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First, Congratulations and salutations, then let's discuss Moishe's

First of all, let me be the first to share in your hockey Gold Medal and the overall success of the games in Vancouver. As an upstate New Yorker and frequent visitor to your great country and the beautiful city of Montreal, we are thrilled and very proud consider ourselves friends and neighbors. Oh,Canada!
Now, to the point.
Recently, we had dinner at Moishe's and my wife and I agreed it was less than stellar. All of our previous experiences have left us with great memories and only the highest accolades.
I should note we were there on Valentines Day, and they seemed to be churning out dinners at a speedy rate. This may have had an impact on the quality of the meal. The service was excellent, as usual. A very classy bunch.
Our issue was with steaks, yes, the reason we were there and what they do best. My wife's junior rib steak was something we can get a Ponderosa, about one-quarter inch thick , and frankly, tasteless. My Filet was 30% inedible fat and had mediocre flavor. I also thought the wines were overpriced.
So please, tell me we just had a bad visit because it was a holiday or some kind of fluke. We have always loved this restaurant and also understand it is all about the beef, but this time we were let down.
As always, I look forward to this board for input and critique. Your opinions are important to me as we intend to visit again soon, and, as usual frequently thereafter.
Again, I raise a glass to our neighbors to the north !!!

Moishe's Steak House
3961 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2W1Y4, CA

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  1. Montreal + steakhouse = FAIL. So many badass steak joints in NY, Peter Lugers, Keen's, Craftstreak etc... Don't waste your money on steak in MTL unless it's a steak frites.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Evilbanana11

      This doesn't make sense... If someone is going to waste money on Montreal steak, a side of fries is the only way that justifies it?

      1. re: keelo

        I'm not talking about any steak with a side of fries but the traditional french bistro dish.
        Steak frites is usually made with bavette or onlglet which are relatively cheap (usually priced between 22$ and 30$). You get what you pay for and it's pretty well executed for the most part in this city.
        Ordering a 60$ steak + 5$ fries at Queue de Cheval is a different story....

    2. I have to agree with the above poster. My experience has also been that steak is generally superior south of the border. Where exactly in the USA are you visiting Montreal from? It's surprising given all the choices in the city that you would insist on dining so frequently at Moishe's when you're in town?

      Similar sentiment is expressed in a prior thread here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/525585

      2 Replies
        1. re: porker

          That represents a large swath of land. If he's coming from Plattsburgh, ok, but if he lives in the Capital District, he can just point his car south instead of north and reach steaktown NYC in even less time!

      1. There's hardly any fat in filets. It doesn't make sense.

        1 Reply
        1. re: BLM

          There's fat around and the mambrane that can be tough if not properly removed. There's also a nerve that runs along the filet that be be chewy.

        2. True, Montreal may not be a great steak town, but you liked the place on previous occasions and now feel let-down. You're wondering if was a bad night, or if the place went downhill. Sorry, I don't have enough experience with Moishe's to give a valuable answer.
          Maybe someone who frequents Moishes somewhat regularly can chime in and provide a relevant response?

          5 Replies
          1. re: porker

            I love Moishe's and have been going there since I was a kid...don't go there more than a few times a year at those prices but I always enjoy my meal. It could partly be nostalgia - but I also enjoy the unpretentious atmosphere, excellent service, world's best pickles and coleslaw, Monte Carlo baked stuffed potatoes, and it's also the only place I know where you can find charbroiled sweetbreads - don't knock it till you've tried it! So yes, it may not compare with some of the very high-end American steak houses but for this city it's my favorite. Not a fan of Gibby's and I have no patience for Queue de Cheval - at least at Moishe's when you pay $50 for the steak you get a potato/fries and the aforementioned pickles and coleslaw included! One last thing - the one time we went where my husband didn't enjoy his steak, he told the waiter and they took it back and brought him an amazing one in it's place. With a smile and an apology.

            1. re: mikjomom44

              Unpretentious atmosphere? It has a doorman outside, rain or blowing snow, in full coat and top hat. I saw a line of limos pull up to the place a few weeks back.

              1. re: Shattered

                Yes, there's a doorman outside, but once you step into the dining room itself, it's pretty basic. Unpretentious would actually be a compliment...

