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Rotisserie Laurier

h
heliotrope Apr 23, 2009 09:21 PM

Rotisserie Laurier, 381 Laurier W., 273-3671

Upon finding a description in the blog Endless Banquet - “A classic roasted chicken joint (it's been around since the 1930s) with comfy booths and good service...” - I decided to try it out. My chicken “sandwich” was a single slice of white bread (not even a soft roll!) with a tiny miserable leg of chicken, bones and all for like, $9.00. Nothing else. It was a complete joke – when was candid camera going to step in? Soooo overpriced for food that does not even beat the chain versions like St. Hubert, and at least with the other ones $9.00 will give you enough food to satisfy your hunger if not your taste buds.

I can’t believe it’s still in business after all these years - did I miss something, or what? Has anyone else been here that could fill me in?

  1. superbossmom Apr 24, 2009 02:55 AM

    I have to agree; we stopped going there the last few years, we used to go with my grandson when he was younger. I liked their moka cake for a sugar high and a blast from the past.

    We go to Fusée on Bernard , near champagneur, for quick bbque chicken, tastier.
    Outdoor sitting area is nice too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: superbossmom
      h
      heliotrope Apr 24, 2009 10:15 AM

      Thanks for weighing in - I'll have to try out your suggestion!

    2. m
      moh Apr 24, 2009 08:38 AM

      Rotisserie Laurier is one of those "classic" joints. The food is usually better than what you describe, but I do not crave to go there except for one thing: I really like their French onion soup. Nothing superfancy, but they do a good job on it, and it really hits the spot on a winter's day. They make the cheesy top nice and crispy at the edges. The broth is fairly rich, and acceptable. I do feel like there may be some bouillion cube involved, but it is still tasty.

      The chicken is ok, but not memorable. I am always excited at the idea of some of their dishes, such as the hot chicken sandwich, and the chicken pot pie, but I often find I am disappointed a little bit when I actually get my order. The chicken is not as moist as I like, and the overall effect is not what I imagined it would be.

      Now I have heard others rave about this place, and I wonder if there is a bit of a downhill slide happening here.

      1 Reply
      1. re: moh
        h
        heliotrope Apr 24, 2009 10:14 AM

        Thanks for sharing. I like classic joints, and places with history, but I guess I associate them with good, simple, satisfying food. Not a place where you order a chicken sandwich and you get one slice of bread topped with a mini chicken leg - what kind of sandwich is that? My friend had something like a club sandwich I think, with not so much comical results as my order, but he certainly found it to be sub-par to any anonymous establishment that has it on the menu.

        However, the decor really was the real deal. You go in there, and you're taken back in time. I liked that. But what you get for the steep prices they're charging for this decor......really made me feel ripped off and angry. And I very rarely feel that way after a restaurant visit! Classic joints shouldn't be like that - you should feel satisfied after your meal, having been given a decent serving (doesn't have to be heaping!) amount of simple, non-sophisticated food made well and honestly, and pay an honest price for it.

        I guess when I hear about "institutions" - places that have been around for many years, I tend to trust the test of time - Schwartz's for example - but I suppose that isn't always the way to go. i wonder if that isn't a bad thread to make - Montreal restaurants that have been in business for 50+ years -- how are they faring now? Better than ever, or just resting on their name and history? I suppose a list of these places would need to be made....or maybe someone else has already done this (haven't searched the forum yet for this).

      2. Alyson777 Apr 24, 2009 11:05 AM

        It really was at one time one of the best BBQ joints in the city. In the last few years it has really gone down hill. I remember going almost every sunday evening as a kid. They had the best house salad. I love the Laurier French dressing. They also had really awsome desserts. The HELLO DOLLIE squares are the best I ever had. In the last few years the place is empty and overpriced. Maybe the owners changed hands? I am not sure why it's changed and its quite sad. The chicken was never the best... I would take CHALET BBQ over LAURIER BBQ anyday for BBQ chicken.

        1. b
          babacol Feb 7, 2010 09:31 AM

          ouch! you compare laurier with st-hubert, I guess you just enjoy meals made out of powder haha. St-hubert compared to laurier has everything made in factories. You are right for the overprice thing but to me eating a "powdered meal" for 9$ is extremely overpriced. Now you made your choice between home made and factory made.

          2 Replies
          1. re: babacol
            c
            celfie Feb 7, 2010 09:39 AM

            oh cmon, what's homemade about laurier??? the food tastes like they've been cutting corners for the last 20 years

            1. re: celfie
              c
              cricri7 Feb 7, 2010 11:50 AM

              A couple of weeks ago, my mom decided to go to Laurier BBQ and buy one of their homemade pies to go. She was having people over for dinner and did not want to make dessert on top of the meal. She got a lemon pie which I remembered from many years ago....well....it is as good as it once was!! It is still incredibly good but I can't comment on other dishes because all she got was the pie.

          2. m
            MISTER_C Jun 4, 2010 01:23 PM

            I totally agree with you....Having the unfortunate experience of eating here last month....the food was overpriced garbage and the service was so bad that I refused to leave a tip. I rate Laurier Barbeque a ZERO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            23 Replies
            1. re: MISTER_C
              i
              ios94 Nov 10, 2010 11:00 AM

              Seems like Gordon Ramsay is going to try and fix up Rotisserie Laurier

              http://www.montrealgazette.com/Exclus...

              -----
              Rotisserie Laurier
              381 Av Laurier W, Montreal, QC H2V2K3, CA

              1. re: ios94
                Frids Nov 10, 2010 11:15 AM

                Is this a joke?

                1. re: Frids
                  SnackHappy Nov 10, 2010 11:19 AM

                  Yes, a very lucrative one.

                  1. re: SnackHappy
                    carswell Nov 10, 2010 11:39 AM

                    <guffaw>

                2. re: ios94
                  anachemia Nov 10, 2010 11:44 AM

                  Sweeet! That is awesome. Hopefully his new team will give this place the respect it deserves (not to mention restore its long-missing respect for its customers...:-/)

                  1. re: ios94
                    m
                    Maximilien Nov 10, 2010 11:49 AM

                    Poor old waitresses!!! they will all have heart attack when GR gets huffing and puffing!!!

                    Seriously, wasn't there a plan to refurbish the building ?

                    1. re: Maximilien
                      w
                      wilmagrace Nov 10, 2010 12:33 PM

                      there was an interview with coowner danielle lord on radio and she said when gordon ramsay came to Bay store in Montreal re launch of casseroles he visited the restaurant, fell in love with it (she actually said he fell in love with their chicken!), but also laurier street and decided to buy in, lend his name, his first endeavor in Canadian market. Apparently according to her he is very sweet and kind off of hells kitchen! He is in process of planning with them menu and there will be an opening of new menu (classics remain same including sugar pie and mocha cake, but there will be burgers, shepherd pie, beef bourgignon, poule au pot although all items to be added still under discussion at present....) in February 2011. She said they want to maintain family clientele but also add in teenagers, young adults as well as attract back clientele. There will be a bar operating and music. Quite the buzz! I am so glad to see this place spruced up and would certainly go there for comfort food.

                      1. re: wilmagrace
                        l
                        Lowe Arthorbit Nov 10, 2010 12:39 PM

                        I assume that the price structure of having to pay $30 to get a half-chicken with fixin's will remain. After all, price is the method used to differentiate their customer base from the riff-raff in less affluent neighbourhoods.

                        1. re: Lowe Arthorbit
                          w
                          wilmagrace Nov 10, 2010 12:46 PM

                          guess you are right, all restaurants on that street are in that price range, no deals unless you count the late night menu of lemeac

                          1. re: Lowe Arthorbit
                            anachemia Nov 10, 2010 01:09 PM

                            Dunno about that - they still need to compete with Fusee up the street on Bernard (whose prices are pretty reasonable), as well as others like the Binerie down on Mt-Royal.

                            1. re: anachemia
                              m
                              Maximilien Nov 10, 2010 02:29 PM

                              Fusée and Binerie are in different 'hoodz'! (even if bernard is close) and Binerie is not really and was never a competitor of Laurier BBQ.

                              1. re: Maximilien
                                l
                                lagatta Nov 11, 2010 04:37 PM

                                Bernard in Outremont is not really a different "hood" - very much a part of Outremont.

                              2. re: anachemia
                                m
                                maj54us Nov 12, 2010 07:45 AM

                                fusé chicken was the weirdest chicken I ever ate, I didn't like it at all.
                                Laurier chicken is a better tatse than St-Hubert chicken but so expensive (normal it's in outremont). But in my book nothing beat the taste of charcoal chicken like portugalia and ramados. Chalet suisse used to taste good 15 years ago and then it got to processed I guess? The chicken you buy makes the whole difference.

                                1. re: maj54us
                                  l
                                  lagatta Nov 12, 2010 04:34 PM

                                  The Portuguese chicken places remain my favourites too.

                            2. re: wilmagrace
                              j
                              johnnyboy Nov 10, 2010 04:41 PM

                              I was flabbergasted when I first heard about this, but now I guess I can see it, keeping it a basic homey comfort chicken place but sprucing up the quality. It's always been his mantra on the british "kitchen nightmares" series. It could work, but he really isn't known at all by the french side, so he won't be able to rely on his usually hype to ensure success.

