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Where there's smoke...


chopper
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After reading the W.Grimes article in this wednesday's NY Times, I was wondering how Montrealers feel about the total smoking ban (in restaurants) that is sweeping through North America and other parts of the globe.

I know that several establishments in the city offer a non smoking environement, but does smoking still have it's place in dinning rooms; I'm not taking about bars or lounges, but should the city follow suit in it's restaurants, big or small.

Or should we become a destination for smoking diners from around the world ?

anyone ....

Michel

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I think there was actually a law that required completely seperate ventilation if there were to be smoking in a restaurant which would basically make most restaurants non-smoking, but if that is the case it's certainly not enforced and I wouldn't expect it to be anytime soon.

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As a reformed smoker I still think that smoking should be allowed at least at the bar area but don't much like it at the tables. As a client I resent it when I reserve a non smoking table and am seated at a table with an ashtray (and notice that every table has one).

I have on more than one occasion at my favourite St. Laurent eatery been seated at a non smoking table (right next to the bar????) when a couple of jerks light up monster cigars. I don't care how "cool" or "connected" the a**holes are but the manager should have the balls to tell them that cigars are simply not permitted.

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I think there was actually a law that required completely seperate ventilation if there were to be smoking in a restaurant which would basically make most restaurants non-smoking, but if that is the case it's certainly not enforced and I wouldn't expect it to be anytime soon.

Restaurants were given ten years to comply to said law, roughly five years ago.

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Patrice, good for you. I think all small or gastronomic restaurants should follow suit. I cannot stand smoking in restaurants. It makes me sick. This year I intend to nail every restaurant that doesn't separate the sections adequately.

I really admire places that are completely non-smoking. I can think of La Chronique, Le Club des Pins, Au Pied de Cochon, La Colombe... any others?

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Interesting, hadn't been to Lucca in awhile partly because the smoke always bothered me there. Still, I can't imagine restricting it ot the bar in a small place like that could make too much of a difference, at least the smoke would be less frequent I guess.

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Exactly,it's a compromise.Even the most hardcore smokers will greatly reduce the amount of cigarettes they'll have during the course of dinner if they have to get up and go the bar to light up.Many smokers will even abstain from smoking altogether if such a policy is in place.The dining room may not be completely smoke free, but the person at the next table (only inches away) won't be blowing smoke in your face either.

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I think the whole non-smoking policy is great! There is nothing worst than trying to eat your meal when all of a sudden the table next to you lights up. Being engulfed in a cloud of putrid smoke is not my idea of a wonderful meal :angry:

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its been my dream for years to have total non smoking in restaurants,i comend all restaurants who who will go this route,in our case its a bit harder cause of the hip crowd,(whatever)we still maintain 50%smoking reservations at globe ,rosalie is less at about 30%,it would take a law to make it easier for us to avoid confrontations,ferreira is non smoking and caprice as well,i went to a bar in yaletown in vancouver where there were 400 people all non smokin ,it was bizzare,but icame home and i smelled great ,l like a goat.

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I read in a magazine that a restaurant in New York which is completely non smoking, have introduced tobaco into their lunch menu.( Braised beef whith a red wine and tobaco sauce, tobaco infused creme brulee and there were a couple more but I had pretty munch lost my appetite by then. The crazy thing is people are ordering it and the place was doing further experiments to colaborate tabaco and cooking. What do you guys thinkof that!

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when i worked with thibert at ITHQ during last years highlights festival, he used "tabac de cuisine." i do believe it was dried mushrooms powdered.

the dish was queues de langoustines with jus de pesil and celerirave enrobé de tabac de cuisine.

"Bells will ring, ting-a-ling-a-ling, ting.... the bell... bing... 'moray" -John Daker

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We prefer to dine in totally smokefree restaurants. When we were in Montreal last summer, we wanted to try Toque and were pleased to learn when we called that, although they are not smokefree, they have a completely separate room for non-smokers. We were seated at a very nice table right near the front window. Had the tasting menu which was, of course, superb. :smile: My only complaint was with the music. As in so many restaurants, it was much too loud. :angry: Next time we're in Montreal, I'd like to try La Chronique. I gather I won't have to worry about smoke, but I wonder about music? :unsure:

Edited by rozrapp (log)
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Wow, that's strange, I don't remember ever hearing music at Toque!

I always ask restaurants to turn down the music if it's unpleasantly loud, and they usually do.

La Chronique does offer the requisite atmospheric background tunes. Quite pleasant, not at all loud.

Rozrapp, I can think of many, many Montreal restaurants you should avoid if noise is a problem. :blink:

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I am/used to be a smoker. I hate smoking in a restaurant or indoors to start with. It just drives me nuts. We had dinner at Pied de Cochon last night, some lady was smoking like someone gone mad in the "portique" the whole 10 cubic feet was a cloud of white smoke, then she opened the door and let it all in on our table... how classy...

