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mediocre to acceptable low key places to eat

Ghostquatre Aug 18, 2013 09:43 AM

I wrote mediocre to acceptable in the title because if they food was better than average/very good, place probably wouldn't be low key at all.
I'm mostly looking for a place with no hype, but I guess asking on here would defeat the purpose...

I used to be extremely critical of the Plaza Cote-des-Neiges, the shawarma place had dry meat, the persian kebab place had dry meat and lukewarm sides, pita burger had bland everything (especially the fries), the defunct northern chinese place was dull, the defunct carribbean (Marrie's) was decent but microwaved, same with its replacement Village (Vallage?) Singapour. I've never tried the chinese and chinese-thai.
Recently I tried the sushi place Goong Sushi right next to Pita Burger, and I have to say I was quite satisfied. Better than Sushi Shop, and various non descript sushi places. It's nothing that really stands but still exceptional value that can't be beat if you are in the area.

Momoyama in the Carrefour Industrielle food court has nice Katsu plates with tempura veggies, rice, salad and miso soup for about 10 bucks.

The last 2 aren't exactly low key since they have been talked about quite a few times on here, but Nilufar is probably the last remaining true dirt cheap eat there is in Montreal. And Poutine Lafleur in verdun has had some positive vibes from people on here many times although I haven't been back in over a year now. Everytime I have tourists who want to try Poutine for the first time, I tell them to skip la Banquise to go to Poutine Lafleur instead (of course nobody ever does because Verdun sucks and the Plateau is prettier and more tourist friendly.)

  1. m
    marblebag Aug 23, 2013 01:47 PM

    Low key places - take 3

    Ruby Burma - I used to go to Ottawa for burmese food
    Pho Dakao - my favorite Pho place
    <unknown chinese name> on de la Gauchetiere, south side, east of St-Laurent - they serve a tiny selection of hong kong pastries but also has fruit flavored gelatin. Go for the lychee and honeydew!
    Gus - french canadian bistro

    3 Replies
    1. re: marblebag
      EaterBob Aug 23, 2013 07:34 PM

      By George I think you got it! Congrats.

      The <unknown chinese name> is called Sai Gwan and the address is 14 de la Gauchetiere E.

      And then just to fill in the blanks
      Pho Dakao, 360 Rue Jean Talon E
      Ruby Burma, 3685 St. Laurent
      Gus, 38 Beaubien E

      1. re: EaterBob
        lagatta Aug 23, 2013 08:23 PM

        Probably because I live nearby, but I don't see Gus, small as it is, as "low-key". It is always bustling with people.

        Trying to convince some friends to go to Ruby Burma, which is now BYOW and much more pleasant-looking.

        On the other hand, the Cambodian La Petite Mangue is no longer a BYOW, though they have a very affordable small wine list. http://lapetitemangue.com/files/Menu.pdf

        Pho Dakao is one of many small, basic Vietnamese restaurants radiating out from the hub of Jean-Talon and St-Denis. I've never been to that one.

        1. re: lagatta
          EaterBob Aug 23, 2013 09:27 PM

          Your definition of "low key" (and by extension, Marblebag's as well) are probably a fair bit away from Ghostquatre's. Hence the difficulty in naming places.

    2. e
      EaterBob Aug 20, 2013 05:45 PM

      Some other places that might fit your description

      Caravelle at 2020 University food court
      Dame Nature in the Gare Centrale food court
      Edo Japan in the Eaton Centre food court
      Medina in the Place de la Cathedral food court
      Nudo in the Eaton Centre food court
      Chez Victoire in the Banque Nationale food court
      Nacho Libre 913 Beaubien E
      Old Dublin 636 Cathcart
      Capri 2172 St Patrick
      Fino's 1616 Sherbrooke O
      Chez Rose 24 Pine E
      Il Pagliaccio 365 Laurier O
      Lucky's Resto Bar 6445 Monk
      Jacquie & France 4609 Bannantyne
      Bruno Brothers 1780 Dollard
      Budapest Roma 68 Duluth
      Cracovie 5349 Gatineau
      Le Contemporain 185 Ste-Catherine W

      1. g
        Ghostquatre Aug 20, 2013 03:02 PM

        welp, looks like this is gonna turn into another cheap eats thread......

        13 Replies
        1. re: Ghostquatre
          EaterBob Aug 20, 2013 03:31 PM

          If you don't want that to happen, then you're going to have to clarify your request.

          1. re: EaterBob
            Ghostquatre Aug 20, 2013 03:42 PM

            #mediocre #acceptable #lowkey
            >KAZU, arguably "the" restaurant of the hour with food that is way more than just "acceptable".

