Joe Beef/Liverpool House Vs Le P'tit Plateau
Thanks to a lot of the suggestions on my first thread - Visit to Montreal(from NYC) - help w/ neighbourhoods & french food, I have settled on a lot of my places. I have reservations for Le P'tit Plateau for Sat night but a good friend suggested joe Beef.
So Mtlers what should we do?
Joe Beef/Liverpool House Vs Le P'tit Plateau ?
Thank you in advance
I've never been to Joe Beef or Liverpool House but I can say that they are offering a completely different type of food and experience than P'tit.
Joe Beef is oysters, steak and seafood. Liverpool House is more like market cuisine (NYT classifies it as Italian?). Le P'tit Plateau offers classic southern French food, like duck confit (best in town) and cassoulet. So it all depends on what you are craving.
My perceptions from the reviews is that Joe Beef and Liverpool House are pretty hip and bustling spaces. P'tit is the opposite of it, no frills, small, still busy of course but somewhat cosy. The latter is also a BYO, if that makes a difference.
Apples and oranges.
Joe Beef/Liverpool House are west end, largely anglo, upscale and somewhat self-consciously casual, aimed at a hipper market. Food tends to be market-based comfort stuff with French leanings at the former and Italian leanings at the latter. Seafood plays a large role, especially at JB. Portions are copious. Table settings are casual but fancy when necessary (flatware and stemware, for example). Music is more prominent, occasionally obnoxiously so. The wine lists are interesting but markups are high. Cocktails and digestifs are served. Diners linger as long as they like.
Le P'tit Plateau is a husband and wife operation. East end, largely francophone. The chef, the hubby, hails from Bordeaux and the menu reflects it. There's usually only a single fish dish. The atmosphere is bustling but more subdued, with music -- usually soft jazz -- serving mainly as white noise. The crowd is less well heeled, more mixed. Seats, tables and settings are more bistro like and the wine glasses are on the small side. The place is a BYO, so there is no wine markup. There are two seatings on Th, F and Sa and no lingering after 8:30 for the first seating (slightly more relaxed for the second seating, though you'll never have a three-hour meal there). It also means that all 30-odd diners order at about the same time, so service can be brusque.
In terms of food quality, the restos are pretty much on the same page, though JB/LH do offer fancier ingredients like truffles, caviar and lobsters.
Pricewise, you'd have to work to spend more than $50 a person at LPP. I find it hard to pay less than $100 at JB and, if I order fancy ingredients and pricey wines, easy to pay much more.
Carswell's rundown is pretty thorough. I would only add that since you're visiting from the US, you may want something with a bit more of the french flavor of Montreal. I suspect that Joe Beef wouldn't feel that different from many upscale-casual places in NYC, whereas a purely southwest french resto like le Petit Plateau would be a bit more of a different experience for you.
I'd agree with Johnnyboy's point completely. P'tit Plateau is a homey, neighbourhood experience, very Montreal, I think quite special. I love eating in these kind of places. I like the feeling that you might be eating in someone's home kitchen. You can watch them work in the kitchen, as it is open. The food is so delicious!
But if you are looking for something more urban and chic, go Joe Beef.
You can't go wrong with any of the three - however, if you don't already have a reservation for Joe Beef/Liverpool for Saturday night, you might find it difficult to get one at this time - especially Joe Beef, which is not very large (I just tried to make one there myself, and they only had 9:30 pm left...)
Thanks for this post; as visiting folks from the Niagara region, we're looking for something with that Montreal neighbourhood charm...and were told to go to Joe Beef and Le Petit Plateau. I had found it hard to imagine what Joe Beef could offer in contrast to some of the more market-cuisine places in, say, Toronto.
Would you say that Le P'tit Plateau's cuisine ressembles Au Pied Du Cochon, such that a night at each would render one's liver fatty and imobile for the next week? Any other contrasts, in terms of terroir cuisine that still retains a neighbourhood flavour, and still showcases excellent technique?