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Everything posted by grill-it

  1. Excellent choices, and excellent reviews. Thanks for taking the time to write up your post. <thumbsup!>
  2. I thought it was supposed to be some sort of play on words (well, syllables anyway) Cuis-Indépendance - but I've been know to be wrong about these things. Is it open yet? I've heard that it's the same manager from the Spaghetatta down the street on Laurier...
  3. I'm really not sure what show they're filming, nor where the chef went. Interestingly enough, they have kept the same phone number as Savanah - so maybe there's a link with the previous ownership?
  4. I finally ate there - and the wine thing is quite interesting. However, in bold letters on the back of their "chic" hardcover printed menus, it's written "Apportez Votre Vin", even though it isn't really a BYOW. I guess there was some confusion to start it all off. Here's what a wrote at another board: Ther restaurant is actually called 55° (degrees) and not "The 55th" as I originally thought. So to satisfy my curiosity I finally went to check it out with some friends. The decor remains largely unchanged from when it was Savanah. It's still quite beautiful. Plenty of wood, a large bar at one end of the restaurant, mirrors, large chairs, high ceilings and plenty of space. It's a classic "French Bistro" look, but more spacious and airy. The terrasse is pretty nice too, although we stayed indoors. Service was a bit slow, but we were in no hurry and the staff were friendly enough, so no problems there. We ordered from the table d'hote, although a member of our party ordered à la carte. My entrée was baked chevre in a puff pastry (baluchon) stuffed with pear. The pastry was crisp and light and the chevre, although very mild, asserted it's flavour throughout and the fruit was not overly sweet. It was a nice sized portion and relatively well presented, but I could have gone without the coulis on the plate - a nice shot of colour, but it tasted like stawberry jam and it wasn't really necessary. Another companion had a butternut squash soup, which was consistent, well-textured and flavourful. The fried calamari entrée, although presented well, was dismal. Unfortunately it was more soggy than crispy, and tasted oily. As mains, we chose the blue marlin, a grilled (or baked perhaps) salmon, the artic char à la carte and the faux-filet (is that striploin?) from the table d'hote. The marlin filet was relatively large, with toasted poppy & sesame seeds served with basmati rice and a few vegetables. The char was slightly undercooked, the way I prefer actually, and had a nice texture. It was topped with a white sauce that was a little too rich for the delicateness of the fish - I scraped off some of the sauce and enjoyed it much more. I didn't taste the salmon, but the presentation was interesting, and it looked very appealing. The striploin was cooked medium rare as requested, and was juicy and flavourful. There was quite a bit of fat to trim off, but that's normal for the cut - still at 40$ for the dish (table d'hote price) I would have expected something more. The general concensus was that everything was good, but nothing was spectacular. They have an interesting policy on serving wine. All wines are sold at SAQ prices plus 3$ corkage fee. That's a great deal! You have to go to the wine rack in the front of the restaurant to choose your bottles. If you're lucky, someone will come and advise you with your choice. We chose a solid, but budget priced Malbec along with a white burgundy for those eating fish. We were also presented with a choice of water - and were explained that since the restaurant doesn't make money off the wine, they encourage their patrons to purchase bottled water. Ours cost us about 9$ - and we didn't choose an expensive water.... I didn't have any dessert, but did manage to sneak a spoonful of creme brulée. I prefer when the top has a bit more "brulée", but the serving was fine otherwise. Overall the experience was not all bad. The dishes, though not extraordinary, were generally tasty and pleasantly presented. You certainly save money on the wine, and with their system you feel encourage to purchase a more expensive bottle of wine as opposed to paying ludicrous markups. Steer clear of buying water. Total bill ran about 60$/head including tax, tip & wine - which is quite reasonable. Would I go again? Maybe, but probably not very soon.
  5. How about Chuchai as a vegeterian dining option. By all accounts, they're doing quite well,yet they don't serve any meat. I went to their BYO restaurant next door (simply entitled Chuch) and quite enjoyed the experience. I'm not usually a fan of mock meats, but in this case, everything was well prepared, well presented and overall quite satisfactory. If I remember correctly, we had a basil "chicken" curried dish that was really quite interesting. Definitely an option for vegetarians, and proof that restaurants serving no meat can indeed survive in Montreal.
  6. I always thought it was an old wives' tale that pork had to be served well done. Personally, I avoid "over-cooking" the meat, especially with grilled pork chops. Pink is just fine in my books.
  7. Please don't eat at Jardin Nelson. Maybe have a drink on their terrasse - but really, don't eat the food. And especially don't go when it's busy and the bus boys haven't bother to clean their table-wiping-rags which smell like vomit. Bleah! I'm still traumatized after all these years.
  8. Great that you are talked out of Eggspaection - I wholly agree. Cartet, Olive & Gourmando and Vaudeville are all solid suggestions - I have never had breakfast at reservoir, only pints of beer (but I suppose I'm willing to give it a try). Keep in mind you'll need lots of time at Byblos, it's relaxing, but don't go if you have a hectic schedule planned. I've never had a poor experience at Maestro, I haven't been in a while, but I don't remember anything negative per se. It's not bad, and some dishes represent a decent value - it's not a "must go" by any means however. Joe Beef, Brunoise & APdC are all good choices. I would also recommend Lemeac - although l'Express is a Montreal landmark. Have an excellent trip!
