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Jan 28, 2011 09:36 AM

Casse Croute Creole - Roxboro

I've been hesitant to write a review of this West Island Roxboro eatery since I've only been there once, which hasn't allowed me to sample a good cross section of their menu. That said, my first visit was filled with a mix of positives and negatives.

The resto, which pretty much does only take out, first caught my attention this past summer-fall when I noticed a sandwich board placed curbside on Gouin, across the cross street from the Laurentian Bank, not far from rue Meighen (near Les Trois Arches) and in close proximity to another Roxboro mainstay, Spicy Island, the Jamaican Jerk emporium.

I stopped in there the other day in search of lunch and had the following experience.

1) Decor/Ambience - sub zero. The place looked dodgy but I figure at the moment they're simply trying to survive and focus on the food. Definitely geared to takeout only at the moment. They had one table, a TV set on the floor, old grandma's curtains on the windows. The serving counter, small as it was, was staffed by a fellow of few words, who didn't appear too keen on explaining the menu, but was polite at a minimal level. The menu consisted of large art-board paper with the dishes and prices penned in sharpie and taped to the wall.

2) Serving time: Quick. Their menu wasn't overly diverse or complicated, but equally non-enlightening. Essentially they were Chicken, Turkey, Vegetarian, and Tasso Beef (maybe one or two others, I can't remember). Some sort of description would have been nice, or even simply photos of each dish, but I cut them slack as they are obviously just trying to establish themselves.

3) Food: I ordered the Tasso Beef, as it was the only menu item that had any sort of description in its name beyond the genus of the animal. Curiously, they only offered two take-out sizes, medium and large. It's anybody's guess what happened to small. Now, I'm a big guy and a big eater and I'm happy to report that I was scared to guess how big the large would have been, given that I ordered the medium and it was HUGE.

I was given a choice of southern "dirty" or plain white rice. I opted for the dirty which was quite good and a beyond generous portion. It was topped with a flat potato pancake. There was also a smaller yet healthy portion of Tasso Beef, which was cubed with a hard dry exterior yet was delightfully juicy and tender inside. A rudimentary salad was provided which was nothing more than iceberg lettuce and tomato, along with a container of generic French dressing (clearly not the star of the dish). Also provided was a small container of hot pepper paste. Now, I'm a chili-head and this was not even remotely the hottest I've had, but it was unique, appeared house-made, and was delightfully full of flavor to the point where I think anybody, not even a hot sauce afficionado, could enjoy it. Definitely noteworthy and something I wouldn't mind finding out if I could obtain outside of this resto.

Packaged separately was a container of dipping sauce. The best I can describe it is something like a watered down St. Hubert gravy, yet far more flavorful, with onions floating in it. I poured some of it on the rice, and ended up drinking the rest. Mighty tasty, the stuff could stand on its own, almost as a soup as I could have slurped down a bowl full.

Whole deal, tax in, which included a bottle of water, set me back $7.90.

As dodgy as the place was, I have to say that I plan to pay them another visit and check out the other under-described items they're offering.

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  1. Sounds very tasty, I am going to stop in there soon and give it a try.

    I love places with huge amounts of food and very reasonable prices.

    I Googled Tasso beef and Epicurious defines it like this:

    "this Cajun specialty is generally hard to find outside Louisiana. Tasso is a lean chunk of cured pork (usually shoulder) or beef that's been richly seasoned with ingredients such as red pepper, garlic, file powder and any of several other herbs or spices, depending on the manufacturer. It's then smoked.

    15 Replies
    1. re: hanklin

      Ha...I drive by that place every day and have been meaning to try it for the last few months. As much as I like hole in the walls something has been keeping me away. "The place looked dodgy as hell", is the same feeling I get just from driving by and is why I haven't sprinted there to try it out. etc...My other issue is, every time I drive by I don't see anyone in there which puts a question mark on the freshness of their food. I guess since we found a guinea pig in Haggis, I'll try it out in the coming week.

      Haggis, have you tried the Shish Taouk at the Halal butcher up the street where Gouin meets Pierrefonds? He makes a pretty good sandwich with fresh chicken breast made on the spot over charcoal. Close contender to Abu Elias. I've mentioned this place on one of the West Island threads, unfortunately it hasn't received any buzz on here, I guess there are not too many people on this board from the WI.

      1. re: ios94

        If the Halal butcher is the one next to the Pizza 2 for 1, then no, I haven't been in there but now that you've recommended it, I've put it on my list of places to check out. I've come to love Spicy Island, on Gouin not too far from Casse Croute Creole. They have an unbeatable lunch special for $4.99, the only problem is that they only seem to serve their jerk chicken every day. Maybe they mix it up and serve other things for the special, but the times I've gone there for lunch it's always been the same thing.

        1. re: Haggisboy

          Yes, Spicy Island is pretty good, I find the best time to go is Saturday between 1-3 pm when they are preparing a fresh batch of food for the evening rush.

          Correct, the one in that small strip mall next to the pizza joint.

        2. re: ios94

          I've been to Abu-Abed many times for takeout, although I've never had a custom sangwich made. Their kafta kilo is mighty tasty, but phone ahead. I've also tried their mixed meats and give it a thumbs-up. Their Shish Taouk is better than nearby Adonis, which I find way too dry. YMMV.

          1. re: Troy Mercury

            Made it to the Haitian Casse Croute place, unlike the OP's experience the guy working there was very friendly, attentive and chatty. He discussed how Haitian cuisine is different than the rest of Caribbean dishes in that spices are not mixed into the food (hence the side sauces). Then he ran down the sauces he included with the Tasso Beef and rice and also mentioned they will be doing a bit more advertising in the near future, including a Facebook page.

            The beef was pretty good although I prefer stewed dishes, the rice and beans was excellent, I also tried one of their beef patties which had a nice flaky pastry but could have used some more filling.

            I'll be back again to try their chicken. I wouldn't call the sauce that was included for the rice comparable to St Hub, not gravy like at all. It was actually very good.

          2. re: ios94

            Hey ios94, your recs aren't falling on deaf ears. Although I am not in the WI per say, I often venture in these parts and I want to try the Halal butcher; the place intrigued me even before you mentioned it since it looked like a similar setup to Abu Elias and I have seen line-ups at times. Definitely on my list, as well as the chinese place in Marche de l'Ouest.

            1. re: hungryann

              Unfortunately the Creole place is up for sale, such a shame as I was getting addicted to it. For the time being it's still operating.

              1. re: ios94

                Yeah, and Spicy Island, a few blocks down, is no more. I don't get what gives with the demographics.

                1. re: Haggisboy

                  Yah but at least there is now decent Mexican at the old Spicy Island location.

                  1. re: ios94

                    Has anyone tried the new Mexican place ? I am thinking of going in a few weeks

                      1. re: ios94

                        For some reason, that link doesn't appear to work.

                        1. re: Haggisboy

                          Try now, there was a period in the URL.

                        2. re: ios94

                          Thanks ios94 will let you know what I think when I try it out

                  2. re: ios94

                    For those in need of a fix, Cabane Kreyol on Atwater at Coursol makes a pretty good Tasso Beef with riz a pois, and a very good home-made spicy sauce.