HOME > Chowhound > Quebec (inc. Montreal) >

Discussion

Ice House

http://www.montrealmirror.com/wp/2011...

Wow, this sounds great. I'm going tonight...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. I've been wanting to go for several weeks now, even more so after I've read the reviews. I tried calling for resos this week, but they don't open till late afternoon. It's definitely on my life.

    1 Reply
    1. re: foodie8

      They don't take reservations and few tables, but even on Thursday after the mirror article it wasn't too packed. This place really impressed me on both of my visits so far...

    2. Went last thursday around 8:30pm with m'lady. Had the short rib burrito and the fried chicken taco. They snuck some pickled jalapeno peppers in the taco, and oh mama did that give it a kick. Creemore on tap, good vibes, killer food and homemade tabasco sauce. Will be back fore sure. Might be one of my new favorite spots. Recognized the waiter/guy running the place from Kitchenette (hodge's other resto). Really cool dude, had the place running like butter. Two, meat-juice covered thumbs up!

      2 Replies
        1. re: Maximilien

          It was pretty busy, but the tables turn over pretty quick.

      1. Went early on Friday, before 7, there were only 2 or 4 other people there, which is just as well cos the place is pretty tiny - it'll be great once summer comes and the front terrasse is open.
        I can't add much to the Mirror review as my boyfriend and I pretty much ordered what was written up there, but I will second Joanna Fox's assessment - both the oyster po-boy and the lobster burrito were delicious, and if you order fries, ask for the spicy mayo - KILLER. Not because it's incredibly hot, just really tasty. And the spiked lemonade, squeezed on site, with a shot of bourbon, was a winner too.

        1. I went last Friday as well and it was packed!. Got there around 9.30 and waited about 20 mins. for a table. My friend and I shared the 1/2 bucket of ribs and one pork and one steak burrito. Ribs come with potato salad, coleslaw and biscuits. The biscuits were incredibly buttery tasting. We were tempted to steal the biscuits leftover at the table next to us from a couple who ordered the fried chicken. Potato salad and coleslaw were both served creamy. I just wished there was a bit less dressing because they were a bit soupy but that's just my preference.

          As for the burritos, both were flavourful. My only complaint is that the ingredients weren't dispersed evenly. The meat was in the middle (mixed with other toppings) while the ends were only veggies (pork burrito was filled with sweet potato and the steak with french fries and veggies).

          The only real downside is the price of the alcohol. I inquired about the wine and the server said it was $10 a glass or (I believe) $50 a bottle (I guess it's a standard price for all of the wines). The spiked lemonade is great but is also $10. I didn't think the prices mirrored the casual feel of the resto or the food prices.

          I'm definitely going to go back (perhaps when it's not as busy) but with the late hours and the terrasse out front, it's going to be great in the summer.

          1. Just tried it. Had the short rib tacos and the fish tacos. Both were ok. Wish I had asked for some hot sauce or this homemade tobasco that they apparently have. Really my only complaint is that after tax and tip it cost about 25$ for 4 pretty small tacos that left me hungry for more. I guess Im just comparing it too much to the food truck tacos in LA that IMO are better and would have cost around 14$ for 4 tacos. Its worth a try for sure and glad I did.

            5 Replies
            1. re: jay_81k

              Yikes, that is pricey especially if you weren't even full. You can eat well for only $10-15 bucks up and down The Main. Good luck with that, dunno how they'll make it work but it won't be off the starving students and starving artists who make up most of the locals.

              1. re: Shattered

                IMO, this place is a step up, with respect to the quality of ingredients and the cooking, from the places where you would be able to get a meal for $10-15. Two of us spent about $70, I think, for 6 oysters, crab-stuffed jalapenos, fried-chicken tacos, and oyster po-boy, with a spiked lemonade and a caesar to drink; and we had NO room for dessert (darn!). So, not an everyday-type place for us but worth it for a treat. There are lots more things on the menu that look interesting.

              2. re: jay_81k

                Its pretty tough to compare the prices of Icehouse to LA taco trucks... I don't think there's any need to explain the logistics and economics behind this..

                Anyways, for a city that only recently acquired its first decent Brooklyn food-truck style tacos (Grumman), I think we're a long way away from comparing our mexican-inspired cuisine to a place thats within hours of mexican ingredients and expertise. That said, I've found Icehouse to be exceptional on my three visits, and it also manages to toss in a few original ideas that you might not find at a taco truck (i.e. the lobster burrito).

                As for the alcohol, I agree that the prices are fairly high, though they do toss an awful lot of Bourbon into those lemonades for $10. I think these prices are generally on par with what one would pay at the other casual hipster restaurants in the city, especially since one could walk out of Icehouse stuffed full of delciousness and having spent less than $20 on food.

                1. re: Fintastic

                  I agree with your post, except for the last sentence. I don't think you can walk out of Icehouse stuffed full of deliciousness for less than $20 - two rounds of tacos (4 small tacos in all) would be $18, *before* tax and tip.

                  I posted my review of Icehouse in the restaurant openings thread but I agree with both sides here really - I think the food is absolutely delicious and the quality is excellent. But the price point for these dishes is a little high. I think it is the contrast between the prices and the setting/feel of the place (which is quite casual) which is a bit disconcerting.