                              1. re: johnnyboy
                                m
                                montreal_foodie_1975 Nov 10, 2010 05:24 PM

                                Dude - there are enough English speaking people who know Ramsay - everyone in my office is TRÈS excited!!! My daughter is going to freak out!

                              2. re: wilmagrace
                                SnackHappy Nov 10, 2010 06:45 PM

                                From what I could make out of the CBC interview, it sounds like Ramsay will be consulting on the menu and they'll get to use his name. It won't be his team, the restaurant had already been bought and was headed for a refurb before Ramsay got on board. I really wouldn't expect that much from the Ramsay collaboration except, of course, a lot of PR opportunities.

                                1. re: SnackHappy
                                  w
                                  wilmagrace Nov 11, 2010 06:11 AM

                                  from report in la presse today he will be back here in two weeks for planning, so does appear there will indeed be some on hands involvement than just lending his name, and possibly a tv emission on site. Its getting greater coverage across Canada (globe and mail today and i read it in two francophone papers this morning). Hence, good news for Montreal scene, as well as foodies and tourists, celebrity linkages can be just as appealing as the food served.....in one report they said they are going to try to keep prices moderate and resto may be closed at some point for renovations. Open til 3am!
                                  http://www.cyberpresse.ca/arts/televi...

                                  1. re: wilmagrace
                                    kpzoo Nov 11, 2010 06:29 AM

                                    Today's Gazette piece mentions that he's already replaced the frozen fries with fresh, so that bodes well.

                                    http://www.montrealgazette.com/entert...

                                    1. re: kpzoo
                                      anachemia Nov 15, 2010 09:49 AM

                                      Thx for posting that link...the story also mentions they're talking about expanding across the country...!

                                      (Then again, it also refers to the chicken as "grilled," so perhaps best to take the whole thing with a grain of salt.) ;-)

                                    2. re: wilmagrace
                                      m
                                      Mr F Nov 11, 2010 06:40 AM

                                      It's hard to imagine Ramsay doing this without cameras rolling, whether for Kitchen Nightmares or something else.

                                      And while I find the whole celebrity-chef phenomenon (and Gordon Ramsay in particular) tiresome, IMO it's encouraging that Laurier BBQ will apparently continue in a family resto/comfort food vein -- it may be a cliché by now, but there are still few such places delivering real quality at decent prices. I'm a little skeptical that that will be the actual result, though. Believe it when I see it.

                              3. re: ios94
                                hungryann Nov 10, 2010 04:35 PM

                                I'm sure Mister C will be lining up!

                                1. re: hungryann
                                  TheSnowpea Nov 11, 2010 05:18 PM

                                  :chortle:

                            3. o
                              OliverB Nov 15, 2010 04:17 AM

                              It's kind of ridiculous that a barbecue chicken place in Montreal needs Gordon Ramsay to come in and show them what to do.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: OliverB
                                p
                                pyropaul99 Nov 15, 2010 04:25 AM

                                One would think so but, then, if they'd resorted to using frozen french fries, one can assume they'd pretty much lost the plot so maybe they need Gordon's help to get back on track.

                                Paul.

                                1. re: pyropaul99
                                  SnackHappy Nov 15, 2010 04:51 AM

                                  I'm sure these new owners, considering their history, know about fresh versus frozen fries. They don't need him for any other reason than publicity and he doesn't need them for any other reason than making money. It's all about business. The food is only secondary.

                                  BTW, Thomas Keller uses frozen fries at Bouchon and I don't think anyone has ever complained about their quality.

                                  1. re: SnackHappy
                                    g
                                    Glaff Nov 15, 2010 05:43 AM

                                    And what is the problem again ? I've never been to Rotisserie Laurier but as I understand, it as never been about "great" food... so what are you all afraid of ?

                                    Montreal is desperately in needs of tourists (well that's what they say, I don't know anything about it) so why not ?

                                    -----
                                    Rotisserie Laurier
                                    381 Av Laurier W, Montreal, QC H2V2K3, CA

                                    1. re: Glaff
                                      SnackHappy Nov 15, 2010 06:10 AM

                                      There is no problem here and no one is afraid of anything. This site is called chowhound. The focus here is on food, not on the economics of the hospitality industry. We're not here to praise profiteering. If they're successful, more power to them. But for me the bottom line will always be about whether the food is good or not and if I'm getting my money's worth. If you want to talk shop, there's always eGullet.

                                      1. re: SnackHappy
                                        anachemia Nov 15, 2010 08:16 AM

                                        Hmmm...at least some of us have faith that Ramsay's going to come in and improve the quality of the food (and service).

                                        What, are we just supposed to zip our lips until the place re-opens?

                                        1. re: anachemia
                                          SnackHappy Nov 15, 2010 08:43 AM

                                          I never suggested anything of the sort.

                                          1. re: SnackHappy
                                            b
                                            blondee_47 Nov 15, 2010 08:55 AM

                                            he is going to add 'pub' food. Well this is not a new concept for montrealers, our brasseries would fall under that category. we will know soon enough where he is headed if we see poutines added to the menu.

                                            1. re: SnackHappy
                                              SnackHappy Nov 15, 2010 09:47 AM

                                              For the record, I never said Ramsay's input wouldn't bring any improvement. I'm certain it will. I just feel like this whole thing has much more to do with business than good food. I also don't see why I should blindly approve of it because of its potential profitability or impact on tourism. I believe that profit margins, visibility and tourism dollars shouldn't figure into our appreciation of a restaurant. Those are issues for people in the hospitality industry to be concerned about, not chowhounds. Please feel free to continue speculating. I'm certainly going to.

                                2. c
                                  celfie Nov 15, 2010 09:37 AM

                                  let's just keep in mind that ramsay's current empire delivers quality well beyond the likes rotisserie laurier. to think he is just a name is insane. he is one of the most successful restauranteurs in history. he will definitely bring rotisserie laurier to new heights - there's no question. Is it weird that he has set his sights on RL of all places? yes, but the man is doing a hell of a lot better than any restaurant owner in montreal so maybe he knows a thing or two.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: celfie
                                    SnackHappy Nov 15, 2010 09:57 AM

                                    "yes, but the man is doing a hell of a lot better than any restaurant owner in montreal so maybe he knows a thing or two."

                                    Actually, his restaurant group is in serious financial trouble and the rats are leaving the ship, but that's a discussion for another board.

                                    1. re: SnackHappy
                                      anachemia Nov 15, 2010 07:06 PM

                                      And what does this have to do with food? ;-)

                                      1. re: anachemia
                                        s
                                        Shattered Nov 16, 2010 02:26 PM

                                        Nothing whatsoever, and nothing to do with Ramsay's biz skills either.

                                      2. re: SnackHappy
                                        t
                                        torquecom Nov 17, 2010 12:40 PM

                                        imho Ramsay is probably buying into the traffic-Laurier BBQ is such an institution that it's busy even thought the food has gone wayyyy downhill,I vaguely remember them serving mashed potatoes that some people would go gaga over (we're talking decades ago though)- with that neighborhood, he could probably improve the food quality dramatically, boost the average ticket by five to seven bucks and still make a decent profit, maintaining both the dining room PLUS the take-out-Remember, they're still one of lesser priced restos in that area...But if they mess up the fallout will be merciless....

                                    2. c
                                      celfie Nov 15, 2010 09:42 AM

                                      one more point - a pet peeve of mine. at a family dinner last night, some people were up in arms 'how dare ramsay change an institution'. first of all, most of the institutions in this city are garbage!!! Orange Julep, Chenoys, Wilensky's, Mtl Pool room etc etc they more often than not suck!!!!! Second, cities are in constant flux. Remember when niu kee was the best thing ever here??? well now there are more amazing chinese places than i know what to do with. end rant.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: celfie
                                        b
                                        blondee_47 Nov 15, 2010 03:01 PM

                                        hey, when it all comes down to it; we still have Chalet BBQ on Sherbrooke.

                                        ..however, it is prudent to comprehend that whatever changes made to the menu may actually require a chef with a working knowledge of cooking; a long shot from a menu that serves mainly rotisseried chicken - so either the entire restaurant will have to take on a new persona to validate a menu with not only increased prices but additional and hopefully good dishes OR it will die this time, completely.

                                        Once it changes, I don't think there will be any going back. In my opinion; if a new and changed menu is implemented I expect a change in the clientele they will be after.

                                        1. re: celfie
                                          3
                                          3adas Nov 15, 2010 07:04 PM

                                          Thank you for the rant. I second the "most of the institutions in this city are garbage!!!"

                                        2. a
                                          ao462 Nov 16, 2010 01:31 PM

                                          I noticed a bus with 2 trailers parked behind it on Clark & Sherbrooke intersection today. It was an old looking school bus was painted red with "Hell's Kitchen" on it. Also it seemed as though it was suited to be a restaurant, could be wrong though. Any ideas if this is related to Ramsey or what exactly this is?

