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Modavie Wine Bar Jazz


breezer
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Went there and I have to say that the food was deliiiiscious (Rack of Lamb), and the wine list ....very complete...all that and the best Jazz house band in town....The Greg Clayton Trio, I was amazed. Service and ambiance A1. Pretty girls too. Even saw Ray Liotta there! Old Montreal's finest.

Edited by breezer (log)
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Hello everyone,

Just found out about this site a few days ago and registered earlier today. Really interesting to be able to discuus various issues with other members of our Montreal restaurant community.

Breezer, thanks for the kind words on Modavie. I am glad you enjoyed it. :biggrin:

Modavie is one of the restaurants in our group of restaurants and hotels in Old Montreal, which includes among others Hotel Nelligan, Hotel Place d'Armes, Les Remparts and Restaurant du Vieux-Port.

Modavie is a mediterranean bistro that has been around since 1997. After a number of menu changes in the first couple of years, it came into it's own a few years ago and found an identity with its Live Jazz every night of the week. It has always been a great lunch restaurant for the local judges, lawyers and shipping types, but has now also become a destination for great food with live jazz entertainment.

Although many of the items on the menu change regularly, the most popular dish is the rack of lamb which is prepared in different ways. The wine list is also quite elaborate and there is a beautiful glass wine cellar near the bar. Modavie is a great place to enjoy a great dinner in a comfortable atmosphere.

Take a look at our website: www.modavie.com

Hope you will all come visit sometime.

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Lessee. Breezer drops in from out of nowhere and makes his first post here within four minutes of joining, a rave review (no specifics, though; interesting, eh?) that sounds like ad copy and, gollygeewhiz, hits all the points emphasized on the Modavie website: "our specialty: lamb," attractive serveuses in blouses, "the best jazz house in town" (I'm sure Upstairs might have a thing or two to say about that), amazingly complete wine list, first-rate service and decor. Then, coincidence of coincidences, the restaurant's owner pops up an hour and a half later with still more ad copy and a link to his website.

And what are we to make of the fact that both of them joined eGullet within minutes of each other? Walnuts' member number is 9535, Breezer's 9539.

All this against a backdrop of less than positive reviews from acquaintances of mine who have eaten there and from particpants on other fora (Chowhound, for example). And, by the way, their wine list is merely correct, absolutely nothing you'd make a detour for. The resto has been around for awhile and yet has generated zero buzz; in fact, LC hadn't even heard of it. What does that tell you?

Maybe I'm paranoid but this whole thread just reeks of spam. Nuke it?

Edited by carswell (log)
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Hi Carswell,

Hate to start up in eGullet with such controversy. To be very honest with you, I have no idea who Breezer is, although I do agree that his comments are rather superfluous. I did e-mail a bunch of friends and employees the site address when I learned about it, so I guess it can be someone among them.

As far as my input is concerned, I was simply responding to LC's question about the place and just giving a more objective description, which I believe, from reading other entries, is common practice on the forum.

Now, with regards to the quality and notoriety of the restaurant, I'd rather not get into a heated debate at this moment. I will say though that with or without a review by LC or previous Gazette writers, Modavie is in its seventh year of operation and is rather profitable with a rather large regular client base, as opposed to other restaurants that have gotten great reviews and are now closed or struggling. I never made any claims and only posted in response to previous posts by Breezer and LC.

Finally, with regards to the post on chowhound, I can probably find negative comments on any restaurant if I looked on the net.

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OK people, let's not jump to conclusions too quickly here. I have no problem with people who come here to plug restaurants, though I'd take them a lot more seriously if they posted or signed under their real name.

I, for one, can hear about a new place, check it out and judge for myself. If I haven't heard of this establishment it must be pretty casual. After reviewing over 200 restos, trust me, I'm always glad to hear about something I might have missed. :smile:

And for new people posting, please if you can, try to go into a bit of detail. A mere delicious doesn't really tell us much. Also, price range is helpful.

Thanks. :wink:

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I'm not one for conspiracies - so I'll let any coincidences carswell has pointed out remain exactly that: coincidences. Welcome walnuts - the Nelligan is a beautiful hotel, congratulations.

