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Everything posted by gruyere

  1. le Gourmand in the Pointe Claire village is a good bet. Good food with a good wine list including quite a few private imports as well as a very nice bar. If it's warm enough ask for the terrace which is the best in that area and one of the best in the city. 514-695-9077
  2. So I'm confused that your saying that Chris Leahy from BLT Prime is 2nd tier. we all know that big chef's come down with there brigade, and he was part of that team nes pas, while M. Tourondel was in the dining room mingeling with the guests , i presume that Mr. Leahy was in the back dishing out Plates from the amazing amuse bouche to the Dessert. Wednesday, February 28: BLT meets Globe http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/stor...c4-806a322e4cee ← Aren't you really reinforcing the previously made point. The boss is in the dining room while the second in command is following orders and getting the head chef's product on the plate in a fashion that will please him. It happen's all the time doesn't it? All of the greats have a wonderful team. But that doesn't make the number two guy Martin Picard or Normand Laprise or ??? I think the point is that there may be a little too much hype when compared to what is already available.... but hey why not? Let's wait and see. Who knows; maybe Mr. Leahy will w-o-w.
  3. I have thought about entering this discussion for some time. However, I felt that I should eat at Liverpool House before doing so. I have enjoyed many great meals at Joe Beef and was anxious to try LH but on the two previous occasions when I tried to make a rez, I was too late and the place was full. Last Thursday was my first meal there. I don’t agree with many of the points made in this discussion. Firstly, who deemed Liverpool House an Italian Restaurant? Dishes that may support such a theory include gnocchi as a starter and a lobster/pasta dish and risotto on the mains. A lobster/pasta dish has been on the Joe Beef menu for as long as I can remember, risotto is on many non-Italian restaurant menus and for my money I’ll take Claude Pelletier’s version over those of most of our Italian restaurants. Thursday, I perused a starter menu with a beet salad, Boston lettuce salad, charcuterie plate, smoked salmon, foie gras and I’m forgetting others, to go along with the sole Italian entry, the gnocchi. Mains included braised beef, Canard de Peking (Oh my god, are they going Chinese next time??), two steak options, liver and onions and a salmon and chicken dish that were decidedly non-Italian. Frankly, given all the discussion, I was surprised by the degree to which LH is similar to JB. One of the greatest gifts that a nation can give to the world is to share its cuisine. No nation has done a better job than Italy….. what a blessing and hats off to those who do it well. The dishes of Italian influence at Liverpool House are very well done (our table of five included a lobster/pasta dish and rabbit risotto) but these menu items are dwarfed in numbers by other dishes. Anyone heading to Liverpool House in search of an extensive Italian menu would be quite disappointed. However, they are highly unlikely to be disappointed if they are seeking great food in a lively, convivial atmosphere. This team of Montrealers has a great business model going. Who would have thought that you could open a restaurant (JB) in this area of town, spend minimally on décor in a way that redefines the term 'shabby chic' and draw full-house crowds based on great food and an atmosphere that is created as much by the patrons as by the operators and then on top of that add another popular venue virtually next door, creating your own competition before someone else does. I don’t know if that was the well thought out strategy, but it sure looks like a good one. It seems somehow out of order that some people are so focused on the negative. I travel a lot and I believe Montrealers are well informed, knowledgeable restaurant goers; certainly more so than the average North American. We walked by JB at about 7:45 and later at 10:45. It was full and almost full at the two respective times. LH was almost full when we arrived and full by about 8:15. I don’t believe customers are flocking to this somewhat obscure part of the city to simply receive a warm welcome from David M. and company. Lesley C’s review of LH was positive and this can cause a 'blip' in business for a period of time, but it was busy before the review and I suspect it will be busy long after. What is it that causes locals to disproportionately heap criticism on local enterprises that do well? This phenomenon is not unique to Montreal, although it does, in my experience, tend to be more prevalent in smaller towns. Is it possible that there is some jealousy going on here? Is it possible that the restaurant business model that dictates huge reno budgets in the high rent part of town, to go with long legs and ample boobs, cannot fathom that such a simple strategy based on great food and fun can really be a more successful formula; not that the two are mutually exclusive in any way. For the record I am a great fan of Cavalli and its ‘scene’ of great food and ‘beautiful people’ in a fun, well designed space. BTW, having prepared this reply on Friday, I was feeling rather like it was time for a good old Italian meal. On the recommendation of a friend we ended up at da Emma. I hadn’t been there in years. What a pleasant surprise – great service, great food, just the way momma used to make it!!