                  1. re: unlaced

                    Fair enough- I think I was just thinking of my first visit when I had burrito and a quarter chicken (shared a half order), which I think worked out to $18 before tax and tip and I was painfully full. But I agree that there's plenty of ways you could leave hungry even after spending much more.

                    I think Nick Hodge and co. are trying to keep quality high, and so prices follow accordingly. The casual setting is clearly a facade (maybe even a bit of a gimmick - a few things seem casual to the point of impracticality). I think Montreal has always pushed top quality food into progressively casual settings, so I feel like Icehouse is just an extreme extension of this concept. I remember when the same was said of APdC and now every other restaurant in the city is exactly the same..

              3. We went a few weeks ago and left feeling like it was good, the service was great, but that ultimately it just wasn't worth what we spent. We went around 6PM on a Friday and because we were only 2, they said we could sit at a table but if a bigger table came in, we would be asked to move, so we chose to sit at the counter. Unfortunately, it faces a wood-paneled wall, so this didn't provide much ambience, and the stools weren't very comfortable. We had the steak burrito with poblano (good quality ingredients, but was hoping it would have some spice to it), the sausage sandwich (great tasty sausage, but the bun was so-so), "tater tots" (deep fried sweet potato puree, good, but at $1 each (4 total), it could have been better), and an order of corn bread (decent portion, but really tasted mostly like flour.) We had a beer (very limited selection of 2 on tap, and Corona and maybe two other bottles) and an $11 margarita that was really good, not too sour and they used quality tequila, but poured only 2/3 full. Overall, it cost about $60 before tip, which isn't outrageous, and while there were other things on the menu that sounded tempting, I just don't see us rushing back anytime soon.

                1. For the type of place it is and Considering the plastic plates we were served on the prices are too high. This type of place would be great if It was cheaper. But for the price it's just not worth going more than once in a while. It will do great regardless because this city is full of suckers who like to pay big bucks for "trendy" food. ( I being one of them at times ;))

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: jay_81k

                    "Considering the plastic plates we were served on "

                    Whooot ??!!?

                    1. re: Maximilien

                      maybe they are applying ecological economics - probably not

                    2. re: jay_81k

                      I didn't find it expensive for what it was, and I don't agree that it can be called "trendy". Good and basic, yes, but not trendy IMHO. Three of us ate there on Saturday for around $70, including drinks. We had an oyster po'boy, smoked meat sandwich, and 1/2 bucket of fried chicken, 1 beer on tap, 1 caesar, and a coke and cookies for dessert (for the teenager who has a larger appetite than his parents) and we left very full and very happy. I will definitely be going back.
                      I didn't see any plastic plastes - they do use cardboard containers for the food, though, and the chicken and ribs are dumped onto a brown paper that's placed on the table, so it's not exactly "fine dining". But the ingredients are good, as is the food, so I'm not complaining.
                      So I think it really depends on what you order.

                      1. re: cherylmtl

                        I'm going back tomorrow to try more things. Maybe my opinion will be different then. Plastic plates or cardboard containers just as bad wouldn't you say? Just as an example even though I know it's completely different, when I go for mexican I get 6 tacos for 12$ and leave much more satisfied.

                        1. re: jay_81k

                          No, cardboard containers are more in the casual spirit of places like clam shacks. Plastic plates are another story altogether.
                          I don't think this place is trying to compete with cheap Mexican, and I enjoy the food at places like El Rey del Taco as much as this, but I wouldn't compare them, either in terms of price or ambience...
                          Hopefully you will enjoy your meal tomorrow more than your previous one, knowing what to expect.

                          1. re: cherylmtl

                            I'm looking forward to trying this restaurant probably in the next few weeks (currently on vacation/visiting home down South where good BBQ is never a problem) and while I take everyone's experiences seriously, I think one need not expect this place to "compete" with eating authentic Mexican, or hell, authentic Texan. I applaud Nick Hodge's efforts to bring something that is closer to what I grew up with where I now live. (One can't always jet on down to San Antonio when one wants, unless you can afford it!) Obviously, it's his spin on it and while it may not be to everyone's tastes, I think we can agree it's nice somebody doing this!

                        2. re: cherylmtl

                          It's not really cheap either, but I wouldn't call it overly expensive. By comparison half a bucket of fried chicken (about half a chicken) is $18. I believe that 1/2 roasted organic chicken at Buvette Chez Simone is about the same price (served with some veggies and sauce). They're both equally yummy but I think I am getting more bang for my buck at Buvette (not forgetting the mark-up on organic ingredients).
                          The plastic tray/cardboard plates, food on the table is both a nice gimmick (hence why some people would call it trendy I guess) and in line with the tradition of the original roadside shacks but it's also a matter of economics and time. The server spends less time bringing plates, clearing plates, no plongeur needed, not to mention the crammed space that they are in.
                          All in all the food is good, fun vibe, Creemore Springs on tap and a good selection of bourbon: I will go back (tomorrow actually :-)

                        3. Went back last night and still feel the same way I did before about it. This time I got a half bucket of their "dr pepper " ribs and an order of short rib tacos and fish tacos all to share. This time I left full! I enjoyed the short rib tacos more this time than last, the fish tacos were sloppy and was difficult to eat due to the taco shell breaking from too much moisture. And the ribs were dry I thought and were lacking a bit more sauce and some salt. 50$ for both of us and essentially all I ate was one short Rib taco , one fish taco, and 3 ribs with coleslaw and potato salad. So I still think it's a bit of a rip off. But will probably be back to try a couple of other things. Oh yeah and People behind me got the lobster burrito and were complaining that there was hardly any lobster in it so I probably won't be trying that at 22$ before tax.

