Happening Gourmand 2010
Just a reminder to all, this promotion is on until January 31st . Note I did not say Festival, I understand all the restaurants are from the same group, but some are still good quality, and usually too expensive. If anyone is interested, not a bad occasion to try them out. I haven't look at the menus yet, so I can't comment further.
Went to Mechant Boeuf last Saturday with some friends. Apart from the freaky-deaky DJ holding up signs for all to see (with saying such as Darth Vader orders our take-out from the Death Star), we had a good evening. We were there for the 9:30 seating. I had goat cheese and beets with a side salad or arugula, the steak d'onglet cooked to my liking that came with fries AND vegetables that weren't overcooked and the chocolate mousse dessert. Coffee was vile though. I would say for 22$ it was a good deal and with wine we ended up paying less than 70$ for 2 ppl (we shared a bottle with the other couple).
The crowd is 25-35 and it is very loud in there,but that was expected. Overall I would recommend it at that price!
We went to the Mechant Boeuf tonight to try their Happening Gourmand special. I was all excited about having a luscious burger and fries. The first thing we noted is that the average of the clientele is really quite young: think upscale university crowd, 25-30ish. Ok, so we were seated and promptly told we had to move out by 21h30 for their 3rd seating. Fine, we are older and want to be in bed by 10h30....
The arugula, beet and chevre salad was good but a bit sparse on the arugula. We all ordered their burger which I was really looking forward to. Unfortunately, it was a large hunk of dry beef, rare in the centre as requested, and topped with onions, blue cheese and spinach. After about the third bite, my bun fell apart and I was left to tackle the rest of the hunk of meat with my utensils. The fries were excellent and were served with mayo and ketchup. I would have ordered a beer to go with the college ambiance but stuck with my friends and ordered the Chilean red on special that night.
All in all, it was a forgettable experience gastonomically speaking. What do you expect for $22. Beware of too good a price! The place was way too noisy and the DJ was just weird. Not my scene but then again, if you're 25, it probably is happening. Which brings us back to the "Happening Gourmand". Enough said.
I went to Verses with a group of 6 on 15th Jan (Friday) , for the 9pm sitting. It was pretty average, unfortunately, and we left very disappointed. The appetisers were quite lacklustre. The salad in particular was inconsistent in terms of the ingredients - some plates had plenty of slivers of apricots, mine had two! The main dishes were the highlight, good flavours, on the most part nicely cooked, very enjoyable. The desserts were ok, but lacking in discernible flavour (especially the creme brulee from the more expensive HG menu)
The quality of the ingredients in all the meals was good.
The big disappointment was the service, particularly in relation to the wine. We opted for the Casa Cab Sav that was offered for $35/bottle as part of the promotion. At first, everything was ok. Then some people on our table started smelling something like ammonia coming from their glass. It wasn't from all glasses, but it was very strong kept developing over time in the ones that were affected. We spoke to the waiter and he removed the bottle and all glasses, and replaced them. We had the same problem with the second bottle, but again it wasn't happening in all glasses, there always seemed to be one that was unaffected. This made us think it was the glasses, possibly some detergent residue that was reacting with the wine. The smell was too strong to continue drinking. We mentioned the problem to our waiter, he smelt the glasses and said he couldn't detect it. I don't know how he could not have, unless he had a severe cold at the time! His suggestion was another bottle of a different wine, he did not agree with our assessment that it was the glasses. We chose a $47 bottle, it was not in stock. We chose a $56 bottle, it was in stock, it was poured and again, after about 5 mins, the ammonia smell was evident. At that point we were nearly finished our mains, and the whole situation was becoming ridiculous. We finished our meals, and paid and left. We were charged for the $56 bottle of wine. We did speak to the manager as we left, and he seemed to suggest that they were having problems with the rinse cycle in their dishwashers, and that he was sorry for the inconvenience. He was not insincere, but I don't think he and the wait staff handled the situation properly. The wine list at Verses has many expensive bottles of wine - maybe we would have been treated differently had we ordered a $200 bottle of wine!
I dined at Aix Cuisine du Terroir last year for HG and was impressed. We had no issues with service that may or may not be attributable to that fact that we were dining from a cheaper menu.
100 St Paul W, Montreal, QC H2Y1Z3, CA
my two forays for happening gourmand 2010.
the experience at galiano was pleasant. for $18.
the boccachoni/tomato/arugula salad was ok: the bread/dip served as the starter had an interesting tangy dressing.
orders: the beef bavette, shrimp platter/peppercorn sauce and the cordon bleu/pasta :
reasonable portions. 3'"patty of beef, bland sauce, grilled shrimps-4 good sized
chicken breast stuffed with emmental cheese/ham, 1/2 cup of fettuccine/tomato sauce
good choc mousse with real choc (not cacao powder)- a cake alike slice
mechant bouef on mon. night ( i escaped the DJ)
appetizers: goat cheese platter: nice presentation/smallish, 1 1/2" inch high goat cheese tower/arugula salad. rasberry/evoo dressing.
onion soup: disaster, insipid broth- perhaps made with just water, not stock.
mains: beef burger. comes with fries which are tasty. burger itself has kaiser bun/onions/cheese- was passable for taste and size
hanger steak. comes with fries/veges. steak was terrible, chewy, overdone- terrible, quite a small platter if are a meat lover/good eater. (it was fine for me)
dessert: choc mousse: comes in a 2 " ramekin. whipped concoction made with cacao powder/cream :-(
ps: i had a glass of wine- which came looking half filled- ( i am not sure is it the glass or the quantity- as i never had this experience before)
Galiano's Pasta & Bar
410 Rue Saint-Vincent, Montreal, QC H2Y3A5, CA
Mechant Boeuf Bar Brasserie
124 St Paul W, Montreal, QC H2Y1Z3, CA
Also wanted to put my two cents in about Happening Gourmand. Went tonight first to Narcisse but wouldn't let us in (apparently they were full or else you have to reserve in advance because there were definitely several tables open when we arrived).
So instead we went to Galianos where we were seated right away and greeted by the friendly staff. The bread was interesting - olive oil on the bottom with some spices, tomatoes and cheese on the bread. Reminded me a bit like bruchetta. My friend and I had the boccachoni, tomato and arugula salad as the appetizer. As divya said above, it was okay but a bit too much dressing for my tastes. For the entree, I had the chicken cordon bleu and my friend had the trio pasta. Chicken cordon bleu was a bit on the dry side but the linguini was good. The trio pasta looked pretty tasty, my friend said she liked it - came with fetucinni alfredo, penne bolognese, and manicotti stuffed with cheese.
The best part was the desserts - carrot cake was really fresh and tasty. The chocolate mousse was a bit on the rich side but still decent. Total bill came to $40 after taxes, not including tip. Nice meal as we were not rushed and were able to have a relaxed dinner.