  4. I believe you will find pink salt at les Douceurs du Marche, Atwater Market, first floor, north end. You can check with them at 514-939-3902.
  5. gruyere


    You are right Joey. Lesley C. like most major N.American newspaper reviewers (NY Times for example) uses a four star system. The reference to "almost giving my first 4 1/2 star review" (not a direct quote but this was the drift I believe) may have caused ArtistSeries to think otherwise. However, it was my interpretation that this was more of an analogy similar to "I almost gave it 11 out of 10." CAA/AAA have a 5 star system and Mobil has a five diamond one. These I believe are more skewed to large hotels and highly visible operations such as Nuance at the Casino. Michelin as most people are aware judges on a three star system.
  6. It's not sushi, but I think Milo's patrons would disagree with this statement.
  7. Dave McMillan, owner of Joe Beef and a member of this forum, could very easily take this discussion out of the realm of the hypothetical and possibly even end it, by telling his side of the story, or apologizing. As for davecap, I'll take his word until I have a reason not to. ← Dave M has not been an active eG forum participant for some time. The last time I was at JB, I spoke to Dave about this incident and there are indeed extenuating circumstances. However it would be a no win situation for him to engage in this incessant debate. You should remember that he left the multi-establishment corporate restaurant scene in order to concentrate on his own place and to report to himself. It is his business and within the laws of the land he can conduct himself as he sees fit. Is it smart to be rude or treat a potential customer with disdain? Probably not. Would he do the same thing again? I'm not sure; we'll have to ask him. Let us not forget that there is not but one set of rules for how you run a business; service or otherwise. Marco Pierre White who became the first English born chef to garner 3 Michelin stars (he remains the youngest to do so) would, on occasion, literally throw customers out the door if they pissed him off. He became revered throughout England as the Bad Boy Chef and his multi-starred establishments were extremely successful. Is that what we know as Joe Beef? Not at all. Those of us who patronise the restaurant see it as a wonderful little oasis where the service is great, the decor unpretentious, the food fabulous and the overall experience one of the very best in our city of great restaurants.
  8. Cricklewood, Do you know where the Giannone bird is available in Montreal? TKS
  9. Admittedly few establishments have the drawing power to maintain this sort of cancellation policy. Nevertheless, I thought it would be interesting to look at how some of the ‘best of class’ restaurants are coping with cancellations. This was copied from Heston Bumenthal’s Fat Duck website: CANCELLATION POLICY Regrettably our experience dictates this precaution. For parties of five and six people we ask that our customers give at least 5 working days notice. In the event this is not honoured we will charge £100.00 per person. For parties of four we ask that customers give at least 72 hours notice. In the event this in not honoured we will charge £80.00 per person. For parties of three and below we ask that customers give at least 48 hours notice. In the event this is not honoured we will charge £80.00 per person. That's some pretty serious damage!! The original poster would have been out 240 GBP or in the order of $480 US. Under these circumstances somehow I think there may have been an afternoon nap (for the young child) pro-actively inserted into the program. BTW, I know there are few restaurants in the world like Fat Duck and I'm not suggesting in any way that this policy makes sense for other than a handful of operators.