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: ao462
                                            w
                                            westaust Nov 16, 2010 01:41 PM

                                            that bus is simply a caterer's bus for movies/tv productions, not related whatsoever to Ramsay

                                            1. re: westaust
                                              w
                                              wilmagrace Nov 17, 2010 02:16 PM

                                              there was an interview with gordon ramsay in globe and mail today as he was making a show in toronto and the last question was the food to be served in montreal restaurant ( great publicity again, and we do need tourists, shops and restos are closing up, even on laurier more papered over windows) and he replied the classics to be retained, not squirel in that restaurant! I remembered reading of his financial difficulties a few years ago but i thought he had closed some of his international restaurants and got things back on track......I am looking forward to giving the revamped version of the rotisserie a try in february.

                                              1. re: wilmagrace
                                                porker Nov 17, 2010 09:13 PM

                                                mmmm squirrel.

                                          2. m
                                            Maximilien Nov 18, 2010 03:30 AM

                                            The fun thing is that Laurier BBQ probably made a lot more money in the last couple of weeks than it did before that for a long time!

                                            Just people who wanted to try and retry it before it gets revamped.

                                            M.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: Maximilien
                                              s
                                              Shattered Nov 18, 2010 02:29 PM

                                              No doubt

                                              1. re: Shattered
                                                w
                                                wilmagrace Nov 18, 2010 03:17 PM

                                                there was an interesting article in the journal de montreal today on the coowners who will be meeting with GR today in Montreal. They said they are planning to open up the 2nd floor and they also mentioned GR was surprised that some of the equipement used dates from 1936.
                                                http://www.canoe.com/artdevivre/cuisi...

                                                I think that is a neat idea to go try out the dusty institution now(will try to go this weekend!) and then compare after concepts have been put into place.

                                                1. re: wilmagrace
                                                  anachemia Nov 18, 2010 09:01 PM

                                                  Feh. I already remember what it was like, and frankly I'd rather forget ;-) Awaiting Sir Gordon's improvements before I throw any more money in their general direction.

                                            2. g
                                              Gary Biscuits Nov 18, 2010 07:24 PM

                                              Forgive me if I've totally skipped over it, but it seems to me that no one has mentioned that Montreal already has fantastic chicken. I'm a fan of seeing what real chefs can do with any dish, but voyons... hit up Roi, Coco Rico or Portugalia and you'll see what this town can do with la poulet. $15 cocktails and fresh fries might be nice, but an Englishman screaming, "You FUCKINK DONUT!" in your ear may detract from the experience.

                                              Try it, by all means. But, well in advance of the actual opening and my own personal exposure, I would say that if you're in it for good chicken rather than a Gordon Ramsey experience... don't get caught up in the hype. Really, how much better can he cook a chicken?

                                              Am I wrong?

                                              -----
                                              Coco Rico
                                              3907 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2W1X9, CA

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: Gary Biscuits
                                                anachemia Nov 18, 2010 09:11 PM

                                                Not wrong, but perhaps missing the point a bit. I don't think people choose a place like Laurier for the food alone. There's something about long-standing institutions and this particular type of chicken that's greater than the sum of its parts. It's been called Montreal soul food for good reason.

                                                That said, this place has been going downhill for years and needs a serious revamp, particularly in the areas of service and RQP. Poor management can really interfere with a resto experience: you leave feeling like you got ripped off and/or treated like crap, you're not going back no matter what the food was like.

                                                Whatever Ramsay does to it, can't be worse than whatever's gone on there over the past decade. I think I'm not alone in being hopeful that he might be able to breathe some life back into this place and fix some of the issues that have driven away its clientele (without introducing any new ones).

                                                1. re: Gary Biscuits
                                                  porker Nov 19, 2010 07:11 AM

                                                  I think the chicken has almost nothing to do with it and Ramsay's hype has everything to do with it.
                                                  If it was reported that Rotisserie Laurier was simply renovating or revamping, people would hardly raise an eyebrow. They'd be saying "it should have been done years ago" or "how dare they change an institution".
                                                  Throw Ramsay into the equation and you get the hype, talk, speculation, etc etc.

                                                  -----
                                                  Rotisserie Laurier
                                                  381 Av Laurier W, Montreal, QC H2V2K3, CA

                                                  1. re: porker
                                                    w
                                                    wilmagrace Nov 23, 2010 04:48 AM

                                                    wow the hype has spread to Toronto and beyond they have their first reservation at a hefty price!

                                                    Milena P..., who lives in Cambridge and is a litigation lawyer , ...a home cook who likes to throw “big, fancy parties,” she reads “cookbooks like other people read novels.”

                                                    P... bid $4,000 at the auction to eat at Rotisserie Laurier BBQ by Ramsay when it launches in Montreal in late March or early April. (He said the restaurant, open since the 1930s, has “lost its way” and will be lovingly turned around and put “back on the map.”)
                                                    Protich had nothing but praise for Ramsay, going so far as to call him “so warm, so generous — and a great guy.”

                                                    http://www.thestar.com/living/food/ar...

                                                    -----
                                                    Rotisserie Laurier
                                                    381 Av Laurier W, Montreal, QC H2V2K3, CA

                                                    1. re: wilmagrace
                                                      o
                                                      OliverB Nov 23, 2010 05:13 AM

                                                      four thousand dollar bids to eat Laurier barbecue chicken... people are officially insane.

                                                      1. re: OliverB
                                                        SourberryLily Mar 2, 2011 08:56 AM

                                                        Wow.................

                                                2. i
                                                  iheartspicyfood Nov 23, 2010 06:38 AM

                                                  GR is an over-priced, over-hyped culinary brand who's quality has long sinced diminished. I wouldn't invest a dime under his name. IMO, Montreal has no need for an international celebrity chef!

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: iheartspicyfood
                                                    w
                                                    wilmagrace Dec 9, 2010 01:24 PM

                                                    I did my before trip tonight but now after that may not even bother to try the after GR part since they want to keep the old dishes like chicken pot pie what I had. The dish was bland and the service was bland. I seated myself after asking at back cash since no one came to front, there were 4 occupied tables and my waitress spent the whole time I was there lighting candles, i had to interrupt her to ask for the bill. When she handed me the menu before i looked at it she asked if i wanted to order now (must be regulars there who know ahead).. The chicken pot pie she poured from bowl into a plate and topped it with a round biscuit of pastry. It would have been better in the original dish as it looked like lots of pale yellow glutinous looking sauce for the most part with torn strips of chicken various sizes, two tiny slices of carrot and 1 or 2 tiny pieces of potato sections with skin on, nothing else and bland to nth degree. I suggest they spruce up the oldies, not count on them to bring in customers-the place definitely needs some help. There was no bread. The price was $13 which is ok at dinner but I would prefer to pay more and have less blandness. The staff were almost invisible which is odd for a place that is looking for more clientele. So much for my earlier enthusiasm! The outside of the building is really quite charming but inside dark and nothing special, seemed to me a depressing place even with the candles all lighted.

                                                    1. re: wilmagrace
                                                      porker Dec 9, 2010 05:13 PM

                                                      dont worry, Gordo will fix everything.

                                                  2. m
                                                    Maximilien Mar 2, 2011 08:52 AM

                                                    Seems Laurier BBQ is now officially closed for renovation and menu update... they laid off all current employees.

                                                    End of an era!

                                                    M.

                                                    7 Replies
                                                    1. re: Maximilien
                                                      SourberryLily Mar 2, 2011 08:58 AM

                                                      "they laid off all current employees"

                                                      Did they really? Where did you hear that?

                                                      1. re: SourberryLily
                                                        kpzoo Mar 2, 2011 09:07 AM

                                                        http://www.cyberpresse.ca/vivre/cuisi...

                                                        1. re: kpzoo
                                                          JedZ Mar 2, 2011 09:33 AM

                                                          From Montreal Gazette:
                                                          Gordon Ramsay's Laurier BBQ shuts for fixup

                                                          The Gazette March 2, 2011 12:23 PM

                                                          Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/G...

                                                          MONTREAL - Rumors are swirling that the imminent closure of Laurier BBQ for a re-furbishing and re-branding will mean the end of jobs for all employees.

                                                          A consultant working with the new owners of the Laurier Ave. eatery informs The Gazette that the restaurant will be closing on April 17 for an overhaul and a change of name and management, but that jobs are not at risk for the 48 employees.

                                                          1. re: JedZ
                                                            SourberryLily Mar 2, 2011 09:39 AM

                                                            Blah! Too many rumors flying about, even in the cyberpresse article. Too much faux intrigue. I rather not listen to any of it and wait for the final official results.

                                                            I do hope that the staff wont be fired, that is no better then a corporate takeover

                                                            1. re: SourberryLily
                                                              c
                                                              celfie Mar 2, 2011 11:58 AM

                                                              from the sounds of it, the restaurant wouldn't have been around much longer if not for the ramsay intervention - in which case all staff would lose their jobs. These people can get jobs at other bad diners if they want.

                                                              1. re: celfie
                                                                w
                                                                wilmagrace Mar 2, 2011 02:15 PM

                                                                when i went in december, hardly any customers there and the staff ignored you and were totally detached, how can a resto succeed like that --for me the service is important as can colour the whole experience, but the food was nothing to write home about , no doubt in my mind this place is overdue for a total makeover

                                                            2. re: JedZ
                                                              v
                                                              VinnyRW Mar 2, 2011 07:28 PM

                                                              Does anyone know when Gordon Ramsay plans to reopen the place?