                          1. Checked out Ice House last night & i'm already planning my next visit.
                            I'm no expert on BBQ, but we've definitely been missing a good BBQ restaurant in the city! Thankfully, my BBQ prayers have been answered.
                            The BF and I got there around 7:00 (Friday night) and waited about 10-15 mins for a seat. Strangely enough, the place really cleared out once we got our seats, and by the time we left around 8:30, the place was only half full.
                            We went with the 1/2 bucket of ribs (which came with coleslaw, potato salad, & cornbread), an order of fries, and the pulled pork tacos. In hindsight, we should have swapped the pork tacos for something else to break up the pork overload, but they were still damn good.
                            Everything was absolutely delicious, and we could barely finish it all (emphasis on the word barely. With food that awesome, you find room for it)
                            No complaints here, i'm still in BBQ heaven.

                            1. It's a fun place.

                              The spiked limonade (bourbon) was good, as well as the red fish taco; also had some oysters.

                              Will go back again to try the ribs and other substancial meats; but will go in with some friends.

                              1. Does anyone know if you can order take-out from Icehouse?

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: certifiedfresh

                                  yes im pretty sure I saw people there just taking out.

                                2. Lacking is the world for Icehouse. Lacking in taste, spice, and seemingly skill. If you've had real Texas BBQ, don't waste your time. If Taco Bell is your thing, this is a step up.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: fraisefatale

                                    Finally someone who agrees it's not that great

                                    1. re: jay_81k

                                      How do their ribs compare to Boucan's?

                                      (speaking of which, I think they've unfortunately switched over to disgusting cardboard tasting unseasoned freezer fries now... or I got unlucky on my last takeout)

                                      1. re: OliverB

                                        They're both equally as dry. Ice houses ribs are bigger though from what I remember but I enjoy the sauce/flavor more at boucan. But nothing can be worse than the ribs I tried last night at that new place Amber on decarie. It may have been a bad batch but they were so tough with almost no meat on them. Felt like I was eating pork neck.

                                  2. I have very mixed feelings about this place. I went with my husband and toddler on Friday night and ordered the combo bucket of ribs and chicken. The sides were very nice, homemade coleslaw and potato salad, a biscuit and spicy corn bread (toddlers and cayenne pepper don't mix!), but at $32 a pop 5 ribs and 5 pieces of chicken is outrageous! The fried peach pie was very good, and will be even better when made with fresh peaches this summer. The spiked lemonade (vodka) had me asking the waitress if she had remembered to add the vodka...

                                    The service on the other hand was excellent, and extremely attentive. I might go back to try the pulled pork taco, but wont be ordering the bucket again...

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: english muffin

                                      Forgot to mention that contrary to reports above the ribs were succulent & very meaty, whereas the chicken was on the dry side. Guess it depends on the day...

                                      1. re: english muffin

                                        They must have a rotating "dry meat of the day"!

                                    2. Went with my girlfriend a few weeks ago and had a great time! Showed up on a Friday around 7 and only waited about 15 minutes for a table (it's a really small joint, but once they open the terrasse it'll be a perfect size). No worries though the very attentive waiter greeted us and asked if we wanted drinks while we waited. We went with the spiked lemonade and a Michelada (spicy cesar-like beer) and they were both tasty although of course a bit on the pricey side. We ordered some popcorn shrimp, the pulled pork tacos and the oyster po boy. I have to agree with other posts here that they've got a dry meat issue going on because although the flavour was there, the pork tacos were a bit dry for us. With that said, the popcorn shrimp and oyster po boy were sooo delicious. The sauce on the po boy was amazing. I've never been down south so I don't know how this restaurant compares, but I definitely think it's one of a kind in Montreal. We spent $50 (before tip) for plenty of food and a drink each, the service was amazing, the crowd rather interesting and the food was great. I am definitely heading back this summer for some fried chicken, oysters on saltines and a slice of fried peach pie.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: lindsho

                                        Hey lindsho, when will they open the terrace so it'll be a perfect size?

                                        1. re: porker

                                          Their terrace is open (went this week). Come early though, it fills up fast.

                                          1. re: estilker

                                            Actually I found it a peculiar description - was it not a perfect size before the terrace? Come autumn and the terrace closes, will it revert to non-perfection? I just wanted lindsho's opinion on this, but I'm not sure if he/she is following this or any thread.

                                            1. re: porker

                                              I'd have to say it's pretty tiny without the terrace. That's not necessarily a bad thing as it creates ambiance, but you definitely have to pick the right time to go. Showing up on a weekend at 7:30 and expecting a table asap wouldn't be realistic.

