stevenmansour's Profile

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Blair's Death Rain chips in Saskatoon?

Found them at Cabela's, now that they've opened...

The Woods Alehouse dowtown on 2nd in Saskatoon

Was wondering what other folks thought of the woods alehouse on 2nd. I've been there a couple of times, specifically because they have one of my all-time favourite beers (Delirium Tremens) on tap (though they were out last time I went).

First time had the Ratatouille which was good if slightly drier than it should've been. Waitress was kind and accommodating.

Second time had the eggplant open-face sandwich and cream of asparagus soup, both very good. Average priced at $13 for the combo. A pint of Delirium is less reasonably at $13 (!) - it's about half that in Montreal where I'm from.

I do like the place though and will probably be back; anything else to recommend trying?

Blair's Death Rain chips in Saskatoon?

Hello, I'm wondering if anyone knows where to find Blair's Death Rain chips in Saskatoon - in Toronto they have them at Bass Pro Mills and other non-supermarket locations.

Thanks!

BORGATA WEDDING AND EVENT VENUE

I booked my wedding there (350 - 450 people) for next year. It's been difficult securing a location with a decent price that will accommodate that many people. We visited a few places that we liked in the area but there was either a potential issue with flexible capacity or with staffing.

The reviews are good but for some reason few banquet halls have negative reviews. They are part of a larger entity (Hospitality and Beyond), which made us feel more comfortable, the hall is elegant and chic without being gaudy, and we liked their choices for the menus and the professional service we were treated to (we spoke with Marco). He helped us build our own menu which came to more than their listed prices, but included all the things we wanted. We can also change it as the wedding date approaches.

I'm hoping to go in for a tasting in the coming months, but I'm not worried about the food based on the reviews I've read online and the scope of events they usually hold there.

North Banquet Hall Recommendations

Hello T.O. Chowhounders,

I'm looking for banquet hall food reviews in your fair city - please help my wedding food selection avoid becoming an unmitigated train wreck. I am a Montreal expat living in Saskatoon and getting married in Toronto next year. Good times.

Because of where my fiancée lives (Vaughan) and the size of our wedding (~400!), we're pretty much limited methinks to the banquet halls in the area. This will be a culturally mixed Assyrian-Iraqi and Québécois-American wedding, our budget per person is not very high due the huge number of attendees, and we are fully aware that we can't make everyone happy.

Of the many halls we visited, Supreme Banquet Centre, La Borgata and The Avenue are the ones we felt provided the best service with the nicest facilities and most reasonable prices. More importantly, we felt comfortable that they could tailor a Middle Eastern / Mediterranean / Continental menu to suit everyone without it turning into a flavor fiasco. Antipasto, Hors d'oeuvres, pasta, kebobs + rice or biryani, taboulé, hummus, etc.

We are going to be choosing one over the next week. I can go into more details about what we're getting at each one, but it's all fairly similar. Has anyone been to an event at Supreme, Borgata or The Avenue? How was the food?

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La Borgata
8400 Jane St, Vaughan, ON L4K 4L8, CA

The Avenue Banquets
1600 Steeles Ave W, Vaughan, ON L4K 4M2, CA

Spiciest restaurant in Montreal???

Not sure what all the fuss about Cuisine Szechuan's spiciness is. Great food, but I've had plenty of their spicier fair (including the aforementioned Beef in Water and the Cucumber+jelly salad, as well as the spicy dumplings), ordered "extra extra extra extra spicy", and really didn't feel much heat at all.

Cuisine Bangkok, on the other hand, is hellish-spicy when you ask for it (though inconsistent and dependent who's working the kitchen at the time). 4X on either the rice dishes (where they use those cut-up pieces of green pepper, whose juices get soaked up by the rice and veggies) or the pad thai (blended into the sauce / oils) is, imho, far spicier than anything served at Szechuan.

I've also had positive spice-inspired visions with the haleem at Moti Mehal, Balti at Shahi Palace, and the Vindaloo at Tandoori Xpress.

Have yet to try Om, but am curious about how spicy they'll make it.

