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Montreal Bachelor Party - Memorial Day Weekend 2012

"Raucous crowd" and "Rib N Reef" do not belong in the same sentence. QdC generally has no eye-candy, and the steak is overpriced for the quality. A bachelor party calls for what we call a "supper club" (late dinner, loud music, models for waitresses, party scene). In my day, Globe was the champ, and it seems to have got its game back in the food department. It is on the trendy part of the Main (St-Laurent Blvd.), lots of options for going out afterward. Rosalie has the most beautiful waitresses in the city, but the food has not been good there for many years; for drinks, perhaps? Cavalli is another option. Those are both downtown where the bars are less trendy (but raucous). Bar&Boeuf and Osteria Venti are possible options in Old Montreal; same owners, very trendy.

Ben & Florentine

In my view, the reason there is no lineup is that it is absolutely mediocre. Why they think I would like 1.5 tbsp. of cold institutional-grade applesauce with my breakfast is beyond me. Bread is also industrial. Potatoes are drenched in horrid seasoned salt. I would eat here only if absolutely necessary.

Bouillon Bilk - 1595 Boulevard Saint-Laurent

I had a delicious dinner there. Both starters and both mains were "here, taste some of this". Service was informal but helpful and attentive. Decor is minimalist/industrial, but I like that sort of things. Desserts were good, too.

Blind date.....

I am a huge fan of CC&P. It has an oddball ambience that I find immensely appealing, and the food and service are superb. The waiters really seem to care about what they are serving in a manner that is not pretentious or off-putting. I really think that it is a special place you cannot find just anywhere. Perhaps the only risk is that there will not be a lot going on to distract you if you do not hit it off, but if you had a lovely time at the Mariott I will bet you will have an enchanting time at CC&P.

Restaurant help - this weekend

No. The couple who had invited us were mortified and I didn't want to make the atmosphere any worse. It is simply not a fine dining restaurant. For $84 we received a massive cut of beef for two, served uncut on a common plate. We were apparently expected to hack at it with dollar store steak knives and transfer it to our own plates. Not fun for us to do, nor our companions to watch. When I asked if it could be sliced, it was returned hacked into five half-pound chunks. Gee, thanks. Also, when spending a few hundred bucks for a bottle of wine, I expect the waiter to review the wine list with me without turning his back to me and making jokes with the next table. That would be rude if I was ordering at McDonalds, and is absolutely inexcusable. Had we not been with company, I would have asked him what the hell he thought he was doing.

DNA, when to go?

My wife and I enjoyed the food, but not the ambience. We were one of only three tables; the other two were seniors! (No offense, old folks, just not the mood we were looking for.) Admittedly it was "early" on a Saturday (7 pm), but we were hoping for a bit more buzz. I'd like to go back, but not if I am the youngest person in the place by several decades. Is it more lively on weekdays? Or after a certain hour?

Garde Manger, Au Cinquieme Peche, Le Bleu Raisin, or DNA?

I have not been to Garde Manger in years, because I went twice and food was poor both times (with the exception of the seafood platter, which was delicious). Great ambience if you like hip, noisy and energetic, but I can't quite wrap my head around the glowing reviews it gets for food.
I haven't eaten anything there that I couldn't have easily whipped up myself, which at those prices is not how I like to feel. I'll have a drink there, but not food; feeling ripped off kinda kills my buzz.

Natural Peanut Butter Naturally Bad, Says Cook's Illustrated

Store natural peanut butter upside down several days before opening. Stir well. Refrigerate after opening. Oil will not seperate much, if at all. If you use it very infrequently you may wish to refrigerate upside down, but I find this unnecessary.

Mar 10, 2011
Artichoq in Features

Restaurant help - this weekend

I seem to be in the minority, but I just had a truly horrible experience at Trois Petits Bouchons (posted elsewhere in the site). Uneven food, and truly appalling service. Your mileage may vary, particularly if you like expensive beef slathered in sweet sauce that tastes like something from a bottle, and if you don't wind your waiter turning to banter with the next table while he is making wine recommendations.

Review of Les trois petits bouchons

I have only been once, and won't be going back.
The appetizer du moment was blood sausage with a savoury marshmallow of some sort. Based on the reputation of the place we figured it would be better than it sounded. Wrong; it was three ingredients that had no business being on the same plate. Some dishes were delicious, like the sauteed mushrooms; most were not. Service was appalling. It would have been nice to have been warned that the $84 cut of beef (for two) would take forever. It arrived in an enormous slab, entirely uncut, and we were presumably expected to hack it to pieces with our tiny steak knives. Across the table? Or were we supposed to pass it back and forth? We asked for it to be sliced, whereupon it was returned to us in five half-pound chunks. It was competently cooked, but absolutely slathered in a sweet sauce that might as well have come from a bottle.
The low point of the awful service was to have the waiter turn and begin bantering with the next table while I was in the process of asking questions about the wine list. The short order cook at your average greasy spoon generally has enough manners not to talk to other customers while you are placing your order. These problems are so basic as to be inexcusable. As a restaurant experience, it was insulting. Four thumbs down.