                                              1. re: lindsho

                                                Hey lindsho, welcome back! Thanks for your response ;-)

                                          2. re: porker

                                            I walked by and poked my head in. Even with the terrace, it's minuscule.

                                        2. I went a few weeks after opening with my gf too. We had a burrito / Taco plate (don't recall which ones sorry). We spent $50 for this and 2 drinks. We were in and out in under an hour.

                                          We went late - with nobody eating. So it seems to really transform itself into a bar setting past a certain hour. Something to consider if you plan on going late -- and expecting to be welcomed by sweet southern aromas. Perhaps the summer terrace experience will be different.

                                          The waiter was friendly and attentive before ordering, but disappeared after ordering. Gave us our food but I had to get up myself to ask for sauces.

                                          Also, the place is tiny, and the picnic bench style seems fun... But given the size of this place and the amount of people in it - I felt uncomfortable... and had a hard time buying into the experience consequently.

                                          Haven't seen the terrace -- maybe that's the best option for this place.

                                          1. I went to Ice House this evening after reading a great review in Night life Magazine. I thought the atmosphere and the set up was fantastic. Little red tables, tight cozy terrace. The music was great and the place just felt like home cooking. The waitstaff was fair but don't ask the bartender a thing she was a bit rude. The food was good to mediocre I got the fried chicken basket $18 bucks for 4 pieces and two sides, creamy coleslaw and potatoes with a buttery biscuit. I've had better fried chicken in my life the biscuit was great the sides had a bit too much mayo for my preference. They don't skimp in their alcoholic lemonade.

                                            The only thing that bothered me was getting a pink piece of fried chicken and having the waiter try to convince me to eat the pink chicken. After much discussion about how I didn't want to risk eating pink chicken he eventually brought me another (much smaller) piece. I think when you serve someone even slightly semi cooked chicken your immediate response should be Im so sorry I'll get you some more.

                                            Go to Ice bar for the atmosphere and drinks but t don't expect an overly amazing meal.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: KIMBRITT

                                              Damn, nothing worse than undercooked chicken. Reminds me when I ate at Baton Rouge and the waitress asked me "quelle cuisson?" for my chicken breast.

                                              1. re: KIMBRITT

                                                You don't say what part of the chicken the pink piece was. Drumsticks are often pink or red, particularly near the bone, when fully cooked. If they aren't pink, they're usually overcooked and dry (& as a cook I had to serve alot of overcooked chicken to people who didn't know this). Cooked meat depends on internal temperature reached for X amount of time, you can't judge just by colour. There's a big difference between a bright pink raw part inside a breast, and a darker pink/red bit of dark meat with a firmer, cooked texture.

                                                Your waiter was wrong to argue with you, but may have been correct that the chicken was fine.

                                                1. re: Shattered

                                                  Exactly what I was about to write

                                              2. I really don't get people complaining about price. $18 for a half chicken. At KFC it's about $10 for that, with a drink and ooky fries and neon green supposed cole slaw, and the quality is a massive difference.

                                                $50 for two people to eat a meal in the plateau is completely reasonable. Montrealers are spoiled I think.

                                                My best friend and I had the chicken and popcorn shrimp, with coleslaw (that was definitely not soupy, in fact we had a hard time at first deciding if it was a mayo or vinegar dressing it was so thin) and potato salad. We brought home a piece of chicken, could have brought a few popcorn shrimp home but decided they wouldn't keep, and had half the potato salad left. We also split a pitcher of bourbon lemonade (WAY cheaper than by the glass, as it was $40 and we filled our mugs several times). We are two big girls with big healthy appetites. Everything was *good*. People seem to be expecting fast food joint prices with gourmet food. Um, that's not how it works. This place is a great value for money unless one has a need to try 5 appetizers and gorge themselves.

                                                9 Replies
                                                1. re: wendykh

                                                  what makes it 'gourmet'? it is priced the way it is because it is a niche market with barely any competition. you get the same food all over the usa for cheaper or at least with massive portions. I suppose this is what people are complaining about.

                                                  1. re: wendykh

                                                    I'm not complaining about the prices, but I do feel like many on the board - because of spending $200 for dinner (with plenty of drinks) for 2 people, we're not going to frequent this place very often.

                                                    1. re: porker

                                                      for real, who wants to spend that much on casual dining

                                                        1. re: SnackHappy

                                                          I've been meaning to go for months but those photos convinced me... it might not be the best value foodwise, but it's really not that pricey either. It's not fair to compare something that's exclusive to one city/region with customary fare that's abundant throughout another country. You can eat the freshest sushi out of market stalls for dirt cheap in the east. It's apples and oranges; like people complaining about the cost of french food in the midwest. Good luck finding a small lunch bistro or wine bar... more likely a $$$$ michelin star restaurant. It'd be nice to have more options but right now it's a unique pressence in the city (where else are you gonna find this kinda southern fare?) and the costs go with it.

                                                          The po boy looks killer... can't decide whether I'm gonna go for the pulled pork taco, brisket sandwich or lobster burrito, any suggestions??

