group opinion of Le Bremner
We will be in Montreal one night at the beginning and end of a trip to Quebec City. I was all prepared to try for a reservation at Garde Manger, but my first night is a Monday and discovered they aren't open. I was able to get a reservation at their sister location called Le Bremner. Is this a good second option or would I be better off with a different restaurant? Will be with another coupld for their first trip to Montreal. Also, I really do love au pied cochon for the end of the trip, but maybe there is a new great restaurant I don't know about.
Bremner has a bit more ocean-oriented menu, and I think is a bit less raucous (at least later at night). I imagine you'll be just as happy there - its much, much newer and has received much less press than Garde, so it is not so dominated by trendsters and tourists.
Its also important to consider that almost all upscale restaurants in Montreal are closed on Mondays, so your alternatives are limited. If you're worried about Bremner, check out Trois Petit Bouchons, Laloux, Lemeac, and Pintxo, which are open, though these are all traditional Bistros, while the Chuck Hughes restos and Pied de Cochon are not that at all.
I dont know if I would go to Bremner if it was my only meal to be had in Montreal, it is not fancy, is in a basement, portions are not large. Many selections were raw fish which we do not eat. Montreal is not the place to come for just fish as we are so far from the ocean. I did enjoy my meal there-as an evening out it was interesting but depends on your expectations. What kind of food, experience are you looking for.
Mondays are a problem as not only are many restos closed but it is often the night off for the regular chef.
I think its worth noting that Bremner is one of the few places in the city (also le Filet, Salle a Manger, PDC, Joe Beef) that does a great job of sourcing fish/seafood (although in Winter this can be even more difficult). Its not from sea to plate within hours, but as far as I know they fly most stuff in fresh and in season, so whether Montreal is 100 or 1000km from the sea shouldn't make a tremendous difference in the case of these restaurants.
Experienced Bremner a few months ago however I was extremely disappointed with food.
Overpriced, small portions and flavor is nowhere near GM.
From my recollection we had the lobster parfait...not at all parfait...served in a tall glass lots of iceberg lettuce and small lobster claw portion with 1 cube of avocado!!!
Had the kimchee snowcrab which was good
But the rest was nothing special hence why I do not remember the three other plates.
We skipped dessert there since we were very disappointed with our meal and headed to GM for a deep fried mars bar with ice cream!
Here is an older thread with a couple of reviews (one of them mine) of Bremner.
The short version of my review - Garde Manger is much better. It was good, but I would certainly not pick it as a destination restaurant. If Garde Manger is closed, I would go to DNA, Kitchenette, or Joe Beef (very expensive, FYI) over Bremner instead.
And this from a huge Chuck fan.
Comptoir Charcuterie is open on mondays - that place is really good + nice fun ambiance. would go there in a heartbeat instead of Bremner...
I went to Le Bremner with a group of friends a few months back, and had one of my favourite meals of 2011 there. And I actually did not order any seafood, although others in my group did. I had the small steak frites, and the rapini with egg and anchovy, and really enjoyed them both. Portions are just big enough that two dishes and a dessert will leave you feeling nicely full, but not overly stuffed, IIRC (we ordered a few desserts for everyone to share). Service was very good, staff were friendly, and I will definitely be going back. For a Monday night, it's a good choice, although Fintastic's suggestions below are also solid.