Good food and nightlife near boulevard St-Laurent?

Without wanting to pry, if by St-Laurent and Sherbrooke you mean that you will be staying at Hotel Godin I suspect that Blizzarts or Sala Rossa, as fun as they are, may not be your style.
The beautiful people tend to hang out just up the street at the various restaurants that become de facto bars late at night. As restaurants they generally cater to the expense account crowd who aren't picky about their food so long as it is served by barely-dressed aspiring models, and tables of the kind of women that crowd attracts; as bars they can be great fun.

Waitresses in Montreal, Globe

...and I had dinner last night at Rosalie (because I had to). The lamb was mediocre, sauce was cold and I was served FROZEN vegetables. Wine list as absurd as QdC. Oratorio for $100? Everything at more than 3x SAQ. The waitresses are the most beautiful in the city, and against all odds our server was both charming and competent. The hostess, on the other hand, pulled the wine list out from under the elbow of my female companion before we had even looked at it, and walked off with it. Our charming waitress apologized and brought it back.

As a restaurant, it is an insult.

Single Malt Scotch

The question was rhetorical, in that I am well aware that the SAQ has long ago adopted a Walmart-style business model: the bottom 15% in terms of sales volume gets dumped. Where is Maker's Mark? White Horse scotch? Barbancourt rum? Virtually any decent tequila? (and yet they stock "Tequila Bang Bang") One might say that the customer is always right, but considering that the SAQ holds a captive market, they should have a bit more discernment. In general they show wine drinkers considerably more respect.

Waitresses in Montreal, Globe

Fair enough. For my part, both Globe and Rosalie were always satisfactory or better during their heyday, based on dozens of visits. Among many memorable dishes I had one of the best steaks in memory at Globe, huge and perfectly cooked, miles better than anything I have had at QdC (which is on my blacklist).

For the record, I just had a very good lunch at Cavalli. Endive salad with first-rate prosciutto and figs, butterfish marinated in miso with wasabi mayonnaise. Granted, I don't think that the snow peas added anything to the main course, the dessert was utterly forgettable, and coffee took so long that we gave up and left..... However, we had already been comped a dessert wine, and everyone left happy.

Best High End Gourmet Restaurant in Montreal?

Well said, as usual, Carswell. I have been twice, underwhelmed both times.

On the subject of wine, while our absurd luxury taxes are not QdC's fault, it makes their rampant overcharging even worse. Consider that Big House Red is available across the border for close to $10. It is inflated to $18 at the SAQ, marked up 300% at QdC, on top of which you will be charged an additional 14% in sales taxes and the server will expect to be paid (and is apparently taxed upon the basis of) a 15% gratuity (for twisting off the screw cap, I suppose). I wonder how the average Vermonter feels spending $92 on something he could buy in a supermarket for $10.

Single Malt Scotch

Selection is generally poor, but at that price point it shouldn't be too hard to find Macallan 18, Glenfiddich 30, or Highland Park 25 (my preference being the latter). SAQ also lists something called the Macallan 1841 Replica, but I have never tried it.

I should add that whisky selection is just as dismal at the low end. For example, how is it possible that Maker's Mark is not available in this province?

Waitresses in Montreal, Globe

That is an unfair comment re: Cavalli. The wait staff is definitely not hired for any kind of food service ability, but the food is most definitely not "lamentable", particularly once one figures in the surcharge for the scenery. Unless standards have slipped within the last year the quality of the food is quite good.

In the beginning, food was quite good at both Globe and Rosalie too, when each was under the guiding hand of David McMillan (my meals there were generally above-average to excellent). Globe is now mediocre, and Rosalie is quite disgusting: inedible tartare, warmed-over pasta, a disaster from beginnning to end. So far as I know, Cavalli has not yet taken this plunge.

Garde Manger :-(

I take the liberty of rehashing my review from November: Seafood platter was excellent, but no bargain at $120. Mains were pathetic given the price. Lamb chops with Merguez included one very nice sausage and four thin, greasy and overcooked chops that looked and tasted like supermarket pork chops, on a bed of perfectly cooked but cold and unsalted sugar snap peas in a watery sauce, served on a dollar-store plate. Truly the worst lamb chops I have ever eaten, and inexcusable at $34. Fish with tomatoes and olives was decent but very overpriced, considering that it is the sort of thing I would throw together after work. Dessert was free (due to bad service). Some liked the deep-fried Mars bar, but I found it insipid; batter was very well executed but, uh, it's a Mars bar inside. Wine list very short and all over the map but a relatively good deal (2.2 x SAQ). Go there for great ambience and nice crowd, if you don't mind paying top dollar for mainly mediocre food.