                                                          1. re: OliverB

                                                            I know you aren't specifically responding to my post, but as I said, I'm not necessarily complaining about the prices. And yes, there's a certain amount of apples and oranges factor here.
                                                            I just don't like spending that kind of money for stuff I do better at home (as in BBQ, southern fare, etc).

                                                    2. re: wendykh

                                                      I live on the Plateau, have for 7 years, and $50 for 2 is on the upper end. $30-40 is more reasonable for the neighbourhood - and 2 can dine well for $20-25 at some places.

                                                      Speaking of which, $18 for half a chicken is almost twice as much as the same of pork cutlet/escalope at the sit-down Portuguese places, or you could get a 4 or 5 meat mixed grill for only about 5 bucks more (both including fries and salad) - and that's a better comparison than KFC. As celfie said, it's niche. Once the novelty wears off, we'll see... or maybe they will get all their business from tourists and 'local tourists' (ie. 'burbanites) who don't know better.

                                                      1. re: Shattered

                                                        From what I experienced... their clientele is young anglo, St. Laurent centric hipsters types... more disposable income than Mile End hipsters...also better dressed, also with a fickle sense of loyalty...
                                                        That being said 3 of us ate there $60 before tax and tip... 2 tacos each and a 1/2 bucket of ribs shared... 2 pitchers of beer. It was okay to good. Liked the tunes for the most part which was good since there was a speaker right behind my head.

                                                        1. re: Shattered

                                                          *"almost twice as much as the same [ie. half chicken] OR pork..."

                                                          60 bucks for 3 including booze is very reasonable. And I'm all for a non-Mile End "fashion" clientele!

                                                      2. Hmmm reviews seem to be all over the range here.

                                                        Does anybody have pictures of the food? I love pictures :)

                                                        4 Replies
                                                          1. re: chickenbruiser

                                                            thanks for the pictures, helps to avoid surprises and to plan ahead!

                                                            1. re: chickenbruiser

                                                              Nice pictures and review! (I liked the "lurking behind the Po Boy" shot especially LOL)

                                                              1. re: TheSnowpea

                                                                Not me... somebody else but I'm sure he'll appreciate the compliments ;)

                                                          2. Went back again (solo) last Saturday; I was expecting the place to be full because of the main's Frénésie but it was ok at around 18h. but was near full when I left at around 19h30.

                                                            Both Taco were good (pulled pork and beef) and the popcorn shrimps (ordered par gourmandise) were also good and went with the spiced beer.

                                                            I love the place and that day was perfect because the weather was very nice and made it fun to be on the terrasse.

                                                            all that for $42 (for those who want to discuss the p/q ratio)

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: Maximilien

                                                              Glad to see this post. I think the price issue is REALLY overblown. The boozy lemonade is pricey, but also a heavy pour. Half-chicken aside the food is on par with what other similar restos in the area (i.e. reservoir). I think they put more effort (at least variety of ingredients) into their tacos than does Grumman (which I also love), and at 8-9 bucks the argument of price is silly. This isn't San Francisco - trying to compare prices (and even flavours) with the southern US is entirely unfair.

                                                              1. re: Fintastic

                                                                Agreed about the price issue not really being an issue. We went last night - our meal for 3 people came to $120, including drinks. We got one $40 pitcher of the bourbon lemonade, which we couldn't even finish (and we're healthy drinkers), the fried chicken, one order of shortrib tacos, and one oyster po'boy. We couldn't even finish the food - we took it to-go. We may not have been the biggest eaters, but it was plenty of food.

                                                                Granted, for the cost of the ingredients, the price is a bit high. But I've paid $8-$10 for a sandwich at some Italian delis, and it wasn't as good as this oyster sandwich. Would definitely go back, especially for that fantastic chicken and just one glass of that bourbon lemonade.

                                                                1. re: kimberleyblue

                                                                  I love this place. The food is done well and consistent, the lemonade out of this world (especially when Adam makes it). I mean, everything is good. We've been going about once a week and are so happy we finally have a neighborhood joint like this. Long live.

                                                              2. re: Maximilien

                                                                Went last night and had the fried chicken taco and black bean burrito and two spiked lemonades on the cramped, but lovely, terrace. Our bill was also $41 and I'd have to say chime in here and say that I did think it was a bit pricey for what it was. The quality was good, not amazing, but good but the portions were, in my opinion, quite small for the taco (it came as two soft small tacos stuffed with a huge amount of iceberg lettuce). I'd say the size of the burrito was small for $8. This place isn't comparable to Tequila Taco House or, god forbid, Three Amigos and I can't think of anywhere here in the city that is similar to the Icehouse but in Toronto I would say it's like Big Fat Burrito (originally in Kensington Market) or even Burrito Boyz (originally of Club Land) where you can get well-made tacos and burritos, as well as booze. And at Big Fat Burrito and Burrito Boyz, the damage would be about $10 less for a similar meal for two but the portions would be much bigger. Hence, I would say that it did bother me that it as a tad on the expensive side for what it was. I mean, I'm willing to shell out good money for good food but to me it was a bit foreign to pay $41 for small servings of taco, burrito and two drinks in a super casual setting.