              2. re: mikjomom44

                I, too, haven eaten at Moishe's many times since I was a kid and it's always been my favorite steakhouse. I come here on special occasions only because it's pricey.

                I would estimate that in the 100 or so times I've eaten here over the last 50 years...I have sent my steak back on at least ten occasions (I am very picky when it comes to $50 steaks). Too much fat and gristle has been the culprit in most cases and I never had a problem getting it replaced with a steak to my total satisfaction. They are very professional here and I have never had a problem with attitude.

              3. re: porker

                I have eaten at Moishe's at least 100 times and they are the best...although they don't always get it right the first time and whenever I get a steak that doesn't please me for whatever reason...I won't hesitate to send it back. If I am going to spring $50 for a steak....I am not going to settle for less. Any time I have ever had to send a steak back...I never had a problem and if they don't get it right the first time....they will make sure they do the second time.

                I probably send back my steak about one time out of ten.

              4. I went to Moishe's last week. I enjoy that it's a bit of a time warp but also, my veal chop was well executed and everything else was fine. I've definitely experienced off nights but for the most part it is pretty good. it's not a new york steakhouse, nor does it try to be...But if you want a decent meal, they typically deliver. Gotta love the pickles and coleslaw, that's probably the biggest selling point!!!!

                1 Reply
                1. re: celfie

                  pickels and coleslaw shouldnt be a steak restaurant's biggest selling point! lol

                2. First I want to say that no restaurant in that price range deserves 'a bad day'...having said that I have heard from many of my own friends who frequent Moishe's that it is not the same the food is sometimes downright awful.

                  Plus the prices have exploded. In particular was noted the filet mignon ordered seemed half the size it usually is.

                  So you are not the only one to recognize this. Although personally, the last time I was there was in the summer and I vowed not to return: their Moishes Chicken which is my favorite did not taste the same nor could I say it was even 'good.'

                  A chef once told me he could have a regular every night of the week and if one night the cooking is off, that is the last time that regular will be seen. Unfortunately the restaurant business cannot afford a 'bad night'.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: blondee_47

                    Absolutely true, an 'institution' shouldn't have an off-day, ever, and doesn't take much to turn diners off. Especially if everyone has very average steak on the first visit. Didn't help that I sold the idea of going there to some guests from Calgary - and the steak was Calgary prices! (even beef is expensive out there, more expensive in the supermarkets than here)
                    That was a couple years back, and I won't be giving it another chance on my tab at those prices.

                    I also lol'ed at celfie's comment that "the pickles and coleslaw, that's probably the biggest selling point!" Sadly, that seemed to be true when I went (pickles anyway).

                  2. My family used to go to Moishe's every single Sunday evening as a tradition for YEARS. This was when the owner Lenny would stand at the entrance to greet families as they entered the dining room and kids would flock to the bar after meals for a fistful of candy before the desert trays made the rounds. In my opinion, the restaurant has gone WAY down hill, ever since the Toronto failure and renovations to the dining room. I've been dissapointed each and every time I've been in recent years, which has NOT been often! The quality of their steaks varies wildly depending on the night and now that you can pick up the coleslaw, monte carlos, pickles, etc. in any Metro or IGA in the city, well there's very little drawing me back. If I had to pick, I'd chose Gibby's over Moishe's for a steak in this city any day. Moishe's regular crowd seem to be very old and fixed in custom and habit rather than anything having to do with the quality of food or setting. It's lost almost any charm or appeal that it might've once held for me. The few times that I return each year (based solely on family affairs) I find myself more excited about the standard table starters and fried onions than anything to do with the main meal. Moishe's has really sunk as a steakhouse and I think the restaurant in general's become sort of a flop. I would never return on my own dime.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: OliverB

                      To all, thanks for your input and let me clarify a few things. First, as an "upstater", that means the capital district. Next, I should note that we don't visit Montreal just for steak. If that were the case, we would no doubt head south. As often occurs, my wife and I simply get the urge to take off for a few days just to get out of Dodge. Such was the case, and as I stated, it was Valentines Day weekend. We were lucky enough to even get a room on such short notice. Moishes was not our first choice for a romantic dinner, but everywhere else was booked solid, so we took the resos. Bad planning on my part, but sometimes spontanaeity can result in great experiences. Just not this time.
                      Since there seems to a split in opinions, perhaps we'll consider a future visit and change our paradigm away from steak, to say the veal chop or maybe those broiled sweetbreads, interesting.
                      Again, thanks to all.

