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Feb 11, 2009 11:56 AM

Montreal Bar-b-que Chicken

I did a search and found nothing so...

I know that people tend to look down on the humble bar b qued chicken. But it is as much a part of the Montreal fabric as smoked meat. Especially to Montrealers living elsewhere. You do have your imitators (yes, hello Swiss Chalet), who pale by comparison to the real thing.
What brought up my rant you ask. Well I returned to Montreal after being away for decades last 22nd of December. On Sunday I had bar b que chicken for the first time. It was from Chalet Bar b que. I was in heaven.
The chicken wasn't greasey at all. The fries were perfection. My only disapointment was the sauce. It was a might bland.
Last night I ate Cote St Luc Bar b que. IMHO it has slipped over the years. Or maybe my memory is playing tricks on me. But it was still a wonderful experience. The sauce though was the highlight for me.

So why do I take the time to discuss Montreal fast food? Because we tend to overlook it here. Maybe because it is so familiar. When I was an apprentice learning my trade. I spent some time at a world class restaurant in Neufchatel. The chef was renowned. One day he decided that we should talk about food as part of my training. ( my head was getting sore at this time from things thrown at it. So I was very thankful and listened carefully). The nice part of this was that whenever the chef talked to you, and he wasn't angry or frustrated, you got to eat with him. He went on to explain that he felt that all chef's must be gourmets. That being a gourmet meant that everything that you cooked or ate was the best and done the best. So that anything done well, "even a hamburger" (his exact words mind) could be considered gourmet.

Hey, it's just my two cents.

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  1. Chalet BBQ has been discussed & praised on this board before. I like very much their BBQ chicken.

    1 Reply
    1. re: BLM

      I guess that bar b que and bbq are bad!

    2. I'm a Cote St Luc BBQ lifer.
      I haven't lived in Montreal for the past 5 years and I always go there first thing, sometimes I make the detour from the airport. And you're right montrea fast food is often overlooked by montrealers, but man you miis fast food that actually tastes GOOD when you move away. Here, if it's going to not taste like carboard, it's going to be expensive...and even then expensive doesn't garantee good food.

      Oh Montreal! I miss you!

      1 Reply
      1. re: hungryungry

        man growing up, my parents overdosed me on cote st luc bbq. sunday night chalet bbq at the grandparents was a welcome treat

      2. Aahhhhhhhh and ooohhhhhhhh
        Me, I'm a Chalet BBQ guy, but mostly 'cause its closer to me than Cote St Luc.
        Their gravy does vary from day to day as does (but not so much) their chicken.
        The gravy is usually made daily and depending on who makes it, it can be a bit different. Not radically, mind you, but perhaps stronger or not.
        The chicken is cooked with maple charcoal and, IMO, is as much an art as a method.

        As BLM points out, it has been discussed and praised.
        Perhaps it doesn't get the press that it deserves (maybe similar to Schwartz's?), but I think we're a society very interested in whats new and hot. We sometimes forget some of the best, consistently satisfying, institution-joints like Chalet BBQ.

        1. Growing up it was mostly Chalet (former Decarie location) or CSL but for "special" occasions, we'd head to Laurier BBQ which IMHO was (or stil is) a notch above the former 2.

          11 Replies
          1. re: RhondaB

            their fries are nothing to write home about though (laurier)

            1. re: RhondaB

              I think Laurier BBQ is better known with the francophones, while for anglophones it's Chalet BBQ or CSL BBQ.

              1. re: BLM

                I don't think laurier holds up against chalet. If only from its lack of charm. The chicken is good but it doesnt have any soul.

                1. re: celfie

                  I'll try out Laurier BBQ very soon. Haven't eaten there 10+ years.

                  1. re: BLM

                    Never been there ourselves... planned to try it a few times, but did something else. In between, it just fell below our radar.
                    Will give it a go sooner or later.

                    1. re: porker

                      I could be wrong. I think Laurier BBQ has been around longer than either Chalet BBQ & CSL BBQ.

                      edit:I just checked Laurier BBQ has been around since the 30's, while Chalet BBQ has been opened since August 1944.

                      1. re: BLM

                        I had a friend who worked there for quite awile (Chalet on Sherbrooke) and he would tell me stories of 'the old days'.
                        When ordering chicken from a purveyor, you can get 'em clean and already trussed.
                        Not so in the early days of The Chalet. They'd have to clean the chickens themselves. Don't remember if he mentioned plucking or not, but I do know that they had to remove the feet and head and gut 'em.
                        "Oh my god, the smell!" he'd say.
                        Then they'd have to truss them for prep for the ovens.

                        Now that was a lot of dirty work!

                        1. re: porker

                          Yikes! Wonder how they kept the stench outta the dining room...

                          FWIW I've been to Chalet & CSL many times, and tried Laurier once about a year ago. Found it to be mostly inferior and overpriced compared to the familiar standbys, but I do remember their chicken potpie was really good. I also appreciated the fact that they even HAVE chicken potpie on the menu - sometimes the old leg / breast / hot-chicken choices get boring!

                          This may be sacrilege but I have grown to really like Rotisserie Fusée. It's far from trad but their chicken is consistently very good, and they have healthier options like salads and veggies instead of fries. Not to mention they deliver.

                          1. re: anachemia

                            fusee is good. they make a mean club sandwich, and if i recall, their ribs were very good considering

                            1. re: celfie

                              True dat! I had forgotten about their ribs. Will have to try the club next time.

                        2. re: BLM

                          CSL BBQ celebrated its 50th anniversary around 2000 or 2001, I remember the T-shirts

              2. I am a fan of Coco Rico on St-Laurent (a few feet from schwartz's)

                The eat-in facilities are minimal, but it's our takeout of choice.

                We also do rotisserie laurier, but it's always $30 for two, which is a bit much for a chicken supper.

                1 Reply
                1. re: tigre

                  I agree with you .... they make excellent chicken, just about the best I've eaten. Have you tried Rest. Portugaria on Clark ..... also excellent chicken, but a bit on the spicier side.