            Some of these places are low key for many people I guess and I can't expect that people will know which place I know well or not, but it just seems IMO that most places listed in this thread have food that is considered by chowhounders to be way better than just mediocre or acceptable, and if the food is actually mediocre, it's a place that most people know about IMO (e.g. Harmonie)

            From my own perspective, I would say that EaterBob's list is a lot closer to what i'm looking for than Marblebag's, but of course I understand that what is low key for some might not be as low key for others but c'mon, Kazu? Uniburger is not so low key I would think since it took over la Paryse's spot and is talked about a fair amount. Ethan is sorta in the same boat, but maybe a little moreunder the radar than Uniburger. Antep Kabab, I was always under the impression that it is one of the best middle easternsandwich place in Montreal along with Farhat and Abu Elias, but it hasn't been mntionned much a few years after it opened.

            1. re: Ghostquatre
              lagatta Aug 20, 2013 03:45 PM

              I'm mostly pissed off about Uniburger, because of my fond memories of la Paryse, but hadn't been back there for at least 10 years. I did pass by l'Anecdote, rather similar to feue la Paryse, and it is all spruced up in red and white, looking very nice, but I haven't been there for a long time either. Has anyone here?

              1. re: lagatta
                EaterBob Aug 20, 2013 03:52 PM

                You should give Uniburger a try. Their burgers aren't anything like La Parye's, but they are very good, in a California quick service style.

                If you (or anyone else) is looking for a burger to replace La Paryse, I'd suggest giving Les Belles Soeurs (2251 Marie-Anne E) a try. And it would also fit into what I *think* is Ghostquatre's concept of lowkey and acceptable.

              2. re: Ghostquatre
                twinkie83 Aug 20, 2013 04:07 PM

                yeah, uniburger is not low key at all considering it's right next to la distillerie which even suggest you go grab a burger from uni and come get a drink at their place

                1. re: Ghostquatre
                  marblebag Aug 21, 2013 09:50 AM

                  I do not understand your low key definition then because the under 10$ dishes at Kazu are low key compared to their 20$+ dishes.

                  Antep Kebab used to be much better when they were still making the pizza (boats) and sold their bread.

                  Ethan is low key because Keung Kee above or Bejing nearby has better food but prices start higher.

                  Uniburger is low key compared to Burger Bar or M:brgr which offers more variety than "single or double".

                  1. re: marblebag
                    catroast Aug 21, 2013 09:54 AM

                    why compare uniburger to m:brgr - that makes no sense at all

                    as for antep, what does selling their bread to the public have to do with the quality of their sandwiches - which are still great?

                    1. re: marblebag
                      EaterBob Aug 21, 2013 10:05 AM

                      Marblebag, low key has nothing to do with prices. It refers more to the atmosphere and in this case I think Ghostquatre is also referring to how well known the restaurant is and whether it has been mentioned previously and/or recently here on Chowhound.

                      1. re: EaterBob
                        kpaxonite Aug 21, 2013 10:19 AM

                        It sounded to me like ghostsquare is looking for places that are cheap and serve pretty bad but passable food which really makes no sense to me as Id rather go someplace that serves great food if it is the same price; and there should be no surprise that many excellent value restaurants are mentioned here. If you read the OP it seems they are looking for place that have " dry meat, the persian kebab place had dry meat and lukewarm sides, pita burger had bland everything (especially the fries)". Altos in the mcgill ghetto is bland (especially the fries), maybe that would be a good start. Also for bland dry meat try amir on de maisoneuve..for places that reheat in the microwave try boustan...for passable sushi slightly better than sushi shop try sushi crescent.

                        1. re: kpaxonite
                          catroast Aug 21, 2013 10:26 AM

                          the amir on de maisonneuve is actually one of the better locations.

                        2. re: EaterBob
                          Ghostquatre Aug 21, 2013 12:35 PM

                          Eaterbob's right on the button. Most of the suggestions on his list have sparked my interest.

                          @kpaxonite: mediocre/acceptable but definitely not pretty bad. And I'm not looking for things that are like that passage you quoted, I'm looking for things that might seem like they are this bad but are actually decent/mediocre. I'm only suggesting that these places might be mediocre only because if they were so low key that they were never talked about much, I can't really expect that they would be great. Also I wouldn't consider Amir, Boustan and Sushi crescent to be "lowkey".
                          >which really makes no sense to me as Id rather go someplace that serves great food if it is the same price; and there should be no surprise that many excellent value restaurants are mentioned here
                          Well I want to try something different. I didn't want 3 posts about how Romados is great and good value (even though it hasn't been mentionned once, but with the way the thread's been going, it was about to happen)

                          Maybe this poor musical analogy would clarify things more if Eaterbob's explaination wasn't clear enough: Antep Kabab is/was Daft Punk and Amir is David Guetta. Neither are lowkey, and one of them is horrible.

                          1. re: Ghostquatre
                            kirkcoleman Sep 10, 2013 11:41 AM

                            Had Antep Kabab today -- agree not talked about and amazing! How about Momessos - guess not low key ?

                            1. re: kirkcoleman
                              Ghostquatre Sep 10, 2013 03:57 PM

                              Not that low key but still kinda.