Bachelor Party in Montreal

I agree with you, carswell. Recommending a steakhouse to someone from Chicago is like recommending a pizzeria to a Napolitano, or a sushi restaurant to someone from Kanazawa. Nothing we have here could hope to impress.

As for Queue in particular, I gave them two chances. One meal was merely "good", and one was poor. My steak was stringy in places, not cooked to requested doneness, and service was spotty. It was a Tuesday night, but we paid the usual astronomical price and endured the staff's over-the-top sales schtick (including much savage slapping of steaks under cellophane). I left feeling swindled and will not return.

Best food for the price with funky/cool atmosphere in Montreal?

Garde Manger is NOT good value for money. I had thoroughly disappointing food there (including the worst lamb chops I have ever had anywhere), with service to match. My review is somewhere on this site. Great atmosphere, though.

Bachelor Party Dinner

Agree with gho. I have eaten at both countless times over the years. The food at Globe went downhill after McMillan left for Rosalie. Now that McMillan has moved on to Joe Beef, Rosalie has sunk below acceptable levels. I ate there last night, 4 of 8 mains went back untouched. Truly unacceptable. Suitable for drinks and people-watching only.

Bachelor Party in Montreal

***RETRACTION*** Sadly, I must revoke my recommendation of Rosalie, having eaten there last night after a long hiatus. Although the food used to be good, it is now truly awful. At a table of eight, the three tartares went back basically untouched (the worst texture I have ever seen), and a plate of pasta was like something from under a cafeteria heat lamp, also untouched. The other four dishes were barely acceptable, and one order was incorrect. The house graciously accepted to replace or credit the uneaten dishes, but if I return it will be for drinks only.

Queue De Cheval

I agree. I have eaten twice at QdC (expense account) and twice at the Keg in Old Montreal (when after-work drinks turn into dinner). I am sad, and almost stunned, to say that my steaks at the Keg were better. And the Keg is not anything to write home about, believe me. Montreal is NOT a steak city.

Montreal girls weekend - suggestions please!

I beg to differ. Garde-Manger is about ambience, not food. It has a great vibe, but I posted a review of a terrible meal I had there (particularly for the price). It's fun, but don't bring foodie expectations. Holder has a great (but different) atmosphere and much better food for the same price or less.

Another Patisserie on Monkland

I think the organic bakery might be closed, and I have no idea how Nancy is still in business. A palmier I bought there was noticeably, and therefore inedibly, burned. What patissier with any self respect sells burned pastry? My only other experience there was a cake that turned out to be lemon and chocolate, and it tasted as bad as it sounds. Hopefully the new one will be better, although I would rather not see another pastry or coffee shop.

Best Breakfast in NDG, Westmount area????????

-Cosmos is probably the best greasy spoon breakfast in the city (I have the record for the most food consumed at a single sitting) but be warned that it is run down beyond words and only the "terrace" (sidewalk) would be suitable for kids, if that is an issue.
-Benedicts has good food except ironically for the truly awful eggs Benedict (what is that disgusting sauce?) and the awful coffee, which is why I never go.
-B&M on Somerled is actually quite good. Huge selection. Omelets, hash browns, waffles are very good, portions are huge. Service can be indifferent.
-Speaking of huge portions, Agora on Somerled was highly recommended to me but I haven't tried it yet.
-St-Viateur Bagel on Monland is pretty good but too crowded and limited menu choices.
-Tutti Frutti across from the old Forum is to be avoided at all costs. Like a bad cafeteria.
-If in that neighborhood, Burgers&Benedicts is a much better choice: decent food, huge menu, good and fast service.

Europea recommendations?

Highly recommended. Slightly fussy food; small portions (thank God for good bread), whimsical amuses-bouche, sorbet between between courses, etc. which may not suit all tastes but almost everything is delicious and I always leave very satisfied. Food very similar in style to the nearby Decca77, which I also recommend.

Angus Beef Steakhouse - any opinions?

I ate there once. I used to work nearby and had a sensitive deal to discuss so we went there because we knew we would be alone. In fact, I had never seen a single customer there so I always assumed it was a front. But they apparently have some steak in the fridge in case somebody wanders in. It turned out to be quite good, in fact.

MTL Group Dinner, $ No Limit

Depends on who you are and what your priorities are. Best possible food? Or the high-roller experience? If the latter, Cavalli could certainly accomodate you upstairs, or maybe downstairs on a quiet night.

Bachelor Party in Montreal

No one from NY or Chicago should be eating steak in Montreal, period. La Colombe and Decca77 are faves of mine in their categories, but neither is a bachelor party destination. If you guys are in-crowd or high rollers, Montreal has exactly what you need, which is good food in a swanky setting served by gorgeous women. All recommendations in previous post are good. If downtown I would go to Cavalli or Rosalie. Cavalli has better food, but Rosalie has the hottest waitresses in town, no contest.