                      1. re: teflontom

                        I was there recently on my birthday (May 2010). We (four of us) had made reservations. I had ordered the NY cut sirloin (16 oz) "blue". The others around the table had 2 rib steaks and one fillet Mignon. When the main course arrived it was apparent that "food presentation" was not a high on Moishes list of priorities. The steaks were merely plopped on the plate with no garnish - sort of hospital cafeteria style. At Moishes, one has to order the vegetables separately from the main course. I find the $50.00 for the main course + $16.00 for vegetables a tad steep. I figured the food here is as much about flavor as it is about tradition. My steak was certainly marbled with fat (that's good) with a 3 inch glob of fat on the end as well a 1/4 inch thick strip of grizzle running around the length of the meat. I tried cutting through the fat. In the three successive attempts, each time moving in a inch at a time, I couldn't cut through this $50.00 grizzle/fat offering with the steak knife. I called the waiter over and sent the "steak" back. Two minutes later the headwaiter comes over with a serving tray with raw sirloin on it announcing to us that this is Quebec A1 grade meat. I sat there looking at him is disbelief... what audacity!! Obviously this is a sore point here, I'm sure I'm not the first one to complain about this. I ended up ordering a rib steak (only $48.00!!), which was little better. The bill, with two beers and one liquor drink, one tomato juice and one desert came to $300.00! I would NOT recommend this embarrassment of a restaurant that is clearly living on it's past reputation to ANYONE.

                        Moishe's Steak House
                        3961 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2W1Y4, CA

                        1. re: bogo22

                          That's outrageous. I agree with those who recommend not going to a steakhouse in Montreal. In spite of what they say, Angus beef is not the world's best beef to start with, but Montreal doesn't have a great steak tradition. If I were to want steak at a restaurant, my choices wouldn't be a steakhouse -- surprisingly the hanger steak at L'Express is a quintessential bistro steak at a reasonable price ($28 last time I was there) and believe it or not, the best steak I've ever had in Montreal was at Café Ferreira (I know, I know, but I'm not much of a cooked fish fan). It was accompanied with an amazing porto sauce and was the juiciest, tastiest piece of meat I've ever had here.

                          But, as someone who made a trip to New York JUST to go to Peter Luger, nothing in Montreal will ever come close . . . but hey, you got off lightly. Ever been to Gibby's?

                          L'Express Restaurant
                          3927 Rue Saint-Denis, Montreal, QC H2W2M4, CA

                          1. re: tonbo0422

                            I didn't care for the hangar at L'Express.
                            I will agree that you can many-times find a good (maybe not great) steak at a non-steakhouse restaurant.
                            Years ago I often had a good steak (they call it cajun primerib) at La Luisianne - not recently however.
                            Sometimes a brasserie will knock it out of the park, but its always hit or miss.

                            L'Express Restaurant
                            3927 Rue Saint-Denis, Montreal, QC H2W2M4, CA

                    2. Moishe's Steakhouse just did a revamp, including their menu, with a new head chef. Anyone tried Moishe's since the total revamp? Last Tuesday they invited the media to the steakhouse touting their renovations, so I expect the Montreal restaurant critics starting to review them again in next month or two.

                      1. Well, my two cents, having been to San Francisco steakhouses (Ruth's Chris, Harris Ranch, Izzy's and Peter Luger) is don't waste your time on American-style steak in Montreal. The people who said a good steak-frites is your best bet are completely correct. I had a lousy time at Gibby's, Queue du Cheval and Biftheque, but the steak-frites at L'Express is to die for. I'm sure there are other less pricey bistros here that do it just as well.

                        No one who likes beef has mentioned Magnan's. I only went there once and didn't try their steak but their roast beef was fantastic and it really is a down-to-earth meat "joint" . . . not an upscale "steakhouse."