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Shahi Palace Restaurant
4773 Boul Des Sources, Pierrefonds, QC H8Y3C6, CA

Moti Mehal
1024 Rue Jean-Talon Ouest, Montreal, QC H3N, CA

Le Boucan

Went last night with 3 friends around 8pm. Was fairly busy for a Thursday night, but we had made reservations and got the nice booth next to the windows.

We ended up getting 2 Pit Boss platters (half-portion of ribs, half-chicken, small bowl of pulled pork, fries, coleslaw, potato salad), and one extra side of Mac and Cheese. The ribs were very good, coated in a sweet, molasses-like, slightly spicy sauce, perfectly cooked (requires slight effort to get-off-the-bone). The pulled pork was also very, very good (possibly as good as what Sparrow served once upon a time). However, it came without any bread so we asked for some rolls. Instead we got spread-open hot dog bread, toasted on the grill. We were a bit apprehensive about it, but stuff with pulled pork and coleslaw, topped off with more of their very good sauce, it made for a pulled-pork sandwich / dog that was extremely tasty.

The chicken was good too, although I have trouble differentiating between BBQ chickens in this city; to me they're either all OK or "Horrible". So, this one was well-cooked, tender and juicy, made better by the crispy skin and liberal dollops of sauce.

It was a bit pricier than I would've liked (the pit boss platter for 2 was $42, and I'd like to see it include more pulled pork and ribs and less chicken). A pint of Rickard's Red was $7 IIRC, which is also on the high end of the spectrum.

For dessert we split the bacon brownie and the buttermilk pie, both served with ice cream. Bacon brownie was interesting but I agree with what was written above in terms of it being more of a novelty, and the buttermilk pie was good, though small for the place.

I'll go back to get my BBQ fix once in a while, as the ribs rival anything else I've had in Montreal restos, and the pulled pork on its own is a much better deal than in the combo dishes (a more-reasonable $13, I believe). On the one hand they could stand to lower their prices and increase the portion size, but considering how busy the resto still is, perhaps that wouldn't make sense for them.

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Le Boucan
1886 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Montreal, QC H3J 2P2, CA

Any good Indian buffets downtownish?

The only edible - actually quite good - Indian buffet I know of is Tandoori Palace in Laval on Cartier. $9.99 Lunch and the ingredients are fresh and flavourful as far as buffets go.

Cheap eats in Laval?

I've been to both locations and they are both very good. Anything with lamb is a great bet, although the filet mignon kebab is very good too.

Think somewhere in between Middle Eastern fare and Indian food.

CAFÉ SOUFFLÉ: Awesome new (/ inexpensive) cafe on Marianne and St. Urbain

Did you notice if they have wi-fi?

Masala Mantram is now Tandoori Palace

Gah, my bad - missed that thread - although the menu hasn't been dropped as they seemed to mention in the thread, I asked if they still carried balti and the owner said yes (which they didn't at TX). Either way, except for the Balti, mainly, I largely preferred the food at Tandoori Xpress, so the fact that it's now a 5 minute walk from my place is a good thing.

Masala Mantram is now Tandoori Palace

I recently learned that Masala Mantram, the Indian-Pakistani place in Chomedey, has become Tandoori Palace, either bought by / partnered with Tandoori Xpress further east.

I knew that Tandoori Xpress was opening a new location here, but I didn't know it was Masala Mantram. We called Tandoori Xpress for an order last night (butter chicken, Vindaloo Shrimp and gobi aloo) and after taking my address down he told me to call another number, which I knew (from memory, I order from both joints alot. :) ) was MM's number. Driving by there today I saw that the sign out front had changed too.

Hopefully, the menus were merged in such a way that you can now get the best things from MM (balti, garlic naan, etc) and TX (butter chicken, tandoori vegetables, etc) from either place. I'll try and post a follow-up later on this week.

Délices de l'Ile Maurice

Fantastic review - you've piqued my curiosity. I'm totally in!

Rolling the dice at Bangkok

I know about the initial wok seasoning. In retrospect I shouldn't have used that word... I can swear, though, that the dishes I get from CB later in the day tend to be "punchier" than the ones I get when they first open, much like a pizza oven gets better as the night goes on: http://www.chow.com/videos/obsessives... .