                                                              3. After reading a whole range of reviews on this site, my wife and I thought we'd check this place out Saturday. We got there at 7 and the place was just starting to fill up, we were lucky to get a table for two on the patio. Servers were friendly and relaxed, music was good (not too loud, a cool mix of Southern classic rock, Beatles, Stones, etc), & we didn't feel rushed. We started off with the popcorn shrimp, lightly battered with finely sliced spring onion and lime. Really good, they went way too quickly! Washed them down with a Creemore and an excellent bourbon spiked lemonade (quite pricey as other have said but the alcohol is definitely there!). Followed that with the pulled pork tacos and the chicken tacos. Both were delicious (not the biggest fan of pecans in the pulled pork taco but still good). We had a couple of biscuits on the side, very buttery and fresh. Sadly they didn't have the friend peach pie on the menu which we'd really wanted to try so we called it a day, 41 dollars + tip. Will definitely come here again, a great addition to the neighbourhood. If like me you've read the mixed bag of reviews on this page, i'd just go and check it out, i wasn't disappointed at all!

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: run_mtl

                                                                  That should probably read 'fried' peach pie!

                                                                  1. re: run_mtl

                                                                    nothing wrong with a friendly peach pie!!!

                                                                    (it's probably be back when peaches are more in season!)

                                                                    1. re: Maximilien

                                                                      I saw a chicken fried pizza there the other day. It was nuts.

                                                                2. Made the mistake of taking a brisket-obsessed Texan to Icehouse today. Oops: the meat in the brisket sandwich was like rubber, had no sign whatsoever of being smoked, and the sauce was cloyingly sweet. I'm not super fussy about these things, but even I agreed it was a disaster on a bun.

                                                                  Adam came to check on us at the very end and we did mention the meat issue - he said he would pass along the feedback to the kitchen but no real apology was offered, which surprised me. For $8 it's not the end of the world, but they didn't seem to have much pride in the food.

                                                                  According to my dining partner Bofinger's brisket sandwich has this place beat on several fronts: quality of meat, actual smoking of said meat, choice of sauces, sides and drinks included, all for less money....I realize it's a different experience and targeting a slightly different segment, but still - if you're going to position yourself as some kind of Southern food experience, your food should at least beat the crap out of the mediocre places that already exist, no?

                                                                  Anyone else tried the brisket sandwich at Icehouse and had a better experience?

                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                  1. re: anachemia

                                                                    No but Ive tried bofinger a couple times and it is disgusting

                                                                    1. re: anachemia

                                                                      I've had the ribs at Ice House. Although tasty, they're not BBQ; they're pre-cooked and grilled with sauce. There is nothing whatsoever wrong with this, but if seeking true BBQ, this ain't it (I don't know if anyone remembers a restaurant in the basement level of Alexis Nihon where Zellers is now located, it was called Le Villegois or something, their ribs were VERY similar to Ice House).
                                                                      Bofinger does smoke. They use (from what I remember - its been quite a few years) small, commercial stainless steel smokers. A true affocionado might turn his nose up 'cause it ain't a backyard pit fueled with post oak and tended by an old crusty guy named Bubba, but its still smoked.

                                                                      My personal opinion
                                                                      is that true BBQ is not necessarily difficult, but it is time- and sometimes labour- intensive. This in itself makes it somewhat difficult to do commercially. Also, real BBQ is best eaten now, today. You put that shoulder or brisket in the fridge and re-heat, well, you're going to lose alot. And thus the problem with good BBQ in a city that says it wants BBQ, but has yet to prove it.
                                                                      Look at the big BBQ joints in the south. They have a huge clientele, so BBQing 1000 sides of ribs, or shoulder, or brisket or whatever will result in very little leftover. OR they sell out of everything and thats it.
                                                                      What does the Yankee joint do? "Hey Jacques, nobody showed up tonight and I have all this BBQed meat, what do I do?"
                                                                      "Throw it in the fridge, we'll heat it tomorrow with lots of sauce..."
                                                                      General result - restos don't like to BBQ, so they grill. Restos that BBQ are often hit or miss, and sometimes more miss than hit.
                                                                      I'm just syaing is all.

                                                                      1. re: porker

                                                                        Spot on porker... That's the general problem with BBQ joint in the northeast... not enough people show-up, quality suffers and even less people comeback...