                                                      2. m
                                                        martyboy Mar 3, 2011 06:17 PM

                                                        The absolute WORST place for chicken i've ever eaten in.The chicken was dry and tasteless... the fries tasted like and looked like Mcain frozen fries and even worse was the sauce, a putrid concoction of vile tasting brown liquid that i nearly gagged on .I do not consider my self a picky person but i swear that i would NEVER eat in that restaurant ever again even if the whole meal was totally FREE... including alcohol The owner of that place should be completely embarassed....The Worst In Montreal !!!!! Never mind that it is also the most expensive chicken in Montreal. What a joke!! Overall a zero out of ten......not even a one.

                                                        9 Replies
                                                        1. re: martyboy
                                                          m
                                                          maj54us Mar 3, 2011 06:57 PM

                                                          Aren't you pushing it a little here? How can a place survive 30+ year if it was mediocre? And believe me I wasn't a fan of this place or st-hubert chicken. It's a question of taste and to me their chicken were lacking flavors. I'm more into charcoal bbq chicken, like the Portuguese or Lebanese style.

                                                          Anyway doesn't matter it closing and with the quality control of chef ramsay things should be revamped I guess.

                                                          1. re: maj54us
                                                            c
                                                            celfie Mar 4, 2011 10:31 AM

                                                            it wasn't always as bad as it currently is. But it hasn't been good for at least a decade. I think they were barely surviving off of their regular+aging clientel. i'd say their food does in fact border on terrible. and it is depressing inside.

                                                          2. re: martyboy
                                                            Frids Mar 4, 2011 04:21 AM

                                                            Not sure I agree either. I was there two weeks ago and it was fine, nothing special, also nearly empty. Still serving frozen fries despite what was said in the press last year.

                                                            1. re: Frids
                                                              a
                                                              Apple IIGS Mar 24, 2011 05:47 PM

                                                              Sadly, I tend to agree with Martyboy's comments above.

                                                              My family and I used to dine at Laurier BBQ when I was growing up, my last visit would have been over 25 years ago. Despite how young I was at the time, I do remember the meals and desserts were fantastic. So, when I heard they were shutting down I decided I had to return for a taste of that past, just one last time. So last night after decades, I finally returned...

                                                              Unfortunately it was a vast disappointment! The chicken, while semi-moist, was just average at best. Certainly not the taste I remember, or would find myself craving. The french fries are completely horrid, obviously frozen supermarket fries (of the same variety McDonald's uses, only far more dried out and tasteless). When a McDonald's has superior fries to a 75 year old landmark restaurant, you know something is wrong. Oh, and for the record, I detest McDonald's fries to put this in light. The "dipping sauce" is indeed, putrid. Rancid is more descriptive, it tastes like melted rubber tires mixed with rubbing alcohol. I tried to get used to the taste, but it was horrid, so I ended up eating my chicken dry (no amount of sauce could rescue the pathetic excuse for fries they serve, or soggy bun).

                                                              Still... I remembered their lemon cream pie was to die for, at least back when I last had it in the early 80's. As a matter of fact, ALL lemon meringue pie I've eaten since then has always been gauged against Laurier in my book. So it was $5 a slice, which rather expensive considering the size, but I just had to taste it again. Well...I don't know what happened, but what was served to me I could have sworn was a McCain frozen dessert! This was NOT the Laurier pie I remembered and know. Also a nice touch that the staff are unfriendly and offer poor service, but oh well, perhaps it's due to losing their jobs.

                                                              The worst part was a meal for two (plate of chicken/fries and slice of pie) cost over $50! What a robbery, for such mediocre quality food. If you want good BBQ chicken, fries and lemon meringue pie, do yourself a favour and visit Chalet BBQ on Sherbrooke St. West in NDG. Or any Swiss Chalet restaurant in Ontario (they've left Quebec; if people actually fancy Laurier, then I'm not the least bit surprised).

                                                              Laurier BBQ apparently died many years ago. Good riddance to whatever it is that took its place, now I'm glad Gordon Ramsay is ceasing its existence rather than feeling disheartened.

                                                              1. re: Apple IIGS
                                                                c
                                                                celfie Apr 10, 2011 05:05 PM

                                                                you can't possibly be comparing chalet bbq to swiss chalet, right??? i'd say laurier bbq is on par with swiss chalet. i went to chalet bbq last night and it was as good as very - fewer fries for some reason, but i suppose that's a good thing

                                                                1. re: celfie
                                                                  a
                                                                  Apple IIGS Apr 13, 2011 12:57 AM

                                                                  Swiss Chalet was (and still remains) one of my favorite restaurants, and yes, I find Chalet BBQ very similar. On a note of interest, Chalet BBQ used to operate a second restaurant on the corner of Decarie and Vezina (near the Orange Julep) which at one point was taken over by Swiss Chalet and served their food and menu, yet still kept the Chalet BBQ name!

                                                                  Laurier BBQ, as it stands now, is no where near Swiss Chalet or Chalet BBQ. I would put it more on par with St. Hubert, which incidentally has bland and tasteless chicken and fries but not quite as sub-standard as Lauier. I don't understand how some people can say Laurier has good chicken, that night I went their chicken was really tasteless and everything else served nothing less than a disaster!

                                                                  In terms of the closure for "renovation", it's more accurately a demolition. My understanding is little or nothing will remain of Laurier BBQ, not the decor, staff, menu or even the name. Ramsay could have just opened a new restaurant from the ground up, but figured it will attract far more attention and publicity if he destroys a 75 year old landmark restaurant by building this new one on top of it. Fortunately, after revisiting Laurier BBQ, I will not miss it one bit. I do miss the Laurier BBQ I knew in early 80's, but that restaurant disappeared long ago.

                                                                  1. re: Apple IIGS
                                                                    c
                                                                    celfie Apr 13, 2011 08:21 AM

                                                                    i believe chalet bbq cooks the chicken on coal whereas chalet bbq use electricity or propane. swiss chalet chicken, gravy, coleslaw and fries are not even close to swiss chalet. it's like saying that nickles has smoked meat on par with schwartzs

                                                                    1. re: celfie
                                                                      a
                                                                      Apple IIGS Apr 13, 2011 12:54 PM

                                                                      I haven't had Swiss Chalet in years, not since the chain left Quebec a decade ago. But call me crazy, I remember their chicken was unlike any other chain restaurant, regardless of how it is or was prepared (is it possible they did it differently back then? Or just the specific one I visited in Laval?).

                                                                      It's funny you should mention both Chalet BBQ and Schwartz's. I think the quality at both places have really gone downhill, especially in the case of Schwartz's. Chalet BBQ has had a lot of off-nights lately (though when they're "on", they're to die for!). I hope I've just been having bad luck with the timing of my visits. Though it seems a trend I'm noticing for a lot of Montreal's landmark restaurants, sadly...

                                                                      1. re: celfie
                                                                        porker Apr 13, 2011 06:30 PM

                                                                        I'm not sure of your post, likely typos, but you compare chalet to chalet and swiss to swiss...
                                                                        From what I understand, Swiss Chalet used to cook on charcoal, but switched to gas in the late 80s. Chalet BBQ started with charcoal and continues to use hardwood maple charcoal today.
                                                                        As a side, from what I've been told, it is unlawful to install a charcoal-burning oven on the Island of Montreal. The ones currently in use are grandfathered, but new-construction is a no-no. I tend to believe this, but its hard to understand as charcoal GRILLS come and go and have essentially the same impact environmentally. But then again, Montreal by-laws are sometimes difficult to understand.

                                                            2. h
                                                              hungry34 Apr 10, 2011 03:09 PM

                                                              I went to Laurier last night as it is closing in just over a week and this place is a landmark of my childhood.It was packed, you could feel the nostalgia in the air, people want to experience it one last time. It's a shame that's it has to close, but then again, the upstairs dining room is never used (I've never even seen it) and the side one hardly ever. For some reason it seemed like the food was better, had more flavor. I will miss this place, if only for the servers that I've been seeing since I was little. That and the Hello Dolly cookie....

                                                              8 Replies
                                                              1. re: hungry34
                                                                m
                                                                Maximilien Apr 10, 2011 04:11 PM

                                                                I'm confused.

                                                                Is it closed for the Gordon Ramsay-ish "make over" ? or that did not work out as expected ?

                                                                M.

                                                                1. re: Maximilien
                                                                  h
                                                                  hungry34 Apr 10, 2011 04:52 PM

                                                                  I asked our server last night, as I too was quite confused about the reason for closure. She told me the restaurant Rôtisserie Laurier will cease to exist in 8 days. Renovations are supposed to be done by June (perfect for the summer time busy period), and it will re-open under something different. I've read articles saying that Ramsay wants to make it a place where the younger crowd can hang out, like it was in the 1960-1970.

                                                                  1. re: hungry34
                                                                    porker Apr 11, 2011 03:00 AM

                                                                    Yeah, but currently its the same crowd that hung out there in the 60's and 70s - hehe.

                                                                    1. re: porker
                                                                      h
                                                                      hungry34 Apr 11, 2011 05:27 AM

                                                                      Exactly. As the main clientele comes from the descending family of these people, he wants to make it into a place where young people can hang out again. I'm just hoping it doesn't turn out to be kind of like Leméac (which I am a big fan of, don't get me wrong)...

