Narrowing down the bistros - only have one night!
I am pleading for help. After going through lots of posts (special thanks to Carswell and Count Gildenstern!), I have been able to narrow down some selections for a bistro dinner for two, this Saturday night.
-staying at Opus Hotel (Plateau), but have car, so we can walk or drive.
-Garde Manger is booked. This is where I wanted to be, because I love the atmosphere (small and dark, kitchen in view, fond memories of little girl next to me polishing off lobster poutine, bavette/frites, mars bar, and washing it down with a glass of milk, then skipping out like a champ. Superbe!)
-I would like something mid-range, that's not too big (not a million tables, not a million children. except for the Garde Manger girl. She's ok with me!). Holder may not be a good idea, as it seems very big, and not very intimate, from all the posts. Not sure!
-would like to dress up. Don't care if someone else is casual, but would not like to feel out of place if I throw on a dress and heels.
I was thinking of:
-Lemeac, L'express, Laloux, Holder
Thank you for reading my post. And thank you if you're one of the contributors to this list:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/643621 . It helped a lot!
Too bad they've not included the menu on the new website, though they weren't updating it frequently on the old one. The resto's Facebook profile says they'll be offering Magdalen Islands lobster this week, so the season's started. Would also imagine they have seal, though not a lot of it (the hunt was a bust this year due to the poor ice conditions).
The back story is that the Lenglet brothers -- chef Benoît and maitre d' Benjamin -- recently bought out the restaurant's other two partners. And being the father of two infants, Benjamin has hired Pablo HellifIcanrememberhislastname, who used to work at Bouchonné, to look after the wine list. Two upshots of the change are even more unusual ingredients (lamb testicles were mentioned last weekend) and even more natural wines.
Must return soon!
One of the great things about Montreal is that you can wear jeans, or a dress and heels, to most restaurants, and not feel out of place (assuming your'e female, that is...)
Garde Manger isn't really a bistro, and it's quite different in menu and atmosphere from your 4 choices. That being said, Holder is the largest of the 4, and reports have been mixed lately. Lemeac is usually a solid choice, L'express is tired IMHO, and Laloux has a new chef - what I've heard has been positive so far, but I haven't been myself. The first three have fairly typical bistro menus, the fourth has a slightly more interesting menu, and great desserts (you can check it out online http://www.laloux.com/en/index.html ).
Laloux is good, Lemeac also. Holder is not quite in the same neighbourhood.
I would consider Cocagne (just about in front of L'Express), or maybe "Cuisine&Dépendance" (on St-Laurent st).
I would skip L'express unless you really have no other choices.
3927 Rue Saint-Denis, Montreal, QC H2W2M4, CA