  10. Where would you shop for the very best chicken for roasting? I currently go to Boucherie Charcuterie de Tours and look for a free range, biologique alternative. However we know that these terms are bandied about in a manner that does not necessarily instill confidence that the real thing is actually being purchased (this is not in any way a reflection on Boucherie de Tours but anyone who has read The Omnivores' Dilemma will be familiar with my point that organic and other such terms are used without much regulatory obligation to ensure that producers comply with strict adherance to conditions that the terms imply). Do you look for a particular producers bird? Is there any product that you would say is Quebec's Poulet de Bresse? I know that there are very strict French AOC regulations defining the minimum amount of space per bird (10 m2 I believe) etc. and that no such grand bird exists here, but is there a recognized 'best bird' out there?
  11. I couldn't agree more Lesley. I'm heading there on Saturday. Do you think I would endure any bodily harm if I called to cancel my reservation at the last minute and then entered the restaurant with a "Just kidding!!!"? Probably a tad dangerous I suppose.
  12. gee, overreact much? ← Let me try to put my position in perspective. First of all Davecap, the original poster, has reacted to criticism in this thread in a very honourable way. I felt he was wrong in how he handled the situation and I let him know. At some point up-thread he said “point well taken.” His situation is one that is probably in the grey area of what is acceptable. My point in further highlighting his situation was to illustrate that we should consider our making a reservation as a sort of moral contract and govern ourselves accordingly. I know several people in the business, many of whom struggle every day to make ends meet and who work hard to pay their staff a reasonable wage with at least some sort of meagre benefits. It pisses me off when people treat them and their businesses with servitude and consider their station in life to be at or near the bottom rung of the ladder. By way of example I would like to detail an experience that I had about a year ago: My wife and I were meeting another couple for drinks and dinner. We had agreed to meet at a certain bar and go to the restaurant from there. I had previously suggested to ‘Bill’ that he make the reservation and that his choice would be fine. “Just tell us where to meet and we’ll be there.” After arriving at the bar I asked him where we were going to eat. He said “I know you’re into the food side of life so I made a reservation at restaurant X and restaurant Y. Let’s decide where to go. I replied “Our reservation is in less than an hour which one did you cancel?” He said “Oh don’t worry. I didn’t cancel either; people do this all the time; they’re used to it.” I pulled out my phone and said “It’s Friday night; both of these places are probably fully booked. Where are we going, I’m cancelling one of these reservations.” He said “I wouldn’t call now they’re not going to be very happy with us.” I said “You know Bill you’re an inconsiderate, self centred f#^king prick.” I meant it then and I mean it now. If it’s overreaction from some points of view so be it. No apologies from here!
  13. I’m not in the business but I am a frequent client. Is it wise to aggressively put down a customer who cancels at the last minute? No, it’s not good business. The bite your tongue, “Thanks for calling, we hope to see you again soon.” approach is the smarter one. Yes cancellations are part of the game, but as far as I am concerned a potential customer who makes a reservation enters into a contract with the establishment. The empty table and loss of business caused by late cancellations drives up an operator’s cost; a cost that he has to recover by charging me more. Anybody who casually makes a restaurant reservation and then cancels for no good reason especially at the last minute or worse still, doesn’t bother to call, is an inconsiderate, self centered, prick! This subject began debate as a result of a couple whose child was tired and not up to going out to the restaurant after a day of fun outdoors; pretty innocent really. However if that same person had tickets to a kids’ show where the tickets were purchased in advance the approach at some point in the day would likely have been “We’d better get back to the hotel for some quiet time; we’ve got a show tonight.” Instead, with the rules of engagement skewed squarely in favour of the customer the attitude is more of a “No skin off our ass, screw the restaurant.” I would frankly be in favour of a ‘refundable deposit per head’. Even at say $10/head people would take their obligation more seriously. It won’t happen, as there is too much competition and the industry so fragmented that it would be virtually impossible to develop a consistent approach. Joe Beef though might be one of the few Montreal restos that could pull it off.