                        L'Express Restaurant
                        3927 Rue Saint-Denis, Montreal, QC H2W2M4, CA

                        Biftheque Restaurant
                        , Quebec, QC G1R, CA

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: tonbo0422

                          the mere mention of QdC with Gibbys and Biftheque make me question your objectivity

                          Biftheque Restaurant
                          , Quebec, QC G1R, CA

                          1. re: tonbo0422

                            I like the original concept of Magnans as a working man's tavern/brasserie cum steakhouse restaurant good for a few beers or a nice steak. Alas, with much of the neighborhood, it has become gentrified. Perhaps not upscale per se, I feel the prices don't quite match the down-to-earth "jointiness".

                          2. I loved Q de Cheval the food was great and my fish (even tho it is a steakhouse) was just sublimely superb.

                            But I was aghast when I, who was treating three friends to dinner, turned the check over and saw a printed saying that, altho I can't remember the exact words, equated eating a good steak with having 'a good woman'.

                            So someone has to eat there and tell me if the check still exists and if the saying does...vowed to never go back.

                            In fact I had the maitre D write me a new check by hand because as a woman I refused to pay with that bill.

                            understand that I am not a feminist in a combative sense but the highly suggestive insinuation of comparing me to a piece of meat was too much. Maitre D chalked it up to being like a 'New York' steakhouse when I reminded him I doubt NY'ers would be happy with that comment and the owner never called me back even though I left my name and a telephone call the next day.

                            So please let me know what the back of the bill says, if anything as of 2011.

                            1. I tried Moishe's recently on a busy evening while in Montreal during Jazz Fest 2011. The waiter told me they had just recently revamped their menu. Service was excellent, no doubt. However, my smoked salmon appetizer, rib steak and side of fries were merely average. I thought my rib steak (medium rare) was too thick and lean. I tried the HP Sauce (1st time) but was pretty much indifferent to it (very similar to A1 in the U.S.) The customers were dressed up. I was way underdressed, and expressed concerns, but the staff were totally cool with it. I liked the atmosphere and would go back, but I'd definitely do my ordering a little differently next time.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: nooyawka

                                Why would you return to a steakhouse that serves 'merely average' steak?
                                (especially if you live in nyc)

                                1. re: kpaxonite

                                  I liked the atmosphere and had a great time. When I'm visiting Mtl, I'm usually in for the entire experience, which includes, but goes beyond, the food. When I'm back home, I'm much harsher on the food. Plus, there are so many options on the menu. I could also do the ordering a little differently too. Many ways to get around the issues.

                                  1. re: nooyawka

                                    nooyawka there is not one restaurant I can think of in Montreal where a person can be under-dressed. We value our comfort and especially at Moishe's I truly doubt u could have been under-dressed though we are a unique city in that way. So long as you don't come in a bathing suit, every resto I know of will allow u in and think not a second thought about how u are dressed. The one condition I could think of would be a man wearing a tank top and its a dinner time res.

                                    Anyone hear the falling out of M:Brgr with Moishe's and that they have severed ties? or is it rumour

                                    1. re: blondee_47

                                      I think they have severed ties, but I don't know the story of what happened.

                                2. re: nooyawka

                                  Thats the thing, Moishes is a *steakhouse", they shouldn't be serving "merely average" steaks, but (to me) go above and beyond: serve something over the top!

                                  1. re: porker

                                    I went to Moishe's twice. I loved their steaks. They use real charcoal in the kitchen, which allows them to control the heat at a much higher level of heat which helps them seal in the moisture. The steak that I didn't love there was the bone in filet; impressive to look at but too lean for my taste. I prefer Moishe's to Luger or Keene's in NY, though Keene's has a pretty awesome lamb steak.

                                    1. re: foodlovergeneral

                                      Generally l eat only rib steaks, but learned early on at Moishe's, they are very thin thus no char can be obtained even if the meat may be stellar. It is the only steakhouse where l order a sirloin and the three of them l had over the years have been excellent.

                                      1. re: foodlovergeneral

                                        peter lugers is not even comparable imo - it is light years above moishes. i also think that the bone in filet is one of the best menu items!