. Have others been recently and noticed an improvement in the quality?
Looking forward to part 2...
The Veal cheek was divine and we wished there were more than 3 pieces. I can see why people would rather head across the street to Lemeac instead of Chez Levesque. Lemeac is a much more lively place with a more modern/younger ambience and a better menu. We were simply impress with how they handled the mishap and in general had a great meal there.
Thanks for the great review on your trip to Montreal. My hubby and I are driving up to CA (Montreal & Quebec) and will spend this weekend in Montreal. I did not realize that restaurants in Montreal had specials for late-night dining. Those sound like great deals. Unfortunately, my husband is unable to stay up late so unless I want to eat alone, we'll have to stick to the normal dining options.
Do many restaurants offer lunch prix-fixe also offered on weekends? That might be a great way for us to try the many restaurants on my list. Did you do any Tapas or wine bars?
Based on the great reviews and suggestions on this board, I've reserved for a Sunday brunch at Bouchees Gourmandes and then plan to try the Cuisine Szechuan that Moh found. Thanks Moh! I'm still trying to decide on the other meals...looking forward to reading your part 2 post.
That's unfortunate because the late night menus are terrific. We're from Toronto and we don't believe we've come across any restaurants with such a setup. The special for Chez Levesque actually starts at 9pm for $21 and you have a choice of an app/main or main/dessert. They had a fairly long list of desserts but we went with a creme brulee and it was pretty good.
I can't say for certain whether all restaurants offer prix-fixe on weekends, I guess a call to the restaurant you would like to go ahead of time would solve the problem. I find lunch prix-fixe to be great deals and the quality to be terrific as well. Couple that with a late dinner took care of us for our trip.
The only wine bar/tapas place we thought about going was Pop!, a sister resto of Laloux, unfortunately we did not fit it into our schedule. I'm sure if you do a search you will find a pretty good list on the board.
Thanks for turning me onto Pop! We managed to have dinner there one evening and enjoyed it. I'll try to write up a review on it soon. I noticed a few posts on Pop! and some people did not like it. However, I only saw the posts after I got back from Canada. I went to Pop! with no expectations, except that I remembered you mentioned it above. I had not even looked at their menu so I did not know that they did Tartes. All in all, very enjoyable meal and evening. So much better than our meal the night before. Thanks again!