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Le Comme Chez Soi, 5386 St-Laurent

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We went to eat there last night and since Le Comme Chez Soi hasn't gotten much press on the board here, since their move to Saint Laurent, I thought i would report back, especially since it wasn't a particularly good or enjoyable meal. I hope I might be able to save one person an unpleasant experience.

We arrived at about 9 o'clock, the restaurant was half full, and as a consequence boisterous, in a good way. As it is a very casual restaurant, once we caught the waitress' eye we sat ourselves. And then things started to go downhill, in a very slow-motion manner (does anyone remember the film "Aloha Bobby and Rose"? Kind of like the car crash in it). As we sat down I realized that the table hadn't been wiped of crumbs from the previous patrons. No big deal, I can wipe them myself. Mistake number one.

So we sit down, and wait, and chat, and wait, and chat some more, and wait some more and chat some more, finally we run out of things to chat about, so we wait some more. It's at about this time I realize that the iPod is playing Creedence Clearwater Revival and I regret never having had the opportunity to see them (or John Fogarty) live. Mistake number two.

Finally the waitress comes over, after about a 15 minute wait. We ask for menus, she says that they don't have any menus and proceeds to list the menu (three types of cheeseburgers, a lasagna and kidneys) and then points us to a chalkboard that lists (with details that she failed to mention) the three cheeseburgers.

As she proceeds to leave our table, I stop her by asking if we can get some drinks. I inquire as to bourbon and she isn't sure if they have any, and I then ask about white wine, she says they have a "house white" and a Chardonnay. Again, without any details like who, where, or what. I figure that it will be easier to go with the white wine as does my consort. Mistake number three.

Not quite a big mistake, but at this point the little mistakes are starting to pile up, because the waitress does return promptly with two glasses of white wine, and asks us for our order, I go for the "Bavarois" (sauerkraut, bacon and brie, I think, it might have been some other not quite strong enough cheese) and my confederate orders the burger with "Roquefort and Bacon." She leaves, I mention how happy I was that we were able to get our order in before the table of six that entered right after us (despite running out of things to chat about earlier, we were able to continue the conversation) and then take a sip of wine and discover that it just so happen to be at room temperature. Mmmmm.

I start to contemplate asking for an ice cube, but the waitress is nowhere to be seen, and then when she does appear, it's in the back, and she doesn't even so much glance in our direction.

I had asked for my burger rare, and had been told that it couldn't be cooked that way - and I should also mention that all of their burgers are bison burgers, although there is apparently a vegetarian burger. In passing, the lasagna was also apparently a bison lasagna, who would have ever thought to make a bison lasagna? I also noticed that there were no prices written down anywhere. Mistake number four.

And then we proceed to wait some more, and some more, and some more, and some more, and some more, and some more, and some more, and some more, and some more, and some more, and some more. (Man! how I love copy paste!) The conversation never lagged, this time, because anytime we finished a topic, we were always able to make comments and guess as to what was happening in the kitchen, or when the waitress had been last seen. Ultimately it took 50 minutes for our burgers to arrive, and as I mentioned to the waitress as she was serving us - "It's a good thing I didn't ask for it well-done." Mistake number five.

The burger came with a small green salad, some fries and a ramekin of ketchup. I tasted one fry and it was tepid, limp and mealy. I thought to myself, that's ok. I didn't come for the fries. And then I bite into the burger, and that was the final mistake.

The burger, too, was tepid. It also was over cooked (even in the dim light I could see it was a very depressing and uniform grey color throughout). Whatever taste there had been initially had been replaced by that of Hilroy #5 lined paper from those schoolbooks you need in grade three (the only paper I have ever eaten in my life) although given the thickness of the burger I'm tempted to say it tasted like cardboard - but until I taste cardboard I can't be certain - and I'm not real keen on tasting cardboard just yet. Thanks.

On the bright side, the sauerkraut was quite tasty, as was the bacon. The cheese got lost someplace. And the bun was a day old (although as it was now after 10 o'clock I'm inclined to cut someone some slack here) supermarket type, ostensibly fluffy, but now more spongy, processed white flour large dinner roll, type of bun.

After taking a second bite of the meat to make sure of my first impressions, I then decided that a sauerkraut, cheese and bacon sandwich on a stale dinner roll was going to be a far better choice than my burger. So I scraped the burger off, and in the process it fell apart in four pieces. So I ate my sandwich, and then the salad - the salad was nondescript, and thankfully wasn't swimming in dressing. Kind of like one of those prepared salads you'd get at Provigo with a salad dressing that was one small step above Kraft Italian.

My sidekick, being hungrier than I was, didn't complain about her cheeseburger, commented on how the Roquefort was quite "Roquefort-y" and that her burger was, while not bad, nothing worth writing home about, and then proceeded to eat it. All.

The waitress came by and inquired as to what we thought of our meals, and I told her mine was bad. She apologized and walked away. She didn't ask as to what the problem was, nor if there was anything that could be done to make the situation better. Although she did ask if I wanted another glass of wine, which I politely refused.

Once we were done, we were told that we should pay at the counter up front, and were presented with a bill that was $47.85! I figured for two overdone bison burgers and warm glasses of wine, $28 +tax would have been acceptable (figuring $9 burgers, $5 wines) But in fact Le Comme Chez Soi thought it better to charge $13 for their burgers, and $8 for a glass of their wine (which on the bill is labelled as "Eola Glass" which leads me to this bottle of wine which the SAQ http://www.saq.com/webapp/wcs/stores/... sells for $19, or a 250% markup). All of which, with the $2.10 GST and $3.75 QST made it $47.85, or in plainer and simpler language, far to freakin' much.

I'm never going there again, and while I won't go so far as to counsel you not to go, if you do, be aware.

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  1. Woah, I'm surprised you didn't walk out before that (mind you, we can be too patient sometimes -- you can always read my own Bleu Raisin review).

    You may not counsel to avoid Comme Chez Soi, but frankly, your review has convinced me to give it a Very Wide Berth. There ase so many good places in Montreal to enjoy!

    1. What an awful experience you had!

      I had heard very mixed things about this place. But I went for lunch last week. WONDERFUL ambiance, and my bison burger (the same Bavarois as yours, although mine was with good strong cheddar) was one of the very best burgers i've had in Montreal. Ranking with the Sparrow/Lawrence, Paryse, Burger de Ville, etc.

      so um... YMMV!

      -----
      Burger de Ville
      5282 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC , CA

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