I also tried to answer your other question but the moderators deemed it against the forum rules. ;)

Rolling the dice at Bangkok

I got used to going after the lunch hour or dinner rushes during the week, because a) there was less confusion in the line-up, and b) the woks are already seasoned for the day, which meant that everything is considerably more flavourful than when I'd get the same order during lunch or off-hours.

I guess I've had good luck with consistency - I tend to stick to the curries, satays and seafood dishes (I just don't like Pad Thai), and the only problems I've ever had are related to the spice level. Sometimes I'll get an XX and other times an XXXX, and it would seem like the two are interchangeable depending on who's serving.

I've never had problems with the service either - the girls would always smile at me. ;)

Sports bar with good food, late kitchen to watch the fight this Saturday: Impossible?

Thanks bigfellow and kdas. I will call the Dominion Pub to see if they'll be showing the fight. Station des Sports I've been subjected to before, and will be a last resort because of the hotel crowd and bar food, but I may well end up there if there's no other option.

Sports bar with good food, late kitchen to watch the fight this Saturday: Impossible?

I searched a bit - and Montreal isn't a sports bar type of city, obviously - but are there any decent dives (preferably downtown or on the plateau, but elsewhere is cool if it's worth it) where they'll probably have the UFC fight showing this Saturday night? I know Le Skratch will have it but the food there is terrible, and I *think* I remember the waiter at the Burgundy Lion saying it'll be on - except that the annoying-person-noise-to-TV-sound ratio is a bit too high there, and you can't see the TV from all seats of the bar.

Anywhere else people can recommend?

Masala Mantram in Laval - quick review

SD - I'm near Daniel-Johnson and Cartier, very close to MM. For most of the dishes I prefer, I still like the variations at TX - butter chicken, tandoori vegetables, palaak paneer, korma, etc.

I love the balti at MM (which TX doesn't carry), their garlic naan, as well as some other items they do particularly well. One thing's for sure - I feel pretty lucky to live in between these two places so that I can have the best of both worlds. :)

Now that I've tried Moti Mehal (and Shahi Palace) recently, my short-list for great Indian and Pakistani food is getting not so short.

Good news for Montreal chiliheads! Cuisine Szechuan

Went back again last night as well (perfect food for the weather, as you mention...) Maybe we crossed paths!

It is still cash-only, as that sign has been on the door since they opened.

Good news for Montreal chiliheads! Cuisine Szechuan

Just went here a couple nights ago with a friend based on these recommendations. Wow. Service seemed a tad slow (they were very busy, with mostly asian customers - a good sign), but friendly.

Had the broccoli in garlic sauce - very simple and straightforward, but good, not overcooked, perhaps a bit light on the garlic but I'm nitpicking here.

Also had (of course) the cumin beef - usually not cumin's biggest fan, but it was subdued enough (and the think strips of meat tender enough) to make me love this dish.

Finally, we got the Szechuan chicken with red peppers - this was the stand-out dish for me. The chicken was impossibly soft, tender and just totally imbued with the flavour from the surrounding broth and peppers. All this in a bed of sweet crispy spinach, which I'm a sucker for.

Oh, my friend also got this *amazing* mango bubble tea with little bits of, ummm, not tapioca, but some other delicious jelly-like thing. It was amazing.

Where can I find New York style Pizza

I've looked and looked as well - there's none to be had. You're in the wrong city for pizza, especially NY-style pizza (which is more about the layer of grease and the sharp pepperoni to me than anything else).

I've given up hope.

THIS IS GOING 2 B YUMMMY!!!!!!!!

Damn - and I always thought I was hearing "It's so cheap, you'll think you're *eating* pesos." My bad.

Masala Mantram in Laval - quick review

I have to admit, Hungryann, that I hadn't tried most of the dishes you mentioned, including the Mulligatawny, the samosas and the chutneys.