  14. I finished this book yesterday. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I found it gripping and emotional. Will it win a Pulitzer? No! Was it fun and entertaining to read? Absolutely! The last four food related books that I have read are Wrestling with Gravy (Reynolds), White Slave (Marco Pierre White), Omnivores Dilemma (Pollen) and Cooked (Henderson). If I was an English Lit professor I would have given the highest grade to Reynolds and Pollen. However on the enjoyment scale my vote would go to Henderson and White. Pollen’s work was the most important of the four and it changed my eating habits, so it had a dramatic effect on me. But I like my recreational reading to be a little lighter. I like it to be hectic; somewhat chaotic is also good. Omnivore’s Dilemma was almost professorial. Cooked was definitely not. It has been criticized in this thread as lacking in passion and devoid of original recipes and tricks. If I was reading a memoir or autobiography of Boulud or Keller or such chefs who have owned their own restaurants and made their mark in a very individual way, I might expect them to tell us about their signature dishes. On the contrary though, I do not recall Marco Pierre White, the first English born chef to garner 3 Michelin stars, supplying recipes in his autobiography White Slave. Although Henderson did some personal catering and Gadsby was a small restaurant, I felt his strength was to take big number venues and improve the quality. His first Vegas award was for Buffet Chef of the Year. Even his position as Executive Chef at Bellagio Café is related to putting out thousands of covers. Nevertheless, there is an element of detail in his descriptions of certain tasting menus he prepares, often in the interest of seeking employment. Cooked was uneven in places and I sometimes found the segue from one topic or situation to another, to be poorly structured. But the story line was so damn heroic that I read it in two sittings. That food could have such a profound effect on an individual is entirely uplifting. I must say I found Henderson full or passion and emotion. What a study of contrasts – cooking for the lowest on society’s hierarchy and then the highest; turning intense anger into an ability to love one’s family (sounds straightforward to many, but I think if you have lived your life on the street and then been incarcerated for 10 years it may have been the struggle of a lifetime); racism versus reverse racism; hardened criminal to volunteer social worker; life destroying freedom, life saving incarceration and the list goes on. The comment up thread from Matcha Eyes probably speaks to the value of this work better than any other. A bumpy life may have lead to an, at times uneven style, but if the mainstream food media does not give this work due consideration they are doing many people a huge disservice. It is unfortunate when the rules of the game get in the way of the spirit of the game.
  15. Did anybody attend the Gray Kunz dinner at Nuance last night?
  16. Sorry but I find it hard to get excited. I have eaten Lee's, McEwan's, Kennedy's food on multiple occassions because like many Montrealers I frequently travel to TO. Their work is excellent (although I'm not particularly enamoured by Lee's reverse order, he is nontheless a master). But the fact is TO is a one hour flight, a five-six hour drive away and the most common destination for Montrealers. This food is available, if not on our doorstep, then just down the road. I expect a culinary festival to be a little more 'out there'. It broke my heart that I was out of town for the Boulud dinner. I have read his "Letters to a Young Chef" as well as "The Fourth Star" (not written by DB but about his restaurant Daniel). If I am away for one of the TO chefs I'll simply make a note to make a reservation the next time I am there. As far as other cities go I would have preferred say Tokyo, London, Rome, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Florence (Tuscany in general), Nice (Provence in general), San Francisco. I don't recall all of the cities from previous years so if any are on this list give them an X. If avoiding predictability is desirable I'm not sure TO would be a sure fire winner on that front. If economics is driving the agenda then the TO decision becomes more understandable.
  17. I understand that next year's featured city is Toronto. Ugh! Please tell me this is not true. New York followed by TO; are there budget issues driving the agenda? BTW, I think the NYC idea was great and snagging Boulud, Barber, Kunz and the other greats is 'hats off' to the organisers. But following New York City with Toronto seems a little regionally boring in my mind. I am not one of those Toronto haters but it just isn't a food city that generates much excitement and it does not differentiate itself from other large North American cities when it comes to restaurants. PS: I am heading to the Gray Kunz dinner at Nuance on Friday. If anyone is going tonight I'd love to hear from you tomorrow.