                              Probably the best in the city for a hot steak sub. I've liked it very much the first time I tried it, but the subsequent times just felt sloppier and sloppier. . maybe my taste buds are evolving

                2. m
                  marblebag Aug 20, 2013 01:01 PM

                  My favorites for under 10$

                  Poulet Bronze, 2$ a piece + tax
                  Jade Garden steamed dumplings: up to 1$ a piece
                  Harmonie / Cocobun / Legende / forgot-name-but-in-same-stretch: Hong Kong sweet + savory pastries up to 2$ each
                  Uniburger: tastes like In'n'Out to me
                  Kazu: 24-hour pork bowl is still 9$, nabemono is 7$
                  Antep Kebab: pita sandwiches are 6$
                  Ethan chinese restaurant: I get a big rice noodle with shrimp and congee dishes
                  Thali (on St-Marc) dinners
                  Pho Tay Ho medium bowl of pho is 9$
                  Burrito Shop burritos skip the expensive optional toppings
                  Hung Phat - best banh mi in town, 3-4$
                  Mei Yuan - the real soup dumpling

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: marblebag
                    EaterBob Aug 20, 2013 03:27 PM

                    Poulet Bronze is now $2.25/piece

                  2. m
                    mikjomom44 Aug 19, 2013 09:25 AM

                    Thali on St-Marc (corner Ste-Catherine) has the best $5.00 lunch around. Either chicken tikka or lamb wrapped in a fresh naan with a slightly spicy, yogourty sauce. Delicious, cheap, filling. Their thali platters are also under $10 and are a great larger meal.

                    1. l
                      lagatta Aug 18, 2013 03:07 PM

                      Verdun "sucks" far less than it did ten or even five years ago. I wouldn't go to Poutine Lafleur simply because it is a chain, and since I live far closer to the Plateau than to Verdun I'd only head there either to see friends or colleagues there, or for a special restaurant (there is an Iranian byow that is tempting).

                      Lots of little hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese places around here (Petite-Patrie/Villeray) that would suit your needs.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: lagatta
                        EaterBob Aug 18, 2013 03:54 PM

                        Poutine Lafleur at 3665 Wellington has nothing to do with Restaurants D Lafleur, otherwise known as "Lafleur's" which is the chain of hot dog restaurants.

                        1. re: EaterBob
                          lagatta Aug 18, 2013 07:08 PM

                          Thanks, Eater Bob!

                          1. re: lagatta
                            EaterBob Aug 18, 2013 07:50 PM

                            You're welcome (and to be honest, Lafleur's the chain, isn't all that bad. I tend to regard it like Dic Ann's as a quirky regional chain that for the most part serves good food despite being a chain).

                            1. re: EaterBob
                              catroast Aug 18, 2013 08:10 PM

                              I disagree about Dic Ann's - it so sick

                              Is Chalet Oncle Jammal really any good?

                      2. e
                        EaterBob Aug 18, 2013 11:12 AM

                        It sounds like you are really seeking cheap but good places that haven't been talked about much. If that's the case then I suggest the following:

                        Chez Ma Tante, 4985 Dunn
                        Chalet Oncle Jamal, 6107 Sherbrooke O
                        DeliBee's, 24 Valois Bay
                        Fixe, 5985 St-Hubert
                        La Flammée, 3638 St Denis
                        Marchigiani, 1715 Thierry,
                        Chez Nouri, 10 de Pins O
                        Piesanna, 5300 Verdun
                        Poulet Bronze, 1622 Lincoln
                        Sheas, 1134 Ste Catherine O
                        Shi Tan, 1622 de Maisonneuve W
                        La Soupiere, 5th Floor The Bay
                        Tous les jours, 1689 Mont-Royal E

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: EaterBob
                          Ghostquatre Aug 19, 2013 09:06 AM

                          When I meant mediocre/acceptable, that's really what I meant, but good for me if it ends up being a low key place key that's actually more than acceptable. I've only been to Poulet Bronze from that list and I have to say it's more than just acceptable. I find it's oneof the best fried chicken in the city along with Dinette Triple Crown, whichis a different kind of fried chicken. Never tried Nouveau Palais and la Mauvaise reputation and I have no intention of trying Cafe Mardi Gras' and Ice House.

                          Also I believe Chalet Oncle Jamal is no more unless they just changed the name of that place. It's been called many things throughout the years I wonder if they actually changed owners, menu. Went past it plenty of times but never bothered going in. Maybe it could be another Nilufar experience!

                          1. re: EaterBob
                            Ghostquatre Aug 25, 2013 10:09 AM

                            Tried Shi Tang, I had no idea such a place existed, although I probably would have found out about it earlier if i like Northern Chinese food better. Portions were enormous. Food was tasty although too oily but I guess that comes with the territory. The woman behind the counter was helpful when I told her I couldn't read chinese. Also had a jian bing, it was ok.

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