On the other hand, I am a *huge* fan of the Butter Chicken there, and it is still my favorite. It's actually very similar to the one at Bombay Mahal, but I find it somewhat richer and tastier. I like the sweetness and I feel that it's a necessary part of the butter chicken. On the other hand, I have some friends who would agree with you on that. At least we're fortunate enough to be able to get whichever kind we want!

I did have the vegetable curry there, and I admit that it's not one of the place's best dishes. The naan, like you said, is fabulous. I've never had bad Tandoori chicken there either, or a problem with yesterday's leftovers - and I'm quite picky about that stuff.

As for the service, I've always had a warm welcome there, though I've been a regular for ever. However, I haven't ever heard any of my friends complain about the service there on their first visits. Which hostess did you have, the petite young Afghan girl, or the middle aged lady?

I will agree that service at Masala Mantram is great, though, and the owner is super-friendly and helpful (much like the one at Shahi Palace).

StellasDad, I think we are crossing paths quite often, because I still drive the 15 minutes to TX despite living 2 minutes from MM!

Shahi Palace report

I should've been more clear: I meant the ingredients in general, as there is no Balti at TX.

Shahi Palace report

Tried out Shahi Palace a few days ago with a buddy and his wife, mostly based on the reviews on this board. We had a bit of trouble finding the place initially, since that block on Boulevard Des Sources is lined with 2 strip malls composed mainly of indian restaurants and shops, we didn't have the exact address handy, and none of us are accustomed to the 32-lane boulevards of the west island.

The interior, as mentioned before, is utilitarian at best. We were happy to walk in and find that most of the customers were mainly large South Asian families, which was reassuring. The host (who I assume is the owner) was jovial, friendly and funny, and made us feel very comfortable. We leafed through the menu and I decided on the Lamb Balti (to compare against Masala Mantram), with my friend opting for the butter chicken and his wife getting Chicken Tikka. The waiter was very young and didn't seem all that knowledgeable, but was very polite and accommodating.

Both of my friends - who are white - asked for their dishes "spicier", which seemed to surprise the host, as he informed them that those dishes are usually not served spicy (which they aren't), although he agreed to make them "a little spicier". When I asked for my Lamb Balti to be "balti-spicy", he gave me a knowing look and said something along the lines of "for you, I make it spicy". The whole scene was surreal and funny; if it had happened somewhere else it would've felt awkward, but because of his disposition it was actually quite a laugh. He then brought a whole pitcher of ice-cold water and placed it next to me...

We waited a fair bit for our food to arrive, which was strange because the restaurant wasn't very busy. But when it did arrive, oh boy, did we understand why. The Lamb Balti is *the best* Balti I've had outside of the U.K., and possibly rivaling the ones I'd had there, although memory may not serve me right since it was something like 3 years ago. It was, indeed, very spicy, but "spicy with a flavour", not just spicy for the sake of being hot. The quality, freshness and flavor of the ingredients in my dish were fantastic, and on par with Tandoori Xpress in Laval. The lamb was melt-in-your-mouth, with nary a gamey flavour to be had. Soaking up the remnants of the balti with the pillowy naan - again, a match for naan almost everywhere else I've tried in the city - and then chasing it down with some Raita and water, is one of my fondest food-memories from the past couple of weeks.

My friend's butter chicken, on the other hand, while still quite good, wasn't as much of a standout as at most other places we'd tried. It seemed too tomatoey, and just a little bland; it could have used just a little more sweetness. The friend's wife's Chicken Tikka was amazing, and in her words "the yummiest I've ever had". The chicken was tender, perfectly cooked, with consistent flavour. She's petite and usually a very light eater but managed to finish nearly everything on her plate.

The portions of rice and naan were very big, and the prices were on par with or lower than most other similar places. Although I've not been to most of the Indian / Pakistani restos in the area, Shahi Palace rates up there with Tandoori Xpress in my top 3. I do need to go back to Masala Mantram to try something else on their extensive menu, and I will definitely return to Shahi Palace to try the Mutton Palak, which has been raved about on this board.