                                                                        1. re: Ched1000

                                                                          Don't think that's true... when NDG Bofinger first opened it was packed night and day and there were ques to get to the counter. I'd say it was pretty much a circus all summer long. Then they franchised and fell from mediocrity (at best) to fast food slop within a year. Boucan does pretty well from what I've seen. Whenever I walk past in the evenings, most tables are filled in the dining room. The problem is that there's no dedication to quality and effort at all... It's not about laziness, bar-b-q in Montreal is a marketing thing. Obviously due to geography and climate, we can never sustain the kind of cheap backyard pits that litter the south with authentic roadfood, but it's completely unrealistic to say that bar-b-q is difficult and labor intensive. It's a slow wood smoking process required to infuse and envelop flavors while loosening and softening meats until fleshy and tender. The places that claim to do bar-b-q in Montreal simply don't seem to care. They're mostly up-scale versions of Boustan in concept, that cater to a less-discerning market who will go along with the idea and convenience... The "art" of Q is all about controling temperature so that even the cheapest toughest cuts of brisket and pork shoulder are smoked soft and flavourful. It is not anymore difficult to do commercially than for backyard cookouts... provided you have the right ethos and this is where the city fails. Following the uniquely local culture of our french bistros and small upscale epicurean boutique eateries, Montreal tends to lean heavily towards comfort & terroir cuisine done up-priced and on small-scale, contempo-plated and made hip by it's surroundings. That is just not the culture of a largely poverty affected southern barbecue belt! It's not middle-class trendy and there arent any pretentions... it's just down home cooking without any concepts or twists. Something that isn't done in Montreal. If somebody truly wanted to open up an honest to goodness bar-b-q joint in the city, it'd certainly take-off. I could see this happening in a neighborhood like NDG, that's largely unaffected by the vogue conscious districts north of sherbrooke and downtown or in the expanding southwest and mile end neighborhoods. You do not need to BBQ 100 sides of ribs and pulled pork each day as mentioned above, but have a simple and efficient business plan based on the door traffic that passes through. That is the basic factor behind any restaurant business. Places like Bofinger simply want to turn out fast quantity with little dedication to the quality of their plates, so they serve tough and tasteless meats (antithesis of bar-b-q principle!) and furnish it up with excessive toppings and rubs to cover what's lacking. It's not unlike the dozens of gourmet burger joints with menus full of fancy toppings and tasteless overcooked meat! Sure smoked gouda and portobello drizzled with black truffle oil in a brioche bun will taste great... but when you take that all away and you're left with an atrosciously vapid excuse for a hamburger... what's the point?? Same thing applies to bar-b-q or anything else! A small unembellished eatery that carefully smokes and serves budget priced 'cue and the most basic but consummate sides can easily exist and do really well in Montreal. All it takes is someone capable and willing... a Mr. Koulakis type championing cheap roadshack meats in your typical greasy spoon setting... and NO foie gras poutines or frou-frou brownies, etc!

                                                                          1. re: OliverB

                                                                            You're bringing good points... Still think a healthy (and whealthy) BBQ joint need a huge turnover... That being said, some of the Icehouse stuff is quite good (not talking about ribs here...)

                                                                            1. re: Ched1000

                                                                              I took two months a few summers back to roadtrip across the southwest... starting in texas up to arizona and new mexico until I reached the high country in colorado and flew back home. Along the way I sampled the polars of what each region had to offer... both eating and staying everywhere from stunning villas and fine dining at the royal palms and luxurious adobe style historic posadas to forgotten motels & campgrounds and tiny mexican roadside kitchens in nameless towns in the middle of nowhere. Travelling along the old highways and back routes, you really get a sense of how the major roadways and super highways have killed the economy of certain towns, some of which have all but been abandoned and forgotten. A few old buildings, service stations, church, diner and general store... mostly boarded up and covered in dust. Often when travelling through these off-beaten routes, the only foodstops you encounter are the ocassional hamburger stands, the odd roadhouse or two, tiny mexican eateries and bbq stops along the way. Nobody frequents these places! On many ocassion at the height of the day, I'd be the only one at the counter with the proprietors int he back kitchen. It didn't stop any of these people from serving up some of the bext BBQ (especially TX) for little more than a sawbuck! Sure there are huge chains and more famous destinations that EVERYONE flocks to... but bbq is literally everywhere, even as high as the rockies... even the nat'l parks! I've been through most of the southern states (KY, TN, VA, NC/SC, GA, etc) and it literally is everywhere. There's good and bad of course, but it's as much a part of the region and culture as rice in asia. Doesn't matter if the joint is well-known or well-frequented... there's still que to be found in every town, in every state. There's no good reason why it can't exist here without being refined and regionalized the way most other cuisines are... it doesn't lend itself to frilly or fusion and there's no room for creativity in a food culture that's so rigid and genuinely fixed. None of this has anything to do with Ice House which I still haven't been to but would like to try. The point is there will always be places like that. But there's definitely room for a more honest and stripped-down bargain priced version too. I say it can exist if anyone cared to make it happen. But for now we're stuck with boutique and concept versions or just plain bad inauthentic fast food like Bofinger. Then there's Le Boucan... which isn't perfect, but still (as of last fall!) the best option so far.

                                                                              1. re: OliverB

                                                                                no one in quebec has grown up with low and slow. Quebecois think bbq is rotisserie chicken and oven ribs. It would take some big balls to open authentic bbq here. Bofinger attempted that, and in my opinion, fell flat because they thought southern bbq can easily be appropriated by reading cookbooks. And the Le Boucan the opener episode made it abundantly clear that those guys do not know the first thing about BBQ. the first step to running a successful bbq restaurant is having a pit boss who works 18 hours a day and doesnt complain. It's hard enough to find hard workers in quebec...