                                                                      1. re: hungry34
                                                                        b
                                                                        blondee_47 Apr 11, 2011 08:36 AM

                                                                        then he should have opened it in Toronto :)) unlike my generation for whom moving out of Montreal and away from our parents and grandparents was done ONLY if one had to...now, at least amongst my friends who always ate there; most of their kids are not in Quebec. However, I do think that Montreal is ripe for the old-fashioned Jewish Deli a la Brown Derby because I think that this idea can truly cross boundaries for the existing disposable income crowd of Montrealers and it seems to be a popular idea south of the border and growing in its nature.

                                                                        Also I am not talking just smoked meat sandwiches: nor do I forget about Snowdon Deli; which only touches on what I mean

                                                                2. re: hungry34
                                                                  w
                                                                  wilmagrace Apr 10, 2011 04:12 PM

                                                                  Its a great location and the outside with the habitant look + weathervane has a lot going for it. Usually chains move in like swiss chalet or st. hubert so bravo to Gordon Ramsay for trying something unique. Laurier street has managed to retain individual businesses so would be a pity to lose this cachet in this part of the city. Even the website is static

                                                                  http://laurierbbq.com/

                                                                  1936 is a longtime to keep to the same formula!

                                                                  1. re: wilmagrace
                                                                    SourberryLily Apr 11, 2011 11:17 AM

                                                                    That's not a website its a webpage... Yes i think it'S time for them to update the food, the venue and the business management style of this place.

                                                                    1. re: SourberryLily
                                                                      w
                                                                      wilmagrace Apr 16, 2011 12:20 PM

                                                                      looked to be busy today, there was a 2 page section of photos and nostalgia in la presse today. Some of the staff are applying for positions in new entity, they are going to use the room on left of entrance for the bar area and hope to be able to negotiate with city for a terrace.

                                                                3. j
                                                                  jay_81k Apr 16, 2011 12:38 PM

                                                                  Im not excited about this place at all. Im sure being on Laurier and owned by Gordon Ramsay its just gonna be an overpriced nothing special chicken place, when we already have so many good cheap chicken options why even bother going there?

                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                  1. re: jay_81k
                                                                    c
                                                                    celfie Apr 16, 2011 12:58 PM

                                                                    who's to say it won't be good???

                                                                    1. re: celfie
                                                                      j
                                                                      jay_81k Apr 16, 2011 01:46 PM

                                                                      Let's hope it is!

                                                                    2. re: jay_81k
                                                                      porker Apr 17, 2011 09:08 AM

                                                                      who's to say it will be a chicken place?

                                                                      1. re: porker
                                                                        SnackHappy Apr 17, 2011 09:22 AM

                                                                        Who's to say it will be a restaurant?

                                                                        1. re: SnackHappy
                                                                          t
                                                                          thebenc Apr 17, 2011 11:58 AM

                                                                          Who's to say it'll still be on Laurier?

                                                                    3. a
                                                                      Apple IIGS Apr 17, 2011 07:22 PM

                                                                      So did Laurier close for good last night?

                                                                      If they do serve chicken again, and that's not a guarantee, I would seriously hope its a totally new recipe. As it stands, you'd get better BBQ chicken from your local Provigo, Metro or Super C (I'm being completely serious!).

                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Apple IIGS
                                                                        c
                                                                        celfie Apr 17, 2011 07:24 PM

                                                                        the gordon ramsay beef wellington haus

                                                                        1. re: Apple IIGS
                                                                          kpzoo Apr 21, 2011 12:51 PM

                                                                          Laurier BBQ news via Lesley Chesterman:

                                                                          "Laurier BBQ update. All desserts will be kept on new menu, local chef will train with Ramsay team, opening with Ramsay slated for June 10. Also told by owner he received offers to turn the Laurier BBQ space into a shoe store before Ramsay's involvement."
                                                                          http://twitter.com/lesleychestrman/

                                                                          Wonder if they're filming this process?

                                                                          1. re: kpzoo
                                                                            w
                                                                            wilmagrace Jun 6, 2011 11:17 AM

                                                                            just a little update, workers have been busy inside the resto (windows papered up), and the upper windows are now open as they are renovating the second floor as well. Today they have repainted the front to what the workers say are the original colours, certainly gives it a different look and people are stopping as quite a change. White has replaced the yellow-gold facade and the windows sills will be be painted charcoal to cover up the forest green. It will be interesting to see what they do with the inside, whatever they do I am sure it will be brighter and more contemporary in look.

                                                                            http://www.flickr.com/photos/35495374...

                                                                            --tried to find an old photo but no success to see if was originally white, it is 75 years old as a resto.....

                                                                            1. re: wilmagrace
                                                                              a
                                                                              Apple IIGS Jun 17, 2011 11:39 AM

                                                                              Has the restaurant been reopened yet? Last I heard June 17th, 2011 was THE day set to open its doors, which is today. Any news?

                                                                              I'm curious what changes were made.

                                                                              1. re: Apple IIGS
                                                                                u
                                                                                unlaced Jun 17, 2011 11:57 AM

                                                                                They have an advertisement on Craiglist looking for staff, so I am guessing they are a little behind in their plans!

                                                                                1. re: Apple IIGS
                                                                                  SnackHappy Jun 17, 2011 12:27 PM

                                                                                  Here's their not very active twitter account. Maybe they'll announce something someday.

                                                                                  http://twitter.com/#!/LaurierBBQ/

                                                                                  1. re: SnackHappy
                                                                                    w
                                                                                    wilmagrace Jun 19, 2011 12:23 PM

                                                                                    only sign on their door is about people turning up for job interviews, to go to far door; anyways before i give them another try i want to see a menu

                                                                          2. m
                                                                            Maximilien Jun 20, 2011 04:12 PM

                                                                            Rumors has it ( Lesley Chesterman.) that it should open on August 7 (probably a soft/VIP opening since that day is a sunday)

                                                                            http://fr.canoe.ca/artdevivre/cuisine...

                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Maximilien
                                                                              SnackHappy Jun 20, 2011 04:52 PM

                                                                              Oh snap! QMI turns a tweet into an article without even mentioning twitter. Now that's some top notch journalism for you.

                                                                              1. re: SnackHappy
                                                                                w
                                                                                wilmagrace Jun 24, 2011 02:53 PM

                                                                                http://twitpic.com/5fq8v0

                                                                                http://twitpic.com/5fq7tb

                                                                                http://twitpic.com/58alp1

                                                                                photos of ongoing renovations, from leslie chesterman site
                                                                                What a difference, gone the rustic look, really spruced it up

                                                                                1. re: wilmagrace
                                                                                  c
                                                                                  celfie Jun 24, 2011 03:58 PM

                                                                                  looks like ikea

                                                                                  1. re: celfie
                                                                                    f
                                                                                    Fintastic Jun 30, 2011 10:05 AM

                                                                                    I expected that you were being overly critical, but you're entirely right - half the stuff in the restaurant is literally from Ikea.

                                                                                    1. re: celfie
                                                                                      c
                                                                                      Ched1000 Jul 11, 2011 08:23 AM

                                                                                      The lamps, all of it

                                                                                    2. re: wilmagrace
                                                                                      anachemia Jul 14, 2011 06:48 PM

                                                                                      Sad sad sad....thought they were keeping the old vibe. We don't need more places like this with no history and no soul. Sure makes me appreciate what they did at Nouveau Palais...

                                                                                      1. re: anachemia
                                                                                        c
                                                                                        chickenbruiser Jul 16, 2011 10:02 AM

                                                                                        Not that I like the design of the place but there's nothing wrong with updating a tired decor. As for the Nouveau Palais, I don't it is a matter of history and soul but more about hipster chic.... I never thought of arborite as being "soulful" just easy to wipe down with a cloth.

                                                                                2. v
                                                                                  vanierstudent Jun 30, 2011 09:25 AM

                                                                                  The chef from Bistro Olivieri, the small bistro/library next to UDM, will head the kitchen of Laurier BBQ.
                                                                                  http://www.cyberpresse.ca/vivre/cuisi...

                                                                                  -----
                                                                                  Bistro Olivieri
                                                                                  5219 Ch De La Cote-Des-Neiges, Montreal, QC H3T1Y1, CA

                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: vanierstudent
                                                                                    s
                                                                                    sweettoothMTL Jun 30, 2011 11:45 AM

                                                                                    well, that's a shame for Olivieri, but a good thing for this chef. He made good food at Olivieri, so I'm happy for him. I wasn't planning on trying the new Chalet BBQ (by Gordon Ramsey, as they call it in the article), but now I may, just to see what he does.

                                                                                    1. re: vanierstudent
                                                                                      anachemia Jul 14, 2011 06:49 PM

                                                                                      Good for him, but remind me why they need a chef in a rotisserie joint?

                                                                                      1. re: anachemia
                                                                                        k
                                                                                        kpaxonite Jul 14, 2011 07:05 PM

                                                                                        because someone needs to be in charge of the kitchen staff, plating, and quality....

                                                                                        Im sure even romados has a 'chef'

                                                                                        1. re: anachemia
                                                                                          SnackHappy Jul 14, 2011 07:24 PM

                                                                                          It's not a rotisserie joint anymore, it's Laurier by Gordon Ramsay.

