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Oct 28, 2013 02:55 PM

Trip Report

First off, thanks to everyone who helped me with recommendations.

Au Pied de Cochon - This restaurant lived up to all the hype surrounding it and more. I was expecting this meal to be more like what we experienced at Joe Beef - pure gluttony without any finesse but I was proven wrong by a long shot. The duck carpaccio was probably the best carpaccio I have ever had - very beautifully plated and amazing tasting. The bison tartar tamaki hand roll is tied in top place as one of the two best hand rolls I have ever had. The duck in a can - now I expected the breast meat to be slightly tough and I was right - but the sauce that came along with it and the celeriac puree were mind blowing. We also ordered a side of the poutine which was very good. The dessert of pecan pie was also probably the best dessert we had the entire trip.

Kem Coba - They serve most delicious soft serve I have ever had - when we went it was strawberry and coconut milk swirl - amazing! (We revisited two or three times)

Kouign Amann - I have had more croissants and almonds croissants which are more decadent than the ones I had at Kouign Amann (which I think is the trend lately) but I prefer the subtlety of the flavouring of the croissants at Kouign Amann - sweet but not too sweet, decadent but not too decadent. Their Kouign Amann (their eponymous dessert) is also amazing - sweet, salty, caramelized layers of deliciousness - we went back for it two or three times.

Club Chasse et Peche - A bit more formal feeling than its sister restaurant Le Filet - the dark walls and rock-like passageways made it feel as if it was previously a dungeon. The food and service more than made up for the weird walls. Everything we had was executed perfectly - just very good food, cooked and seasoned perfectly.

Le Filet - Highlights - Squid ink spaghettini with seafood - one of the best pasta dishes I have ever had - and amazing considering I have been to many amazing Italian restaurants. Hon Shimeji, truffle oil, oyster cream grilled oysters - very, very delicious. The pork flank with the seared oysters and polenta was also very rich and delicious. The maple syrup square was another hit - it reminded me quite a bit of the pecan pie at APDC.

L'Express - Highlight - Beef tartar. It was too much for one person - almost the size of a softball - but delicious and we finished it all.

Bouillion Bilk - Really good modern food and flavours. Highlights - Tomato, Burrata and Fried Zucchini flower appetizer. Guinea fowl with beets and vadouvan.

Romados - I didn't think I would be impressed by this place but I am glad I went. I knew I was going to love it once I arrived because I could see them cooking their rotisserie chicken over REAL coal. I was really impressed by the amount of effort put into making this delicious chicken. A real gem.

Damas - Delicious middle eastern food, all the dips were made as perfectly as I have ever had or better. The fattoush salad was a bit on the acidic side but a small complaint. The biggest problem with this restaurant is the price - probably the most expensive middle eastern restaurant I have ever been to (most middle eastern restaurants are priced quite reasonably)

Lawrence - Quite good. Great or worth a wait? maybe not. It seems like many of the decent brunch places I've been to.

Joe Beef - After having been blown away by Au pied de Cochon I was less than amazed by Joe Beef. The sauce for the lobster pasta was too creamy and thick - not very appetizing. The dessert was also quite a let down - a multi-layered cake that was dry and just mediocre.

Olive + Gourmando - This small and cute cafe bakery was the busiest I have ever been to. You could barely walk around in there. I ordered a grilled mango avocado blackened chicken sandwich; sadly, it was pregrilled and cold - this is what happens when restaurants get too busy. I had a look at the pastry section too and was not excited by anything I saw.

Les 400 Coups - We went here for a dessert tasting and tried all three of their offerings for the night. Beautiful restaurant. Good service. Beautifully plated desserts. The flavours in the desserts were quite weak though. Out of all the flavours (there were atleast 10+) in all the desserts only one stood out enough (a melon flavoured sorbet) to make any impression on us.

Camellia Sinensis - Really amazing tea shop. Montrealers are so lucky to have this place. I think we bought at least 8 teas from here.

Le Petit Alep - Just okay. Not horrible but just not somewhere I was excited by. The lentil soup was good.

Kazu - Probably the biggest disappointment. The food wasn't horrible but considering the hype and the wait at the door, I was really disappointed. The food was just okay.