                                                                            2. re: OliverB

                                                                              Some good points.
                                                                              As I mentioned, this is my opinion, its not based on hard evidence or long studies, but rather on my opinion alone. It is also not definitive - there are many factors involved - social/economic/scale/etc etc etc.
                                                                              Just to clear up, I did not say "bar-b-q is difficult and labor intensive", but rather
                                                                              "it is time- and sometimes labour- intensive. This in itself makes it somewhat difficult to do commercially". I don't mean it requires plenty of labour, but if a process takes a long time, it will stack up the man-hours required.
                                                                              Sure anything can be done commercially, easy or not. But higher costs many times means difficulty.
                                                                              "If somebody truly wanted to open up an honest to goodness bar-b-q joint in the city, it'd certainly take-off"
                                                                              Id say yes and no. I would certainly LIKE to see someone do real honest to goodness BBQ (just as I'd like to see a cliché Chinese bar in Chinatown with geisha waitresses and a fu man chu bartender). However, it seems that the greatest ideas in the restaurant world do not always transplant very well, but thats a whole other subject....

                                                                              I think our labour force, climate, raw materials, etc etc would drive up the cost of BBQ here as, say compared to the deep south (as you point out). Lo and behold, honest to goodness BBQ costs more than that place in the shopping mall! The customer (god love his soul) says wow, that was good, but for the price, I'd rather eat at Scores...

                                                                              Having the right ethos will definitely make for a good product. Sticking to those ethics when facing the economics of running a restaurant is the true hurdle.

                                                                              BTW, yeah, geisha ain't Chinese...thats the point {;-/)

                                                                              1. re: porker

                                                                                True. BBQ at its best is more of a religion than a business model...

                                                                              2. re: OliverB

                                                                                OlivierB, once again you totally get it. Hit the nail right on the head...especially the bit about the burgers.

                                                                                1. re: OliverB

                                                                                  I don't think it would take off at all. I've long lamented the lack of a soul food place in this town (including BBQ) and even talked preliminary plans with friends about opening one but we slowly came to realize it would never work. Quebecois, by and large, just simply do not like that kind of food. Sure a few do. I bet the CH'ers would all come at least to complain and pick it apart. But they think country fried steaks are an abomination (hell anything fried they classify as "gross american fatty food" --this from the people who invented poutine) and (true) pulled pork as a "greasy fatty mess". I am continually amazed at the dry bones they classify as delicious ribs. Mashed potatoes with bacon and fried onions is met with confusion, not joy. And they think St Hubert makes great BBQ sauce :-( Not that it isn't good, but it's not BBQ sauce. It's brown gravy.

                                                                                  There is an accounting for regional taste and I hate to say it but I just really do not think Quebecois, in general (obviously there are exceptions) have much of a taste for real true southern US / soul food cuisine. I've managed to convert a handful of friends and my kids to a few dishes but by and large no, it's just not their style. That's okay I don't even want to see the hot mess my US southern family would make of poutine and tourtiere....

                                                                          2. I can't believe there has been scant reference to the music. Or perhaps I went on a particularly bad night (last Friday ca 9pm). We're talking Metallica, Judas Priest, Skid Row, and a host of horrible 80's hair rock...blasting. What's that? BLASTING. Look I'm a rock fan and would be fine with Skynyrd and the other classics...but this was just offensive, the bands we've been trying hard to forget (sorry Metallica fans...but c'mon blasting in your ears?) Wailing guitars and aggressive rhythms really ruined the vibe, made my entire group unhappy, and coloured our taste buds.

                                                                            That being said, I personally thought the fried chicken was amongst the best I've ever had (though I'm no expert). I came with three former Austinites, who thought the food was "okay" but were expecting Texas sized portions for the price. I was impressed by the service given that we were too many people trying to squeeze into a too small space.

                                                                            But be forewarned about just what kind of audio soundtrack (style + volume) might greet you.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: foodinspace

                                                                              I agree... was there last Saturday night at like 1am and they were BLASTING the Ghostbusters theme song!

                                                                              We actually split early because of it -- it's always the worst!

                                                                              I had a shrimp taco which was tasteless and flavourless, and some crab jalapeno poppers which were great in a guilty pleasure sorta way. I thought the fried chicken (on previous visit) was pretty good, but nothing fantastic. Their lobster burrito is great. Ribs are decent. I want to go back this weekend and finally try their oyster poboy. I doubt it'll hold up to a real Louisiana poboy, but I've been thinking about it all week.

                                                                              The shitty 80s music and lynyrd skynyrd makes me wanna catch a cab in the opposite direction though! On the plus side, the young looking French server in tiny ass shorts with torn fishnets and piercings kept me around longer than I otherwise would've stayed. I wish they'd turn the volume knob all the way down... or get some taste!

                                                                              1. re: OliverB

                                                                                the young looking French server in tiny ass shorts with torn fishnets and piercings kept me around longer
                                                                                -like

                                                                            2. Does anybody know if they open for lunch yet?

                                                                              I'm having trouble finding info on their hours.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: TheSnowpea

                                                                                I dont think they are! Nonetheless, good bbq spot, good atmosphere and good times!

                                                                                1. re: Charles_O

                                                                                  Oh, yeah, they were closed when we showed up for my b-day lunch! :-p Alas and alack!

                                                                                  But we rallied quickly and headed for Réservoir, which turned out quite nicely.