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It's small, it's regionally appropriate, it's exceptional quality...

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Eddie Van Hungry Aug 3, 2010 08:57 PM

and I can enjoy a long-time-coming night out with my wife. We're driving from Boston and have arrangements to leave the (young) kids in the dust for one night. We'd like a chef driven, ingredient focused menu...$$ not really a concern, nor is location. Completely uninterested in pretension, "scene" and BS. Have a car, but would ideally like to be 20 minutes from the center of town. I have done some CH research here, but would like any strong / new ideas.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. k
    kpaxonite RE: Eddie Van Hungry Aug 3, 2010 09:21 PM

    DNA or Club de Chasse et Peche

    1. mainsqueeze RE: Eddie Van Hungry Aug 4, 2010 08:51 AM

      I think you'd be interested in MAS Cusine, Au Cinquieme Péché, Kitchen Gallerie, and Jolifou.

      Here are some recent threads discussing these restos:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6436...

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7177...

      1. BlueSteak RE: Eddie Van Hungry Aug 4, 2010 09:47 AM

        Lucca

        1. cherylmtl RE: Eddie Van Hungry Aug 4, 2010 10:00 AM

          Also worth considering are Joe Beef and Liverpool House.

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          Joe Beef
          2491 Rue Notre-Dame W, Montreal, QC H3J1N6, CA

          2 Replies
          1. re: cherylmtl
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            Eddie Van Hungry RE: cherylmtl Aug 4, 2010 12:18 PM

            Thanks all - will check these out.

            1. re: Eddie Van Hungry
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              lagatta RE: Eddie Van Hungry Aug 5, 2010 12:49 PM

              Eddie, if you are interested in Kitchen Galerie, please reserve well ahead of time - it is small and VERY popular.

              Both Kitchen Galerie and Lucca are close to Jean-Talon market and métro. You are heading up so whirlwind that you may not have time to check out the market, though it can be fun. I'm also mentioning the métro as it is actually often faster than driving from downtown, and you don't have to worry about drinking a bit too much wine.

              Have a wonderful trip! I'm sure there is a lovely place in northern New England where you can stop to break up the trip.

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              Kitchen Galerie
              60 Rue Jean-Talon E, Montreal, QC H2R1S5, CA

          2. Voidsinger RE: Eddie Van Hungry Aug 5, 2010 01:45 PM

            Au Pied de Cochon: The hype is worth it.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Voidsinger
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              Eddie Van Hungry RE: Voidsinger Aug 23, 2010 09:44 PM

              Thank you all for your recommendations. Unfortunately, my plans changed a bit and I was only able to go out one night, a Sunday. I quickly learned that almost everywhere in Montreal is closed Sundays. Au Pied de Cochon was open. I couldn't secure a reservation, but on a whim, walked in around 9:00pm and scored a table for 2. Well...my meal will go down as an all-time memory. Absolutely crazy in every way - delicious, fun, super-creative and wildly free of any pretension. I saw (after the fact) Bourdain describe it as “trans-gressive”. I don't know if that's even a real word, but it fits perfectly.

              We ordered a bottle of 2006 Chatauneuf du Pape – big time markup happening, but it was a fine quality wine that was presented correctly, decanted tableside and served at a perfect temperature in beautiful, appropriate glasses. Sounds like basic service, but it's actually so rare it deserves mention, especially in a place with such a casual vibe. Shared appetizers of cod fritters, fried zucchini flowers and pickled veal tongue were actually a bit underwhelming in hindsight. Standard fry job, although the flowers were an unusual and fun ingredient. We enjoyed them at the time, but more than anything, I remember clearly feeling genuinely excited by the vibe....it's loud, boisterous, fun yet somehow serious. And everyone is clearly having a good time. Quite unusual for my DC and I, we were drawn into conversations with both the tables that flanked us, everyone just expressing exuberance and excitement at such an over-the-top menu, atmosphere, everything.