                                                                                          1. re: SnackHappy
                                                                                            anachemia Jul 15, 2011 10:17 AM

                                                                                            Exactly.

                                                                                      2. SnackHappy Jul 14, 2011 07:05 PM

                                                                                        The grand opening is scheduled for 8 August.

                                                                                        http://twitter.com/#!/LaurierGR/statu...

                                                                                        They're doing a soft open, looks like lunch only, starting 25 July.

                                                                                        22 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: SnackHappy
                                                                                          w
                                                                                          wilmagrace Jul 20, 2011 02:49 PM

                                                                                          It is starting to look more dressed up on outside: two metal signs up (although covered with black plastic), glassed in menu box (no menu yet), plant boxes with greenery and next door juliette et chocolat is building a terrace jutting out into street! So can go there for meal and next door for dessert!

                                                                                          1. re: SnackHappy
                                                                                            m
                                                                                            mystikdrey Jul 28, 2011 06:57 AM

                                                                                            Some friends of mine went to the soft opening yesterday and were a little disappointed... to the point they don't think they'll be going back. Food was bland. One of them had the "shrimp and crab roll" and really wasn't impressed... Also, Gordon wasn't even on site ;)

                                                                                            1. re: mystikdrey
                                                                                              m
                                                                                              Maximilien Jul 28, 2011 07:48 AM

                                                                                              That's why restaurants do soft-opening ...

                                                                                              Did you report that to the staff ?

                                                                                              1. re: Maximilien
                                                                                                m
                                                                                                mystikdrey Jul 28, 2011 08:05 AM

                                                                                                I wasn't there myself so I can't tell for sure... but usually these people don't keep that kind of comment for themselves.

                                                                                              2. re: mystikdrey
                                                                                                c
                                                                                                cherry cherry Jul 28, 2011 10:27 AM

                                                                                                I think Gordon is going to be in town next week, I saw something on twitter about that.
                                                                                                Also, Chesterman posted on twitter that she went to the soft opening and that she did not like the desserts. I believe she said it was the exact same desserts and recipes as before but the taste was not there. She also made it clear, that they are still working out the kinks.

                                                                                                1. re: cherry cherry
                                                                                                  g
                                                                                                  Glaff Jul 28, 2011 11:23 AM

                                                                                                  "....did not like the desserts" is a polite way to say it ! Here's the original Tweet :

                                                                                                  "Tasted the famous Laurier BBQ moka and carrot cakes tonight. Gotta say, two of the WORST pieces of cake to ever pass these lips.

                                                                                                  And yes, they were the original recipes made by the same people as before. I just don't get it."

                                                                                                  1. re: Glaff
                                                                                                    porker Jul 28, 2011 01:02 PM

                                                                                                    Maybe they were leftover from before the makeover?

                                                                                                    1. re: porker
                                                                                                      anachemia Aug 5, 2011 06:57 PM

                                                                                                      <chortle>

                                                                                                    2. re: Glaff
                                                                                                      anachemia Aug 5, 2011 06:56 PM

                                                                                                      How could they be "made by the same people as before" when the entire staff was canned back in April?

                                                                                                    3. re: cherry cherry
                                                                                                      anachemia Aug 5, 2011 09:03 PM

                                                                                                      I got to eat there last night**, but take my comments with a grain of salt, as it's very true that they're working out LOTS of kinks (still in the soft-opening phase).

                                                                                                      First, I take back my previous snarky comments about the decor. They clearly took much more care in the refurb than it appeared from the early pictures. That said, the antique pieces that were preserved now stand out much more against the freshened-up backdrop. Pieces like the distressed door-to-nowhere in the bar and historic plates plastered into the wall seem somehow grafted on, placed there to serve as a testament to the resto's past, rather than incorporated as living parts of its new incarnation.

                                                                                                      Unfortunately, these decorative nods to the past are a perfect metaphor for what seems to be wrong at Ramsay's Laurier: the signature dishes that formerly served as the resto's heart and soul feel like they, too, have been grafted onto the menu for nostalgia's sake alone. Juxtaposed among modern clichés that have nothing to do with Montreal or chicken (like the trio of mini-burgers, the short rib sandwich, or the series of trendy salads), the old-school rotisserie dishes are but a sideline, literally - banished to a dusty corner of the menu, not even listed under Main Dishes. Core classics are either nowhere to be found (Hot chicken sandwich?), modified beyond recognition (Chicken Pot Pie made with feuilleté - whaaat?), or served up in odd formats (Poutine only available as a main dish - who wants to eat Poutine for dinner, except maybe tourists?).

                                                                                                      The shift in emphasis toward trendy new dishes could be forgiven if the execution of the few remaining classics was at least passable, enough to satisfy cravings and gradually ease diners towards the new additions. Based on my meal last night, this is a serious problem: the flavours do not pass muster - pas pantoute. The chicken itself was a bit dry and generally unremarkable. The fries were beyond overseasoned - I ate TWO and could not choke down any more (a feat for a french-fry addict like myself). The sauce was extremely salty and had the wrong flavour profile entirely - it belonged on a slab of roast beef, lacking any hint of the complex spices typically used in Quebecois sauce brune. Since my dinner was drenched in it, I could only eat about 4 or 5 bites before surrendering - it was just too salty. The coleslaw was pretty much the only thing edible on our table, but the sweet mild dressing, while admittedly delicious, bore zero resemblance to the zingy Montreal slaw that usually accompanies rich rotisserie chicken.

                                                                                                      While I have to admit there's something deliciously surreal about being served inedible food in one of Ramsay's own restaurants, the outcome at the new Laurier so far is just as puzzling as it is disappointing. Why bother keeping the old resto's artifacts (including the ancient newspaper clipping in the entrance) if you're not going to honor its legacy? Why fire the whole staff in one fell swoop if you're supposedly trying to preserve its history? Why even attempt to keep the old classics on the menu when the new renditions utterly fail to live up to local diners' expectations? Rotisserie is Montreal's soul food, a tradition that is alive and well in many other venues around town. To put these classic dishes on the menu and fail to honor them properly is not just a waste of everyone's time, it's really an insult to the culinary traditions of this city.

                                                                                                      Perhaps the uninformed Zagat hordes will flock to the place for its clichéd tourist specialities, but if the new Laurier doesn't improve over the meal they served me last night, they're going to alienate the local segment pretty fast. They've certainly managed to alienate me: I've been a fan of Ramsay for years, but based on this recent experience, if I ran into the guy tomorrow, I'd sincerely tell him to **** off. ;-)

                                                                                                      ** Disclosure: We took the risk of eating there during their guinea-pig week, so we expected some glitches. We agreed to fill out a 2-pg questionnaire during the meal, and provided detailed feedback about everything that we felt wasn't up to snuff. They comped one of our mains after we complained about the salt levels. Resulting total was about $35 with tax and tip (no alcohol, minus one main). For what it's worth, I still wish them the best and hope they manage to turn things around.

                                                                                                      1. re: anachemia
                                                                                                        porker Aug 6, 2011 06:10 AM

                                                                                                        Nice review.

                                                                                                        "if I ran into the guy tomorrow, I'd sincerely tell him to **** off"
                                                                                                        I get the sneaking suspicion it wouldn't be his first time.

                                                                                                        1. re: anachemia
                                                                                                          SnackHappy Aug 6, 2011 07:01 AM

                                                                                                          Thanks for the report, anachemia. It's pretty sad to see that they've wasted the place's potential and turned into just more yuppie bait.

                                                                                                          Ah, le sigh...

                                                                                                          1. re: anachemia
                                                                                                            b
                                                                                                            BLM Aug 6, 2011 07:27 AM

                                                                                                            This is about the totally opposite what Gazoo critic Lesley Chesterman said on Montreal radio 3 days ago. She absolutely raved about their food(she ate there with her son Thursday July 28). She ate through much of the menu.

                                                                                                            1. re: BLM
                                                                                                              anachemia Aug 6, 2011 08:02 AM

                                                                                                              Glad to hear they may be doing SOMETHING right (especially when their friend Lesley is in the house). I missed her radio review, but based on her Twitter comments, it sounds like she was more interested in the new additions to the menu.

                                                                                                              I didn't go near any of that - personally I didn't see the point of ordering burgers or short rib sandwich when they made a point of keeping the old favorites on the menu. I was excited to try Ramsay's "improved" versions of these classics. So much for that.

                                                                                                              1. re: anachemia
                                                                                                                b
                                                                                                                BLM Aug 6, 2011 08:13 AM

                                                                                                                Besides the dishes you mentioned here that she liked, she also liked their rotisserie chicken. I agree she might be too close to the people involved to properly judge(also given preferential treatment).

                                                                                                                1. re: BLM
                                                                                                                  g
                                                                                                                  Glaff Aug 6, 2011 08:24 AM

                                                                                                                  You mean like this too friendly comment : "Tasted the famous Laurier BBQ moka and carrot cakes tonight. Gotta say, two of the WORST pieces of cake to ever pass these lips" ? ;)

                                                                                                                  1. re: Glaff
                                                                                                                    b
                                                                                                                    BLM Aug 6, 2011 08:33 AM

                                                                                                                    Yes I did see her tweet that on her Twitter account. Clarification by her 2 days later responding to someone "@EveDumas Moka cake is terrible, carrot cake is dull. Ramsay wanted to ditch both of them. He was right. Nostalgic customers keep them going." Then she tweeted on Monday(Aug 1)"Tasted another version of the carrot cake from @LaurierGR . Delicious! #highhopes."