La Chronique also offers a tobaccoe desert, I'm not sure if it is still on but there was a Cohiba infused desert with chocolate.

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My only complaint was with the music. As in so many restaurants, it was much too loud.  Next time we're in Montreal, I'd like to try La Chronique. I gather I won't have to worry about smoke, but I wonder about music?

when i was at toqué, the music was PAT METHENY GROUP - STILL LIFE (TALKING), only one of the best albums i own. it was the cherry on top.

joey

"Bells will ring, ting-a-ling-a-ling, ting.... the bell... bing... 'moray" -John Daker

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Wow, that's strange, I don't remember ever hearing music at Toque!

I always ask restaurants to turn down the music if it's unpleasantly loud, and they usually do.

La Chronique does offer the requisite atmospheric background tunes. Quite pleasant, not at all loud.

Rozrapp, I can think of many, many Montreal restaurants you should avoid if noise is a problem.  :blink:

Lesley, They were playing jazz vocals when we were at Toque. While I much prefer no music, if it has to be, I prefer classical. And I am not at all shy about requesting that the music be lowered if it truly bothers me. As a matter of fact, my husband and I just came back from a local (NJ) seafood place we frequent, definitely not at all fancy. They seated us in a booth we had not sat in before. It was right beneath a speaker from which emanated a most annoying radio station. We asked our server to have it lowered, and she immediately complied. I commented to my husband that I can never understand what having music in a restaurant accomplishes. It's particularly ridiculous to have it in those places where the decibel levels are already through the roof and the music -- which can barely be heard -- just adds to the cacophany. Yet, the owners still have it. My husband said that studies have shown that music does make a difference in diners' dispositions. Or maybe it's the servers'. We then launched into a review of the music situation in many of the restaurants we know: whether or not they play music, what kind of music it is, and how loud it is. In some cases, we couldn't remember if there was music, so I guess there either wasn't any, or it was so unobtrusive that it wasn't at all disturbing.

I should mention that, in Montreal, we also ate at Chez la Mere Michel. There was no smoking in the room where we were seated, and I don't remember any background music. A very pleasant environment! Oh, yes, and the food was quite good as well. :smile:

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I often go to Mere Michele with the office, we usually rent the enclosed glass room (I know that is smoking because I have smoked there many times). That place serves great food, however, the same excellent quality can be prepared at lower prices in other places. The one thing that always amazes me are the worn out suits on the waiters. The service is amazing and the "old getto baroque" atmosphere is acceptable for a few times (although it brings ina lot of "old money folks"), the stop line for me is when the waiters still have the same suits they had in 1950... you know when the elbows, the lapels and the butts on everyones suit is shinny and thin, it's time to change them... Polyester has seen days gone by and it doesn't need to be Dubuc suits either... I'd rather see all of theme in Kakies then in those old monkey suits...

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Since you are a Montrealer and I am not, I will take your word that there are restaurants with food as good as Mere Michel at lower prices. Going to dinner there was actually a spur of the moment thing. We were walking by, and my husband spotted a dish on the menu posted outside that really appealed to him, so in we went to make a reservation for that evening. The service was, indeed, excellent -- very professional in every respect. The staff -- all male -- were attired in tuxedos, if I recall correctly. Are those the worn out "monkey suits" to which you are referring?

Edited by rozrapp (log)
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I am an on/off tobacco smoker. Even as a smoker I do not appreciate eating in a smoke filled environment. Very simply, a fine dining experience should not include a tasting(or in this case a smelling) of variouse brands of tobacco. Doesn't the idea of enjoying a fine meal include among other things savouring the aromas of wonderfuly prepared food? Taste and smell are senses that work together. Ever try tasting something while your nose is plugged? If I am going out to a good restaurant I want to be surrounded in a comfortable environment ideal for full enjoyment and appreciation of the meal I am going to eat. Isn't that what I am paying for? How can one enjoy the full flavour of any food while breathing and therefore smelling tobacco smoke?

On the other hand a chef may intentionally play with your senses and send a steaming or smoking dish to the table. This is the point. Smell is a huge part of eating!

Hey Chopper, remember the venison in London? :smile:

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rozrapp, yes, this is what I refer to. You can call them tuxedo, I call them baggage boy suits... I don't mean any disrespect but we are talking really old polyester tux's here. Last time I went, one guy had unmatched pants and his hands were barely showing from his tux. This clearly tells me that they walk in and just shove one of the hanging tux on their back... Again, great, amazing food, great service and I guess this old unrevived french approach still has it's place, and why not Mere Michelle for it... It's like dealing with the Pepin encyclopedia of techniques... It's a classic but when you look at the plate dressing/styling... it really is a old classic...

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identifiler, I totally agree that there's absolutely nothing wrong with those old-style French bistros which offer what you term the "unrevived" approach to cuisine, particularly when the food is excellent. We have a couple of favorites of that kind in NYC which have been around for 25 or 30 years. The waiters do not, however, wear tuxedos.

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