              For my main course, I chose the well-known “duck-in-a-can”. My DC ordered foie gras “tout nu”, which was actually designed as an appetizer, but given the ingredient and the portion, was just fine as a main. The foie dish was probably one of the more simple preparations on the menu...really just a nice slice seared medium over a crouton with deep red wine glace. Nothing fancy. Forgive me if my memory fails me about the dish, my mind is still blown to smithereens by my meal. My plate arrived simply adorned with a ¼ in. thick crouton with some cauliflower puree spooned over the top. Our waiter then presented my can (with very cool identifying label), poached for 27 minutes, opened the tin top, pried it back and ceremoniously (and yet unceremoniously) emptied the contents onto the plate. What emerged....a glorious vertical composition of silky puree and crisp toast drowning in intense veal and balsamic glace and melted duck fat that waited to kiss a cut of foie gras or duck breast...was so over-the-top that it defies my ability to describe it (do a YouTube search). What a concept! Then, the impossible – I sliced a bit of foie and duck breast and realized that they were both perfectly medium rare. Au revoir mind, see you later...impossible. Incomprehensible. Indescribably delicious.

              We ordered dessert not because we could possibly eat one more bite, but because we just wanted to see what we might get (it's that kind of place). A summer fruit cobbler w vanilla ice cream. So simple, very well done..served in it's small baking dish, warm soft doughy top, sweet raspberries with some natural tartness left and very good vanilla ice cream. A little sniff of Chartreuse and away we went!

              All told, our bill was just under $300, but around $100ish of that was the wine. We both agreed that the quality to price ratio was skewed steeply in the diner's favor – had we been more frugal with the wine (which would have been easy, it's a very good, wide ranging list with a lot of very inexpensive bottles), we could have been in the $75 pp range. If I lived in Montreal and hated my heart and liver, I'd go once a week. A meal that I'll remember forever. Merci!!!

              1. re: Eddie Van Hungry
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                Eddie Van Hungry RE: Eddie Van Hungry Aug 23, 2010 09:54 PM

                I'm such a nerd I just saw that there are about ten thousand APDC reviews and duck in a can references here. Sorry to be so redundant. I really did love it tho.

                1. re: Eddie Van Hungry
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                  foodinspace RE: Eddie Van Hungry Aug 24, 2010 07:51 AM

                  Don't be sorry! It was great to read this. Your excitement is contagious!

            2. f
              finefoodie55 RE: Eddie Van Hungry Aug 6, 2010 04:50 AM

              Primo et Secundo is a great choice one block over from Jean Talon Market the restaurant is truly market driven.The chalk board when you come in posts the day's fare. It is a small restaurant so reservations are recommended on the weekends. 514-908-0838

              1. j
                jgreen7292 RE: Eddie Van Hungry Aug 20, 2010 04:14 AM

                We just went to Joe Beef the other night. 7PM res and main courses did not arrive until after 8:15 and fish overdone. Lettuce so gritty it was like eating the garden....not from the garden. Servers were lovely and it is not their fault that the kitchen seemed to be in the weeds but it also seems not too smart to have everyone arrive at almost the same time and not pace reservations. Seems to be resting on reputation..would not go again.

                -----
                Joe Beef
                2491 Rue Notre-Dame W, Montreal, QC H3J1N6, CA

                1 Reply
                1. re: jgreen7292
                  cherylmtl RE: jgreen7292 Aug 22, 2010 09:21 AM

                  Perhaps it's just me, but I don't think mains arriving at 8:15 for a 7 pm reservation is at all unreasonable or unusual - this is not fast food, after all, and the place is tiny, so the kitchen only has so much capacity. Did you have any starters? (as for the lettuce, I would have sent it back, or at least told the servers).

                2. t
                  tocino. RE: Eddie Van Hungry Aug 20, 2010 08:23 AM

                  Les Trois Petit Bouchons. Fits all of your criteria. IMHO a perfect montreal restaurant experience.

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