                                                                                                                  2. re: BLM
                                                                                                                    anachemia Aug 6, 2011 10:44 AM

                                                                                                                    Even if not intentional on anyone's part, if you know you're plating dishes for one of the most influential people on the local food scene, you're gonna make sure things are as perfect as possible.

                                                                                                                    They obviously know exactly who she is, so it's besides the point whether she's objective and honest (which I really do believe is the case).

                                                                                                                    I would love to get her opinion of the food I was served the other night...

                                                                                                                    1. re: anachemia
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                                                                                                                      BLM Aug 7, 2011 04:46 PM

                                                                                                                      Yeah I know(didn't want to say here earlier, as I already been critical of her for being too friendly with Montreal restaurateurs). I don't even think it was a anonymous dining visit. I think she has been in process of doing a feature story on them. I'm sure she has already introduce herself to Gordon Ramsey.

                                                                                                              2. re: anachemia
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                                                                                                                Glaff Aug 6, 2011 08:10 AM

                                                                                                                I don't know why you keep repeating that the old staff was fired but they were not...

                                                                                                                1. re: Glaff
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                                                                                                                  Maximilien Aug 6, 2011 08:20 AM

                                                                                                                  They were originaly fired and then re-hired .

                                                                                                                  1. re: Glaff
                                                                                                                    anachemia Aug 6, 2011 10:24 AM

                                                                                                                    Because I wasn't aware they were rehired. That's very cool to hear.
                                                                                                                    If anyone has a link to more info about that please share!

                                                                                                          2. TheSnowpea Jul 31, 2011 06:52 AM

                                                                                                            La Presse has a photo essay on the renovated Laurier BBQ: http://www.cyberpresse.ca/photos/vivr...

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                                                                                                            1. re: TheSnowpea
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                                                                                                              Maximilien Jul 31, 2011 08:31 AM

                                                                                                              The chairs at the communal tables look weird?!

                                                                                                              But in general, the restaurant looks fine; I like the new exterior colours, more modern while keeping an "old" esthetics.

                                                                                                              If the food holds up; then it will be a good stop for chicken (other than portugese).

                                                                                                              M.

                                                                                                              1. re: Maximilien
                                                                                                                SourberryLily Aug 10, 2011 09:16 AM

                                                                                                                Agreed about the chairs. Not only do they look weird, but i hate metal chairs against my skin. Obviously the person who chose them does not wear skirts.

                                                                                                                Or think of the noise level... urgh

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                                                                                                              Glaff Aug 8, 2011 01:57 PM

                                                                                                              Menu : http://www.askmen.com/newsletter/laur...

                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Glaff
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                                                                                                                kpaxonite Aug 8, 2011 02:43 PM

                                                                                                                The pricing structure seems really weird ..... and so does smoked meat mac n cheese. And the Rotisserie part definitely seems like an afterthought rather than the highlight.

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                                                                                                                  celfie Aug 8, 2011 03:08 PM

                                                                                                                  there's an interesting article floating around the media section on how restaurants of this sort organize and design the printed menu to direct your attention to certain money makers. for fun, you guys should read that and then look at the menu...i'm just saying...

                                                                                                                  anyways, the prices are very similar to a baton rouge type restaurant. i don't think they're unreasonable

                                                                                                                  interesting though that he considers poutine a main - i guess that's a shout out to the stoners in the neighbourhood

                                                                                                                  1. re: celfie
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                                                                                                                    kpaxonite Aug 8, 2011 03:18 PM

                                                                                                                    I don't think the prices are unreasonable at all either (well I haven't tasted the food so I can't really say that...)... I just found the pricing structure odd in the sense that over half the mains are the same price as the apps.

                                                                                                                    I think this is the article you mention http://moneywatch.bnet.com/spending/b...

                                                                                                                2. re: Glaff
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                                                                                                                  Maximilien Aug 8, 2011 04:10 PM

                                                                                                                  Well, they lost me ... they serve st-viateur bagels ... not Fairmount ones!!!

                                                                                                                  food fight!!! :-) :-)

                                                                                                                  joking!!!

                                                                                                                  I hope to try the chicken next week-end if there are not too many bloggers and reporters around!

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                                                                                                                  OliverB Aug 8, 2011 05:17 PM

                                                                                                                  Based on your comments I was expecting something far more gimmicky, but the menu actually looks pretty decent save for a few items that could be tweaked. I'm glad it doesn't appear to be yuppified, and actually looks pretty straightforward and genuine in design. The sliders seem entirely out of place, and that waldorf salad with walnuts and blue cheese doesn't really belong on a menu that should emphasize traditional rustic Quebecois comfort fare. Should be a hearty cobb with local sweet corn and rotisserie chicken in beer and caraway seed glaze or something like that. I'd rather see apps like thick split pea soups with country ham and the like, if they're going to strive for (and better) what Laurier, in it's heydey, did right. The poutine belongs ont he sides and should be served meal-style only with rotisserie chicken and peas. Everything else looks pretty good, and I don't think the chicken seems an afterthought at all. I think they separated it from the mains to emphasize that it's a rotisserie first and foremost; I mean, it's centered right underneath the venue heading right at the top of the menu. I hope that if they're able to stray from the mediocrity of what most local restauranteurs achieve when they attempt this sort of simple homestyle fare, with highest quality sustainable market & farm fresh ingredients and consistency all around, then it should be a great addition to the area and certainly better than what's been sitting in place for at least the past fifteen plus years. Also, to the poster who was there on opening and didn't like the sauce... it clearly states that the original Laurier bbq sauce is offered and sounds like you ended up witht he peppercorn alternative. Is there a desert menu too? If so, I'd hope the coconut cream and maple pies are still on there, and taken up a notch. Would love to see some homemade cobblers too. I like the menu a lot, and from what I've seen of the redesign when passing by, it seems an all around positive refurb of RL. Hopefully the food's good too!

                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: OliverB
                                                                                                                    anachemia Aug 8, 2011 07:04 PM

                                                                                                                    The menu has changed slightly since last week, perhaps based on people's feedback.
                                                                                                                    Seeing the English version for the first time, I still find that few of the dishes resonate with me, or feel like homey comfort food.

                                                                                                                    Items like tuna salad, shrimp/crab rolls, porchetta, fish & chips, ribs, planked salmon and sliders may all be wonderful dishes, but they have absolutely nothing to do with "homestyle" Montreal comfort food. They are dishes one could expect to see on an upscale menu anywhere in North America - especially closer to the West coast where top-notch fish and seafood are not just readily available but a point of local pride. The few Montreal-ish favourites strike me as overly clichéd, and not something you'd ever expect a local to order off a mid-range dinner menu: the onion soup, St. Viateur bagel and smoked meat mac & cheese (new addition since last week) are perfect examples. Seeing these on the menu makes me cringe.

                                                                                                                    I was the one who found the sauce to be off when I ate there - fairly confident it was the classic version, since there were no peppercorns in it and no hint of peppery flavour. Whatever it was supposed to be, it should not have gone out. They must have agreed having comped my dinner. It could definitely have been an off night, hopefully they will pay more attention to ensure they're getting it right.

                                                                                                                    I'm curious to hear about other people's experiences at Laurier, especially as things evolve. Anyone else been?

                                                                                                                    p.s. Olivier I second your suggestion about adding some kind of pea soup to the menu...I hope they'll put this on in fall/winter. Hopefully not at $6 though!

                                                                                                                    1. re: anachemia
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                                                                                                                      OliverB Aug 8, 2011 07:54 PM

