F bar Montreal
I will be visiting Montreal in a few weeks. I've been to Montreal many times. Have reservations for the new F Bar in Le Quartier des Spectacles. If anyone has been there, can you tell me what is on the menu? Is it similar to Ferreira Cafe? There is very little about the actual menu on the web. Thanks
Upon being seated for a 12:15 PM reservation my client and I were promptly advised by the maitre d' that we would need to leave by 1:30 PM to make room for additional customers. The nerve! As a result, we made a point of staying until 2:15 PM at which time the restaurant was pretty much empty. The food was average, and certainly made worse by their pompousness.
I started with a cream of carrot soup with sliced almonds and mushroom with a drizzle of olive oil. The soup was thick, hot and soothing. My main was the Bison short ribs. I found them bland and a little dry - not sure what they're trying to go for with this but i wouldn't order it again. It came on top of a sweet potato puree which was delicious but difficult to eat due to the very smooth texture and no spoon. A companion had the foie gras burger. The waiter had promised slices of the foie but there didn't seem to be anything more than pan drippings. Personally, I prefer my burgers grilled - this one was bland and grey. The fries were crisp and good but the side salad was uninspired - not worth the $20 that's for sure. My other companion had the fish special which was cod and shrimp atop a bed of autumny veg in a very rich and delicious cream sauce - this was the afternoon's winner. The bill was $85 with 1 glass of wine. Altogether pricey and a little underwhelming. Cool concept but if this is the caliber of food, I am fearful to visit their neighbour.
Blown away by yesterday's screening of the newly restored Metropolis -- accompanied by a brilliant original score for a 13-musician orchestra commissioned for the occasion and conducted by the composer, the Cinémathèque's Gabriel Thibaudeau -- a friend and I emerged from Place des Arts hungry and desperate to discuss what we'd just experienced. After considering the options and deciding we were in the mood for seafood and a decent bottle of wine, we settled on F Bar, Café Ferreira's new venture just west of the Musée d'art contemporain.
Our first impressions of the building were positive. The outside entrance features an umbrella shaded terrace with low-slung wicker couches. Inside you find a bar, a communal table (to be used while waiting to be seated?) and a long, narrow dining room. The decor is modern, pared down -- cool but not cold -- with high ceilings and ample fenestration giving the space an airy feel. Large screen monitors looping kinetic underseas videos are, in my opinion, an unwelcome distraction. I felt the same way about the music, which was high energy and loud enough to interfere with normally pitched conversation, though the staff proudly referred to it as a feature, not a bug. Sigh.
Fortunately, the night was warm and the terrace was open, muzak-free and, unlike the entrance, far from the obnoxious alarm and flashing lights that warned pedestrians whenever a vehicle emerged from PDA's underground parking facility, which was pretty much constantly for the half-hour or so after the screening. Unfortunately, all exterior lighting, including street lights, blacked out within 30 seconds of our getting the menu. Candles were brought but wind gusts repeatedly blew them out (as well as knocked over wine lists and, at one point, blew some salad into my lap). We ended up reading by iPhone.
Service was friendly and polished, though I could have done with a little less obsequiousness during order-taking (our every choice was declared excellent or brilliant or savvy) and they really didn't need to apologize repeatedly for the wind (which they'd warned us about before giving us seats on the terrace) or the power outage (beyond their control -- the whole block was dark).
More comico-serious was the bread service: soon after we were seated, a waiter filled a shallow bowl with some fine olive oil and inquired whether we wanted corn bread or white bread. Before we could answer, he volunteered to give us both: a small slice of the former and a thin half slice of the latter. After we'd eaten our main courses, we had to do an Oliver Twist number and beg for a crust to sop up the delicious sauces. And, again, we had to ask for bread not once but twice to go with our cheese course -- and then it took a good ten minutes for it to appear, despite repeated assurances that its arrival was imminent.
