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Aug 11, 2009 02:18 PM

Montreal hot dog?

So running through various threads (including the excellent one on Montreal institutions), I came across several references to Montreal hot dogs and to various hot dog joints. This made me wonder: is there a local Montreal hot dog tradition -- something akin to the Chicago hot dog?

With a visiting foodie in town, two hot dog joints were tried today: Lafleur on St. Denis, whose hot dog (according to my taster) lacked snap, was not distinctively cooked, and had a fairly tasteless cucumber or zucchini salad. Not a rave review, needless to say.

The second hot dog trial was with Chien Chaud victoire. This time the toasté was tried. This adds a nice texture to the bun and the dog, but otherwise there seemed to be nothing particularly distinctive to the dog, unless it was the very finely chopped onions. But I give lots of credit for a fine hole-in-wall ambience.

Still on our list is Paul Patates, on which there is a very nice post on the board.

Is there anything I should know before we keep at it? Are we tilting at windmills? Is there no such thing as a Montreal hot dog? If there is, what should we know about it, and where should we try?

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  1. Yes, there is such a thing and you've found it: the cheapest wiener possible on the cheapest bun possible, topped with ordinary mustard, ordinary green relish, finely chopped cabbage/cole slaw (this may vary somewhat, but I can almost guarantee that Lafleur's is topped with some kind of cabbage, not zucchini or cucumber) and sometimes finely chopped onions. The bun is either plain or "toasted" (browned on the griddle with wiener inside, usually with a bit of butter/margarine).

    Like the standard Quebec roadside burger -- very thin patty, similar toppings as on dogs but sometimes also with tomato, standard mass-produced bun, all of it flattened by a quick go on the griddle or in a press -- the Montreal hot dog is probably something you have to grow up with to appreciate or find special in any way.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Mr F

      Bingo. I didn't grow up here and can assure you that the so-called "Montreal hot dog" is exactly like the store-bought dog I boiled for myself on the stovetop at lunchtime when I was eight years old.

      No, they're worse.
      I took the time to toast my buns, and used dill relish and sometimes fancy spicy mustard.

      However, these hot dog places do make some of the better fries and poutine in town.

    2. I think out of towners hear people talking about Montreal hot dogs and their expectations grow beyond reality.
      Its also a case of growing up with the ubiquitous "steamie" that endears the Montreal hot dog.
      I compare it to NY Papaya dogs. Locals rant and rave, but when I tried them (at a few locations), they simply didn't do anything for me..."give me a steamie over this anytime" is what I said. (same thing with Nathans - although a fantast tasting weiner, its cooked on a griddle top and served on a room temperature bun, quite a let down. I also felt the same at Buffalo's Teds).

      You're right, BTW, Lafleur's weiners aren't terribly distinctive, lacks snap, and the topping is simply chou (grated cabbage) - but I love them.
      Maybe try a Michigan at Lafleurs.

      1. I tend to go to my favorite place, Paul Patates on Charlevoix in Pointe St Charles. The othe place that I seem to like for hot dogs is La Belle Province.

        1. That "tasteless cucumber or zucchini salad" is a sort of dryish coleslaw made with cabbage, onion and relish. I've only seen it at Lafleur. Other places use a more standard slaw. The reason the dogs have no snap is that they are skinless. Montrealers seem to be averse to weiners with casings. As others have stated, Montreal hot-dogs are nothing to shout about. They're not bad, but I wouldn't sell my town to potential tourists by exalting the virtues of its hot-dogs.

          1. A steamy is a steamy is a steamy. No, there's nothing terribly shocking about one. It's more the idea of a really cheap, tasty snack to have at an institutional hole in the wall like the Pool Room or Moe's. I like to have 4 or 5, no fries, when I'm starving in the middle of the night. It makes sense that it would exactly blow away a visitor, since its the "at home" feeling you get that makes them special for Montrealers

            2 Replies
            1. re: berbatov

              ^ What berbatov said. There's nothing overwhelming about Montreal hot dogs (steamies) . They're cheap (sorta), taste decent, and usually satsify a craving for horribly unhealthy food. My preference is and always will be Decarie Hot Dog (good and gross at the same time).

              1. re: berbatov

                nothing special about montreal hot dogs unless you are at a backyard barbecue with great company or at the montreal jazzfest. Had some interesting venison and lamb ones though when farmers come to festivals in old montreal, last one being at the environment festival a month ago and there will probably be some other ones at the market weekend