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Shahi Palace Restaurant
4773 Boul Des Sources, Pierrefonds, QC H8Y3C6, CA

Masala Mantram in Laval - quick review

Based on recent recommendations here, my jonesing for a decent balti and the fact that it's a 5 minute walk from my place, I decided to try out Masala Mantram - here's how it went down.

It's in a slightly run-down part of Chomedey (right next to the Lachapelle bridge to Cartierville / Montreal), but the space inside is comfortable, warm and tastefully decorated. Really comfy chairs.

The 4 of us - 3 friends and a wife - went in on a Thursday around 6:30pm; the place was deserted except for one table of businessmen, and the friendly owner / manager was there at the front. We were seated immediately and brought menus. I noticed that the prices were ever-so-slightly more expensive than other similar joints I go to, but the choices were more extensive and I found myself looking at dishes I hadn't seen in a long time (or ever) - a good sign.

We ended up getting 3 baltis (2 chicken, one mild and one spicy, and one spicy lamb) and a butter chicken, in addition to palaak paneer, rice, garlic and regular naan. I also had a salty lassi.

The spicy chicken and spicy lamb baltis were very, very good, with rich, savoury sauces and a more than respectable spiciness level, not "mainstream" spicy. The quality of the lamb itself was top-notch. The mild balti was a bit strange as it was not only less spicy, but seemed to lack some of the other spices that gave the balti sauce its deep aroma. It was still good though. The butter chicken was great, although slightly sweeter and thinner than I personally prefer (though the friend and his wife loved it). My personal favorite butter chicken in Montreal (or Laval ;) )is Tandoori Xpress closely followed by Bombay Mahal, but this would come in right behind them (although I've yet to try some of the other places mentioned in here, like Shahi palace). The palaak paneer was fantastically rich and as good as I'd had anywhere.

As for the naan, it was slightly hit and miss. I almost never get garlic naan (I prefer regular), but this time I got the garlic and was glad I did - it was very soft, fluffy and perfectly charred, and the garlic was not overpowering. Strangely, the regular naan we got seemed to be cut from a different cloth, as it was doughier, heavier and didn't seem to have received the same attention to detail as the garlic naan did. It wasn't bad by any means, just wasn't phenomenal like the garlic one - which is what I expect from my naan. :)

All in all, it was a good experience and I need to go back and try some of the other dishes on the menu (although it will be difficult not to get the balti again, which was probably one of the best I've had outside of Birmingham). I hope the place finds itself a good niche and sticks around for a while - the owner and staff were very friendly. The place still seems rather empty when I'm passing by, although the delivery guys are always going in and out, so maybe that's a brisker business. It's just unfortunate that people in Laval still seem to prefer going to the Scores, Casas Grecques or St-Huberts of the island than spending the same amount of money for a much better meal at an independent family restaurant.

Coordinates:

Masala Mantram
3424, boul Cartier O corner Chomedey
LAVAL, Québec, H7V 1K2
450.688.6866

great butcher shops

Another vote for Chez Vito. The guys there are very friendly, knowledgeable and courteous. I haven't found a better rib steak anywhere else, and prices are reasonable.

I've also had some good luck at Atwater market, though I can't recall the exact shop.

Indian and Mediterranean Restaurants

Wonderful - I live literally around the corner from Masala Mantram which opened recently, but haven't yet tried it because I've been faithful to my mainstay Indian restaurant, oddly also in Laval: Tandoori Xpress, http://www.tandoorixpress.com/ . I'll post a review / compare of both places. To me, Tandoori Xpress is a friendlier version of Bombay Mahal with fresher ingredients.

Will definitely try to check out Masala Mantram though, your description of the murgh makhanwalla and the balti got my attention!

Chez Vito Closed or Open

Had a conversation with Tino right before they closed - I lucked out by getting some steaks just before they close for a while.

This is one of their only vacation times so they shut down for three weeks or so.

Which poutine to get at La Banquise?

I actually really like the chou (cabbage) poutine, because I like the crunchy texture of the cabbage in contrast to the sludginess - and I use that term in the most endearing way - of the poutine.

Also, the addition of cabbage to the poutine instantly transforms it into a healthy late-night snack.