  18. I am not supporting the treatment you got, but the above statement is totally off base. What do you mean you have no responsibility to to call and cancel? The fact that many people engage in such behaviour does not make it acceptable and certainly does not make it honourable. You asked a busy establishment to hold a revenue generating table for you. You had a responsibility to call and you should have called the moment you knew you could not fulfil your commitment to the restaurant which was likely well in advance of the 7:30 rez. Your position is basically: I can screw you over by making a rez and not showing but, like most of us, you likely expect superlative service when you do choose to show up. Whomever dealt with you should have been more tactful but your table in this very small restaurant represented a significant portion of their business and they overreacted. You however, underreacted from the point of view of your responsibility.
  19. I am likewise about one-third of the way through. My assessment would be that I am enjoying it, but it won't rank in my top ten. In the week previous to starting Wrestling with Gravy, I read How I Learned to Cook: Culinary Educations from the World's Greatest Chefs and Pierre Marco White's White Slave. Although Reynolds’ writing style, in the pure sense, is certainly superior to How I Learned to Cook and to a lesser degree White Slave, I have found the content not as much to my liking. However, I have not yet reached the point in Reynolds’ life where he begins his career with the New York Times magazine. Hopefully he will steer the subject matter more towards food, but FG's comments lead me to believe it may be in an indirect fashion; possibly similar in story line to his first trip to that former temple of Paris haute cuisine, Maxims: The backdrop is Maxims, the food plays a significant role, but the lead is played by his estranged father who hits on Reynolds’ English girlfriend, inviting her to return with him to Las Vegas; all while Jonathon makes a trip to the restroom. In just a few paragraphs Reynolds has us laughing about his father's outrageous behaviour but at the same time illustrates in no uncertain terms the self-centred and superficial nature of his father; a matter that plays a highly meaningful role up to this point in the book.
  20. I can see your point and I agree that it is somewhat self-aggrandising. The name dropping is a little excessive and the use of hyperbole is evident in places. However I found it to be a very compelling, even gripping read nevertheless. It is a much more interesting work than most of the other chef biographies I have read and pretty well written at that. On the combined scale of the quality of 'mentored by, plus persons mentored' he's got to be right up there. I found the book to be full of interesting contrasts: 1) ability to give absolute shit to his brigade and to certain of his customers, but totally lacking in any ability to accept the post meal congratulations and the associated discussions to follow, because such activity required conventional social skills 2) he hobnobbed with celebrities and the upper crust on a very regular basis but always felt that he could not escape his working class background and did not establish a long term relationship with a women until he found someone from a similar upbringing The self promotion is part of the complex person that is MPW. He makes it quite clear that he is (certainly was) a very insecure, emotionally scarred individual. I am no psychiatrist, but I think the portrait that is painted of Marco would lead one to believe that self-promotion is a not uncommon trait of such individuals. I would not be surprised to find that a discussion such as the following took place: Marco to ghost writer or editor: “Don’t you think the book is a little too full of self-promotion, even for me?” Ghost writer or editor: “No, that’s who you are. You don’t have the social skills to allow your accomplishments to simply speak for themselves. What you have achieved as a chef/business person is who you are. Your three stars are who you are, if you/we are going to produce an autobiography you have to broadcast these achievements from the roof tops. You hid in the kitchen but loudly broadcast who you are through your cooking; now you are hiding behind the covers of White Slave, but doing the same thing. It's more 'in your face' because it's now documented in black and white.”
  21. If you go to les Douceurs du Marche (first floor, north end, Atwater Market) try to make it at a time that is not too busy and talk to one of the guys behind the cash. They are quite knowledgeable and are happy to help when there is not a large line-up of customers. If you are reading literature by or about Keller you will know that he is obsessed with detail and sometimes the smallest element of a recipe requires a great deal of effort. The FLC is full of such examples. If, as you say, you are just embarking on your ‘cooking career’ you may want to look at his Bouchon Cookbook which is much less complex but yet does not stray from his strict principles of quality throughout the process.