  9. Diagree with the suggestion for the bar (terrasse) at the Nelligan. My last experience there can be summed up with the following: Terrible service - nearly a half hour wait for our drinks, another half hour for the second round, after which, the waiter spilled my companion's martini. Seleciton of beer was poor, and I don't remember much about the list of wines by the glass - but I don't remember being very excited about it. To top it off, my mojito had no mint. I have never eaten at Verses, so I cannot comment. The location is great however.... My vote goes to the Gault. Fabulous... (besides the bar doesn't actually close per se, you can order drinks well after 3 am)
  10. Ya just gotta love that yummy poisson d'avril... I miss my childhood...
  11. Is that the new one on Parc, just below Laurier? There have been a few places at the location over the past couple of years since La Creperie Bretonne closed - none have been able to make a go of it. Granted, they were all of the 'diner' variety. I'm curious to try it now...
  12. That may (or may not) be true; however we're lucky to have a plethora of very decent breakfast spots
  13. Here's the CBC article for those who only read English. Sad story, and no word yet as to whether the million dollar wine cellar is at all salvagable. I would think that there's a chance it could be, if the fire was confined to the upper stories.
  14. This is the first I hear of it - but the news seem very recent. I hope that the damage is not too significant. Sad news.
  15. Has anyone ever been to the diner that's in a pharmacy? I think it's called "la Pharamcie" and it's actually INSIDE a pharmacy in some mall in Anjou/St-Leonard. I went there once years ago, and it's a typical greasy spoon, but just the location is worth it for the novelty - I'm not even sure if it's still open... interesting in any case.
  16. Ok some good suggestions, so far I always enjoy my 'Beauty's experience' but I find it a little over priced for what you actually get. There's no fruit in the classic breakfasts, and that's always a let down for me - fruit is vital. The cheese blintzes are fabulous though - my favourite dish there. Mind you, I really haven't been in a long time. As for Avenue, the breakfasts there are HUGE. Plenty of fruit usually, and most of the time the plates are well prepared. I don’t like the crowds and I don’t like to wait. I don't usually recommend this place to friends/visitors despite that it's (almost) a Montreal icon. I’ll second Olive & Gourmando – everything is excellent, however I haven’t tried Cartet for breakfast just yet. A couple of suggestions from my nick of the woods: La Petite Ardoise on Laurier has some decent brunches and a nice quiet terasse in the back. Don’t expect classic bacon and eggs, though. If you like a more bohemian feel, try the Arts Café at Fairmount & Esplanade. Be prepared to wait a while, but enjoy a nice coffee while you do. Ramshackle furnishings thrown about and a real casual approach – makes everyone feel relaxed and at home. Brunches are decent as well – all named after famous artists. My preferences are the Kilmt and the Wood. A tiny place I discovered recently is the Mille et un Saveurs on Fairmount near St-Urbain. They have a ham & eggs crepe that’s super – they don’t scramble the eggs either, so you can enjoy the perfect eggs inside your crepe. Steer clear of the potatoes (*see note below). Vaudeville has a nice brunch. The benedict is nicely prepared, but in general it’s a bit more pricey albeit the fresh squeezed juice is included. Finally, as far as greasy-spoons go, I've always like Dusty's - though it had a nicer ambience before the expansion. Definitely avoid Eggspectations. *BTW, I don’t like fried potatoes in my breakfast, IMO they just don’t belong. So any of the above suggestion may/may not have good potatoes.
  17. Which Costco? The one on bridge? I rarely go there.... however...
  18. Yes, but I found their fries too thin - dry and overcooked. Actually, mine were rather lukewarm - which leads be to believe I got the bottom of barrel (or fry bin, as it were). Otherwise I quite like that place. Edit: I'm referring to Meatmarket - not l'Express
  19. Works fine for me, try this link: Menu Page
  20. I don't think privatisation is the solution - the prices certainly won't drop significantly. The profits will merely switch pockets. Better accountability, and a serious overhaul of the management will be welcome - the SAQ has become and autonomous republic, and no one seems serious about a coupe d'etat.
  21. grill-it

    TN: Drinkers' dozen

    Heya, Just stumbled onto this thread... How does one go about finding such SAQ wine tastings? I'm no longer in the biz - but I do love to eat (and of course, I enjoy my wine ) It seems I'm always a few steps behind whenever there are some interesting nouveautés... thanks in advance
  22. Wow - that's too bad. It was one of my favourite BYOW's in the city. I've always had an enjoyable experience there. I hope that they won't lose their loyal following that they've built up over the past couple of years....
  23. Wow! I went by a little earlier, and saw broken glass outside and plywood instead of a door. There's paper lining the windows - i was wondering what was up... pretty unfortunate
  24. Isn't l'OS related to les Infidels - with respect to ownership or the chef or something? I could be wrong...
  25. Yes - perhaps i'm just not hip with the terminology.... I've been to Mildred Pierce a few years back when I was in TO. I really did enjoy the meal, and I was just rying to associate my experience with 'camp' - well, now I know! Thanks!
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