                                                                                                                      I don't know... I think trad local dishes like Quebec style onion soup (which btw was always ont he Laurier menu and a past favorite of many who frequented) and bagel, lox and cheese, etc. are somewhat relevant, and could fit along nicely if sourced from the highest standards and prepared a cut above. Fresh smoked salmon with red onions, capers, chives and herbs on a warm bagel would be delicious and makes sense when the bakery is 4 blocks away; sounds right to me. This is just the kind of stuff I would've like to see if sticking to this forumla because it takes the very simple idea of a barbecue chicken destination, which while a strong spirit of the city, traditionally only serves as a one trick pony, and without really affecting the prices much (and hopefully the focus and quality) rounds it out into a really solid neighborhood restaurant. Nothing fancy, just hopefully good eats. If they'd have changed that up entirely, then I think a brand new concept and menu would be in order; lose the chicken and the whole nostalgia bit. But ideally and without having been yet, I think they did a good job atpreserving the heritage of the place but also making it something new and seemingly better, at least on my computer screen. Back to the food: I love the baked mac and cheese. It feels at home on the menu and would be the sort of piping hot homestyle comfort food one would expect on a cold winter night at the old Laurier BBQ only it probably would have tasted like a dried out burned piece of rubber au gratin. The question is whether or not the kitchen makes it anything special, but I'm looking forward to tasting it, and the smoked meat addition sounds really delicious. I wonder if they'll cure it themselves or source it from one of the neighborhood delis. As for the tuna salad... well that's pretty standard restaurant-diner fare, no? You can find it at Beauty's and just about any classic Montreal old style eatery. Perfectly fine to me. Planked salmon also makes sense here, it's cuisine du teroir. I agree the fish and chips are a bit misplaced, but it seems it's clear they're trying to infuse a bit of a gastropub style here. It's the only thing that seems a bit off, but if they pull it off, great. The porchetta actually sounds delicious, and Laurier (like all Montreal rotisseries, including the bland chains) always had a few a few sandwiches on the menu... too bad they all sucked! I'll never fault the words "smokey ribs" on a menu, ever. and I don't really see what the problem is. They're obviously not just a chicken place anymore, so this would seem a natural addition in keeping conventional. Think Bar B Barn etc. The atmosphere of the place lends itself to this sort o' grub. I'd look forward to trying them out and hope they work. The only thing that seems trendy and entirely out of place to me are the sliders. Unless they're the best tasting sliders ever, it just seems a bit too fashionable and/or pubby to me. I have to disagree that the Montreal-centric plates seem cliched though... think of your favorite local cheap eats and what's so great about them. The portugese chicken places, the neighborhood delis, etc. They all turn out their own simple and straightforward specialties without much creativity and by the basics, yet their dedication to making whatever they do the absolute best and sourcing the freshest ingredients is what's unique compared to all the other surrounding restaurants. Why is a sub at Mommeosso's ten billions times better than your typical Greek style greasy spoon subs? The same reason Moishe's is famous for it's coleslaw, pickles and bread platters. Nobody would go out of their way for coleslaw and russian rye at a sitdown establishment, right? But if Laurier can follow the same premise with all fo these simple dishes like local bagels and lox.. they'll successfully create a thriving business. So hopefully the new restaurant adheres to this ideal. Truthfully, I was expecting to see a lot of this stuff and like the way they seem to be aiming. I hope the kitchen does a killer homemade baked mac & cheese; I could just imagine how delicious that'd be littered with Schwartz's peppery smoked meat, mmm.

                                                                                                                      1. re: OliverB
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                                                                                                                        celfie Aug 8, 2011 08:06 PM

                                                                                                                        it's not meant to be a neighbourhoody, montreal haunt. if it was, it wouldn't have the gordon ramsay subtitle. ramsay's business conglomerate must have seen potential for this part of town, and montreal. They are investing in a city that is increasingly on the world culinary stage. despite the menu it is a confirmation that people are taking notice. This menu is meant to appeal to as broad a stroke as possible. personally for rotisserie chicken, i'd gladly go out of my way to chalet or cote st luc. Ramsay's place is a reasonably priced everything restaurant. Just as Baton rouge is meant to be two cuts above kelsey's, rotisserie laurier is meant to be two cuts above baton rouge. it's business.

                                                                                                                        1. re: celfie
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                                                                                                                          OliverB Aug 8, 2011 08:19 PM

                                                                                                                          Well, as long as it is indeed two cuts above Baton Rouge, than I'm behind it all the way!

                                                                                                                          An everything restaurant is fine, as long as they do everything well. I really couldn't have cared less about this GR marketing schtick when it was first announced, and even passing by the facade on Laurier recently, never really gave it a second though... but I'm really looking forward to trying it out now.

                                                                                                                          Amazingly, I thinkt he prices are cheaper now than they were before Ramsay took it over!

                                                                                                                          1. re: OliverB
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                                                                                                                            celfie Aug 8, 2011 08:24 PM

                                                                                                                            ya the pricing is very surprising and did i read correctly, there is delivery????

                                                                                                                            1. re: celfie
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                                                                                                                              OliverB Aug 8, 2011 08:40 PM

                                                                                                                              That's awesome! The last time I think I actually ate at the old Laurier was the day after New Years or maybe Xmas (I forget) ... They were one of the few places opened, it was a snowy mess outside and I was both hungover and jetlagged from a trip I recently came back from and I ordered a chicken pot pie from them! I wouldn't be surprised if they simply kept the old driver and delivery setup. The prices are significantly cheaper though... like nearly half of what Laurier was charging for the slop they were dishing out, which is just insane!

                                                                                                                  2. o
                                                                                                                    OliverB Aug 8, 2011 05:26 PM

                                                                                                                    PS - what's the booze like; it's full service bar license right? Any noteworthy ales?

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                                                                                                                      blondee_47 Aug 9, 2011 02:36 PM

                                                                                                                      Laurier Gordon Ramsay... hmmm.... I am beginning to see the fall of another failed restaurant...when will he get it that Montrealers go for food and not for names....and to me, with the hype that follows him, it just seems a comical name - just bring back The Brown Derby and be done with this...now that is a concept we are ripe for right now....

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                                                                                                                        celfie Aug 9, 2011 02:42 PM

                                                                                                                        ha i know plenty of people who go for names. in fact they go on vacation only to go for names. if restaurant bobby flay opened here it would be packed every night. we don't get names because of the unattractive business climate in quebec.

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                                                                                                                          EaterBob Aug 9, 2011 02:52 PM

                                                                                                                          Then what is Daniel Boulud doing at the Ritz? Chuck Hughes? etc?

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                                                                                                                            Maximilien Aug 9, 2011 02:55 PM

                                                                                                                            Chuck hughes got his restaurant before he got the "name" ; and he's from Montreal.

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                                                                                                                            blondee_47 Aug 9, 2011 02:56 PM

                                                                                                                            Perhaps its HIS name that is the problem...Bobby Flay and his reputation precedes him as does Gordon Ramsay so between the two who would u pick to eat at given a choice? Laurier's biggest problem right now is the reputation of Gordon Ramsay: with all of his restos closing; his very public life and strifes and his hellish television shows - I don't see where he fits in Montreal. Unless this is the city in which he intends to build another empire of $$ food and have it be delicious; I don't see success. We could be a stepping stone for him to try his hand at middle of the road food that is tasty and priced wisely but he has to lose that name...that name is his downfall because of the baggage it carries

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                                                                                                                              celfie Aug 9, 2011 02:58 PM

                                                                                                                              i agree, it's insanely bizarre
                                                                                                                              but it's here and i think it shows a shift in his business empire's strategy
                                                                                                                              it seems like a pretty slick concept inline with what he does on kitchen nightmares

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                                                                                                                                blondee_47 Aug 9, 2011 03:00 PM

                                                                                                                                I mean really...what is the first thought that you get when you hear Laurier Gordon Ramsay? Actually the first thought when you hear the name Gordon Ramsay? Daniel Boulud, Chuck Hughes cannot even be remotely compared. The first carries a pride in its name and the second is proven not by his name but by his food...

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                                                                                                                                  simongee Aug 9, 2011 03:54 PM

                                                                                                                                  The first thought of 99% of people when they hear the name Gordon Ramsay "hey, that's that famous chef with a tv show, lets try this place"

                                                                                                                                  The first thought of 99% of people when they hear Daniel Boulud / Chuck hughes "who?"

                                                                                                                            2. re: blondee_47
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                                                                                                                              Werzoth Aug 9, 2011 03:02 PM

                                                                                                                              Maybe people should actually try the restaurant before posting it failed already?

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                                                                                                                                blondee_47 Aug 9, 2011 03:15 PM

                                                                                                                                Werzoth, if he has learnt his lessons and the food is good to great it will be to our benefit. I am just saying that his name carries a lot of unwelcoming baggage for its investors and most of it has been playing out right in front of the food world. A little less is sometimes a lot more. How wonderful if his ego took a back seat and let the food shine. Who is it that thinks Montrealers will foam at the mouth because it is Laurier Gordon Ramsay?????

                                                                                                                                If I were an investor; I would be quite nervous to call my new restaurant that....

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                                                                                                                                  celfie Aug 9, 2011 03:22 PM

                                                                                                                                  as i said i know about a bazillion people from westmount/west island/mtl west who are foaming at the mouth because it is GORDON RAMSAY

                                                                                                                                  if i was an investor I would be quite nervous to serve the food that they are but because of the name, it will draw in tourists and locals alike

                                                                                                                                  ...it could be that the global economic downturn made people less willing to spend $100 per person in some of his markets

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                                                                                                                                    chickenbruiser Aug 9, 2011 04:30 PM

                                                                                                                                    agreed Celfie...
                                                                                                                                    I give up and take my truffle oil home:P.... sorry don't give a shit about white truffle oil...

                                                                                                                                    1. re: chickenbruiser
                                                                                                                                      humbert Aug 9, 2011 05:31 PM

                                                                                                                                      http://www.montrealgazette.com/Video+...

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                                                                                                                                        celfie Aug 9, 2011 05:38 PM

                                                                                                                                        article linked to their front page

                                                                                                                                        this must be the greatest event in lesley chesterman's life

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                                                                                                                                  marblebag Aug 9, 2011 03:32 PM

                                                                                                                                  Agreed. People should post on the Food & Media board if they haven't eaten yet.

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                                                                                                                                Maximilien Aug 10, 2011 10:52 AM

                                                                                                                                funny ... have a look at the online menus (in french, i did not check in english)

                                                                                                                                if you look at the wine list, the Bisol Proseccos at $41 and if you look at the desserts menu, the same bottle is at $46!!!

                                                                                                                                Max.

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