  22. If I'm that other critic don't hold your breath. I'm working on a web site instead. ← I have always felt that the web was a better vehicle for such matters as restaurant reviews. By the very nature of its changing landscape where chefs move and establishments, even those run by capable people, close on a frequent basis, the printed restaurant guide rapidly goes stale. If we are talking big corporate Michelin Guide style then the annual nature of the publication deals with this issue. However if we are looking for a more detailed effort such as LC’s Flavourville, then it is likely entirely uneconomical to publish updated versions on a very regular basis (mega resto cities such as NYC may be an exception). I will look forward to the website. Any definitive plans on the business model e.g.: subscription based, advertising, combination of the two, etc.?
  23. That, of course, a matter of taste, but anyways I'm doubt they meant to use home freezer for that purpose. AFAIK, tuna frozen almost instantly and kept under -40C stays as good as it gets - assuming right conditions for thawing. But I'm seriously doubt it can be reproduced at home without the proper equipment. ← True. You do need a first rate commercial freezer. Yasuda has a custom freezer for this very purpose. ← This is a very interesting piece of information. I was not aware of this 'aging' concept. By way of clarification, my advice to place the non-frozen tuna in the freezer for a short period was more to make the flesh firmer, thereby allowing the knife to make a cleaner, smoother cut.
  24. Well, may be you could advise me... I enter into the store, I see large piece of tuna on the shelf. Looks beautiful. Is it the one you make sashimi of? I asked a piece of it (twice during two weeks) - and drove home right away. At home I found lots of water in there, and I couldn't slice it nicely with the very best of my knives (I use Hattori and Masahiro) - as it was falling apart. Both times I tried it happened. From the very beginning it didn't look and didn't feel like a tuna real sashimi usually made from. Did I chose wrong cut? Do they have different cuts for grilling and sushi? ← I am by no means an expert on the cut. I tell them (Al or Joe preferably) that I will be using the fish for sashimi. If you have had a bad experience do not be shy to tell them. Explain your past disapointments and ask to see the fish close up. They are reasonable people and they'd like your continuing business. If the fish is a large piece it can be somewhat difficult to cut into the fine pieces that the best sushi houses are known for. Once again I am no expert so my advice may not be supported by the purists. However I cut the fish into more manageable portions and I often place it in my freezer for about 10 or 15 mins (sometimes longer depending on the size of the pieces) which adds a level of firmness that makes slicing into smaller pieces much easier. Depending on the size of the portion purchased I find that sometimes part of the piece may lend itself more to making tartare, while another portion is suitable for sashimi. Study this before breaking down the piece. If you do not get satisfaction then try some of the other fine recommendations that have been made. My advice however would be to get to know your fishmonger and become a regular at the establishment on which you finally decide. This is almost certain to pay long term dividends.
  25. Such sweeping generalisations are, as a rule, unworthy of reply. However it would be a disservice to those who may want to avail of the efforts of a dedicated and competent fishmonger in close proximity to where they live, if I did not set the record straight. I shop or have shopped on a regular basis at la Mer, Nouveau Falaro, Shamrock (MJT) the Atwater Market fish shop and Pecheur du Marche (blvd des Sources). Pecheur du Marche holds its own with these shops except in the more exotic species. If you are looking for lobster, clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops, tuna, sea bass, swordfish, salmon (farmed or wild), trout, cod haddock, red snapper and many other types of fish, P du Marche is an excellent choice. Their smoked salmon, sliced to order, is amongst the city's finest. If it's black cod or octopus or sea urchin or other less common species, then you are better off at say, la Mer. I have prepared tuna tartare, tuna sashimi and several recipes from the Nobu Now cookbook with fish purchased from 'Big Al" at P du M. and always with great success. I would estimate that I have shopped their in excess of 40 times in the last two years. On only one occassion was I not as happy with the product and returned it to the store. It was replaced without discussion with a carefully inspected replacement portion. My business partner who lives closer to Atwater Market than to P du M nevertheless makes a point of shopping there.
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