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  1. Thanks for the report. Will be helpful for my trip. What did you eat at Lawrence? How expensive was Damas? I plan on going there but there are no prices on their website.

    I think you may have convinced me to add Kouign Amann for their signature dessert based on your description!

    4 Replies
    1. re: TeacherFoodie

      Damas - I can't recall exactly how much they were but I remember everything being about twice as expensive I would expect even at a nicer middle eastern restaurant. I still liked it but we had to go with a set menu which seemed more reasonably priced for about $55 per person (plus tax and gratuity) and included something like 8 appetizers, 1 salad, 1 main, 1 dessert. (I am not 100% sure on the specifics)

      I had the kedgeree at Lawrence, which was interesting and I liked it but it wasn't any more special than many other things I have eaten. The food my wife and friends ordered also looked like typical brunch offerings. The restaurant itself is nice though and the food is made well.

      1. re: quddous

        I was having a similar discussion about Lawrence with my dining partner while we had brunch at the spectacular EVOO yesterday. Although I really love Lawrence and their staff, in recent months I find myself drawn much more by their dinner menus and a bit less by their brunches. This is partly because its so busy on weekend afternoons, but primarily because their dinner menu is so interesting (and constantly changing). I've found the brunch-time offerings haven't varied much recently. But I guess if it aint broke...

        It's too bad about your experience at Kazu. Were you there at lunch or dinner? And what did you order? I really prefer their evening dishes, while lunch is pretty standard fare. The ramen, for example, is better than many Japanese restaurants, but not as exceptional as some of their other dinner plates.

        Great report though! Glad you enjoyed your trip!

        1. re: Fintastic

          We went to Kazu for lunch. My friend who lives in Montreal said the same thing about preferring dinner over lunch and that lunch is pretty standard fare. I may have made the wrong choice there.

          The dishes we had were the ramen and the 48 hour pork. Knowing that the chef worked at Toque, I was expecting a bit of french cooking technique, precision and extra effort to elevate the dishes above and beyond what is normal and typical. I wouldn't say either dish was bad, they were okay to good but I was expecting something at least as good if not better than the standard izakaya fare we would get in Vancouver.

          I would recommend trying ramen at Santouka (LA, Vancouver, New Jersey) or Ippudo (Manhattan) if you are ever near either of those two and craving ramen. Those are as close as I have had to the ramen I have experienced in Japan.

          1. re: quddous

            Although both of those dishes are good, unfortunately I'd say they're perhaps the two least interesting options at Kazu. There's definitely comparable ramen readily available in Vancouver, NYC, and Toronto for equal or lesser price.

            If you're ever back I think Kazou's creativity is on better display in dishes like the pork cheek, octopus, and many of the pricier fish mains (i.e. sea bass).

    2. When were you there? Sadly Kem CoBa was closed for the season when we went on Thanksgiving weekend. I want to try their soft serve. I have heard about a Quebec honey and blueberry falvour that is supposed to be outstanding.

      5 Replies
      1. re: elasticwaistband

        We got there the week before they closed "for the season". They said they will be closed for two months (at least that is what I heard). It really is fantastic.

          1. re: elasticwaistband

            It really is a must. We were only able to try the stawberry + coconut soft serve as they only change their soft serve flavours every two weeks. I think the other two flavour combinations I saw pictures of were peanut butter + raspberry and cinnamon + apple, both of which sound amazing.

        1. re: elasticwaistband

          It is true! The blueberry honey is by far the best soft serve I have ever tasted. Both flavours worked so well together, couldn't get enough of it.

          1. re: causeimhungry

            Sorry, the best is the sour cherry and almond milk. My favourite by far. Followed closely by raspberry and dark chocolate. But really, all of their soft serve flavours are indeed amazing.

        2. Great report. FYI, I'm pretty sure that the mango chicken sandwich at O&G is always served cold.

          1. Too bad you didn't try any baked goods at Olive + Gourmando because they are really good. Some of the best in the city. As for the sandwich, well you ordered from the cold sandwich menu, so that's what you got, but it was probably only written in french...

            1 Reply
            1. re: Glaff

              I didn't realize it was supposed to be a cold sandwich. I would have preferred it warm anyhow. I will try the pastries next time I am in town.

            2. Nice report!!!