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Chu Chai

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Has Chu Chai been closed for the last few months? Are they set to reopen any time soon?
I've been trying to make reservations for the past few days to no avail and through my online searches have found a few posts mentioning that they may be closed...Has anyone been in the area lately to confirm?

Thanks!

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  1. Their website says they were closed for the winter (even though I last ate there late January) but no word on when they are re-opening. I hope it's soon too!

    1. When I walked past two nights ago, the paper was still up. No date mentioned on the door for when they'll reopen.

      1. I walked by yesterday and it was still papered up. There's a nice Taiwanese vegetarian place around the corner you could try in the meantime, Su Shian Yuang.

        1. Does anyone know if they're still closed? Would like to try them out on an upcoming trip. Thnx.

          4 Replies
          1. re: clarasev

            yes, still closed

            1. re: catroast

              Thanks. :( Is there an opening date?

              1. re: clarasev

                not that i know of - perhaps they have twitter?

                1. re: catroast

                  Not that I know of, but if someone knows differently, please share. And of course there's no answering machine/message when you call them. Thanks anyways!

          2. According to this site www.montrealinfo.com, Chu Chai has reopened with a new menu. Chuch will reopen soon as well.

            1. Chuch Bistro update:

              We went there for our annual anniversary meal this past Saturday. They've definitely stepped up their game: gone are the deli counters for takeaway, gone is the extensive menu, and most definitely gone is the BYOW option.

              We were handed a slender slip of paper with a variety of "tapas" options. Instead of being pretty much Asian, they've extended it out to takes on Italian, some Spanish influences, and a variety of "poutines." On the back of the menu are more familiar Chuch dishes.

              I ordered fried shiitake mushrooms with sesame and fried basil for my starter. My husband just went with spring rolls. The spring rolls were fine, but my mushroom starter was pretty fantastic. Meaty strips of breaded crisp mushrooms in light spicy sauce generously flecked with sesame seeds and complemented by the fried basil. We agreed it was the winner of the two.

              For the main, I went with the "duck" salad w/chillies and mint, and my husband decided to try the "duck" poutine w/red curry sauce. Mine was pretty good, very spicy and yet cooling with the cucumber and mint. My husband's was...weird. It was a pile of only okay fried french fries with the shredded "duck" and red curry sauce. I have no idea what about this dish was supposed to represent poutine. He liked it fine but wouldn't order it again.

              Despite all the changes, they were still doing pretty brisk business. It was a full restaurant by the time we left.

              And while we liked our meal, I have to say I am very disappointed with them no longer allowing BYOW. Their wine list isn't great and is, IMHO, way overpriced. (Oh, they also offer beer and cocktails.) They haven't updated their website in a long time so I had no idea that they no longer allowed you to bring wine. Since this was an anniversary dinner for us, we had brought a very nice bottle to have with our meal and the waitstaff was unapologetic regarding the new policy. (A nearby table of four was taken aback by this as well, as another pair of diners who came in a few minutes after us.) Apparently you can bring your own wine if you have some sort of special coupon (???).

              I'm disappointed overall because Chuch was a pretty nice fairly affordable night out and now with the loss of the BYOW license (their words, not mine), it becomes a bit more expensive than I'd like. I'll continue to go for special occasions, but now will have to factor in the cost of alcohol in the bill.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Peaches to Poutine

                Does this mean that there is no longer two different sides to the restaurant? It's all just one venue now? Sad to hear it is no longer BYOW. Indeed it used to be one of the better places for those on a budget.

                Wow, it seems everywhere is trying to cash in on the marketable nature of "poutine" by just referring to any dish with french fries as "poutine." It seems the dish has fallen prey to the same kind of uber cheesy-Canadian marketing gimmick that tries to make us feel special for eating a Tim Horton's donut. It kind of irks me.

                1. re: foodinspace

                  No, there are still two sides, but the more casual side is a little less casual and going for more of the "bistro" aspect now.

                2. re: Peaches to Poutine

                  Speaking of Chuch Bistro, there's a vernissage there on Thursday night:
                  https://www.facebook.com/events/50990...

                  1. re: Shattered

                    The art is way too reminiscent (for me, a girl from the ATL), of http://www.rlandart.com/.

                    Still...better.

                    1. re: Peaches to Poutine

                      Similar, but En Masse is a loose collective of a bunch of different artists who only work in black and white, and whose art is a collaborative effort.

                      You can see examples of their work at Espace Go, Divan Orange, Musique Plus, Le Petit Hôtel and the education department of the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal.

                3. I recently returned to Chu Chai (not Chuch Bistro, as @Peaches to Poutine). I had only been there once before.

                  The first time I went there, I was with a group of people – going there was not my option, and I did not know what to expect. As far as I remember, I was really impressed with the appetizers: they were bite-sized portions full of flavour, very creative. If I’m not wrong, my table ordered something like a tasting of appetizers: we had many options from which to choose. For my main, I had the mock duck red curry, which did not impress me: the curry was not that good, and the mock meat, if you’re not a vegetarian (I’m not), doesn’t pass for the real deal. In a sense, it just felt like eating third-rate duck – and not a very good one at that.

                  My most recent impression wasn’t different by much: except for a couple of new minuses. First, there didn’t seem to be a tasting of appetizers on the menu; and, since each appetizer was expensive enough, especially given their size, I limited myself to just one. Still, it was excellent: I had the bouchées cinq saveurs, small leaves topped with coconut, ginger, lime and a nut. It was so fresh, so flavourful – if only everything else on their menu were like that… I also tried my friend’s soy croquettes: good, but not surprising; still, much better than the mains that followed.

                  So, what I think has changed in the new Chu Chai is that the menu is shorter and more expensive. (I could be wrong on both counts; the first time I went there is long gone.) I mean, they were offering a table d’hôte for two (admittedly, with cocktails) for a hundred freaking dollars. That is shocking: I consider Chu to be at the same level as, say, Wok du Chef. I don’t know anybody who’d pay that price for dining there.

                  I suppose Chu can get away with it because it is one of the few vegan restaurants in town (a well-located one at that). I remember seeing people on this board saying Chu is the most proper place for a proper vegan dinner, on account that they have tablecloths, or some such. (Not that it matters, but the napkins were paper; more importantly, the service was inattentive and clumsy.) As far as Chu has this undeserved reputation, I guess they’ll be able to get away with these prices. As far as I’m concerned, though, I have much more sympathy for the food and the people at Su Shian Yuang, a couple of blocks from Chu. And, as far as a fine vegan dining is concerned, I’d stick with Crudessence any time. (Then again, I’m not one to care about tablecloths, or things like that.)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: luism

                    Again, as much I'm disappointed by the changes to both sides, it would be really nice if they could update their website so as to ensure no nasty surprises for people going out for a nice night.