The menu is on the restaurant's website (see below), so I won't go into details other than to say that many of the dishes are offered in two sizes. We both opted to go the small route. The fried squid were tender, greaseless and, thanks to their cornmeal breading, unusually tasty, good on their own and even better with a dab of the spicy citrus mayo. The salad of lamb's lettuce, orange sections, mussels and saffron aioli bordered on brilliant, each component serving as a foil for the others while also coalescing into a whole greater than the sum of its parts. Though the quality of all the ingredients in our meal was high, the mussels were exceptional: few and tiny but tastier than any I've had in ages -- unflabby, briny yet sweet. We wondered if they mightn't be wild.
Our main courses came in deep metal "cocottes" with handles. The downsides were two. First, conduction plus the long trip from the basement kitchen entailed a certain amount of heat loss. Second, the tall, steep sides interfered with cutting and vision. They also brought back not altogether unpleasant memories of eating from a mess kit on hiking trips. The cod was a fine piece, nicely cooked, served with thick-sliced potatoes and wedges of meltingly delicious fennel. Was the dish underseasoned? Could be, we decided, but we also appreciated its traditional and pure flavours. The halibut was first-rate: perched atop some dense mashed potatoes and a thatch of haricots fins, sauced with a wowzer of a house-made "condiment" comprising raisins, parsley, toasted almonds and sherry vinegar: an unexpected combination of flavours that made immediate gastronomic sense.
Our wine, selected from a list of a couple of dozen bottles, was Alzipratu's excellent Vermintinu from Corse Calvi (a few bottles can still be found in SAQ stores). Markup was the standard 100%.
The cheese plate featured three Portuguese products (including a large slice of São Jorge and a small cube of very good chèvre), a couple of tablespoons' worth of membrillo and a pile of somewhat stale walnuts. The wine list offered only one white by the glass, a private import Albariño from Extremadura (don't know the producer as I couldn't read the label in the gloom). We were offered tastes to see if we thought it would work with the cheese; we did and it did.
The bill came to $150 for two with taxes but before tip, which we both felt was fair value for the experience. Despite our quibbles and with the disclaimer that we're basing our judgement on a single meal, this is a great addition to the neighbourhood.
Quartier des spectacles
1485, rue Jeanne-Mance
I agree with your review. I went this week for the first time and had the daily special (lamb cheeks and a cauliflower soup). The person I was with had the other special which was potatoes and a big piece of salmon and a few crab cakes (I tried one the crab (or maybe fish) cakes and it was great). My meal really good and tender but as you mention cutting something that is inside a pot is rather difficult and the Tv screen was very distracting and out of place. Dishes that looked really good and will order when I return are the tartare and the charcuterie plate. The lunch special is 20 dollars.
Not really like Ferreira Cafe... many dishes come in pots and individual casseroles for a homey / comfort food feel. I enjoyed my lunch there last week - I happened to eat next to Mr. Ferreira himself, who had a tartare.
I had the gaspacho (creamy and tasty) and the daily special of veal filet, potatoes, bok choi, a few pieces of chorizo and a yummy veal reduction. The second daily special was roasted salmon on a bed of lentils with sun dried tomatoes. My colleague really enjoyed it. Simple presentations but tasty, although those 2 plates didn't remind me of portuguese cooking (except for the bits of chorizo). Corn bread and good olive oil was brought to the table.
Some other options I remember; salmon burger, with fries and salad (big plate served on a slate), portuguese steak with an egg, pasta, daily tartare, a fish (can't remember what it was), calamari salad I think (as an app). Prices for mains were between 16-24$.
Just gone for assorted appetizers, various fish and duck dishes during jazz festival and were happy with taste and preparations. They do fish well and have variety of meals but cant recall details, suggest you call them. It is not expensive but more costly than comfort food offered by T (toque offshoot) next door. We tried to eat there last weekend but passed since they didnt want anyone in their terrace with thunderstorm expected.