As for Modavie - been there twice, the last time was about two years ago.

I still remember, 'cause my friends car was stolen that evening. Haven't felt the urge to go back.

The lettuce in my salad was nearly wilted, and for a main I had some sort of surf & turf type dish. The steak was good, although a little too salty (I usually find steaks served in restos over-salted, so maybe it's just me :rolleyes: ) and the shrimps were slight dry/overcooked. The place was loud & lively (and yes, the girls were pretty) - I don't remember much about the wine list.

In all, not too bad - especially for tourists. (Definitely not what I would call 'top', though...)

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I have no problem with people who come here to plug restaurants

In other words, spammers are welcome?! :shock:

I, for one, can hear about a new place, check it out and judge for myself.

Right. And you eat out how many times a month? And it's often not your money you're forking over, is it? And, after all, even if the meal ends up a bust, it will still make for an "entertaining" article (we all love to read about bad experiences), won't it?

But what about Joe Tourist who has to decide which restaurant he's going to dine at on his one free evening in Montreal? What about Jane Student who scrapes together enough cash to splurge on one big night a year? What about Mr. and Mrs. Petawawa, Ontario, who are assigned the unfortunate task of organizing a wedding reception in Old Montreal, a place they haven't been to in 14 years? They drop by a Montreal resto board and read a review (quite possibly posted serreptitiously by an employee of the restaurant or a friend of the owner) that says a restaurant is not only perfect but also the city's top jazz venue (you know, not long ago I contacted the hosts of the two most popular jazz programs on local radio to ask about venues, and neither mentioned Modavie). They believe the owner's hype that it's a "destination" restaurant, a "great place" that serves "great food," "great lunches" and "great dinners." And they head out expecting an "A1" experience, only to be served French onion soup that tastes like dishwater with plastic on top or -- to stick with comments from people I actually know who've eaten at Modavie (their comments being the main reason I haven't) -- food that is utterly banal, food that is (to quote grill-it) "not too bad -- espeically for tourists." Is a "feel free to plug your restaurant here" policy fair to Joe and Jane and the Petawawas?

Yeah, the easy answer is "buyer beware." But as a food- and wine-lover who works his butt off and forgoes many things that others take for granted (a car, non-minimalist furniture, a more-than-bare-bones wardrobe, fancy vacations) in order to support his passion (addiction?), as a pleb who doesn't have the good fortune to be able to check out every new place he hears about and judge for himself, as someone who to some extent relies on input from third parties in making his dining decisions, I would like some assurance that what I read on restaurant fora is not spam, that the reviews here and elsewhere (including the newspapers) are not compromised by insider connections and fraternization with those who serve what the critic is to judge. Be aware that for some of us it hurts, it really hurts, to drop a C-note or two on a mediocre (or worse) meal.

Most discussion fora (e.g. Chowhound, eRobertParker, West Coast Wine Board, Wine/Food Lovers' Discussion Group) have strong anti-spam policies for just the above reasons. Indeed, if anything, those boards err on the side of excessive vigilance. Am astounded and disappointed to learn that such a policy does not apply here.

Edited by carswell (log)
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Carswell,

As I mentioned earlier I do not condone promoting a restaurant on this forum with simple puffery. Furthermore, I never described Modavie as a fine dining destination. The reason LC has not reviewed is because it does not fall in the category of Toqué or Remparts and Cube.

However, it does bother me how you continuously berate the restaurant without having tried it out. Modavie has been and continues to be one of the only restaurants that does very well all year long in Old Montreal. This is because clients return regularly because the food is good and because they enjoy their experience. Hotel concierges have continued to support the restaurant for many years because they get excellent comments from their guests. In fact, it is most probably one of the most popular and enjoyed restaurants amongst my hotel guests.

As far as the online comments are concerned, you did not bother copying any of the positive ones available online. The internet is open to anyone to write whatever they like, and I agree that sometime people can get duped with what is written online, but surfers have to take this into consideration when making a selection. You cannot look at one comment online and base your opinion on that. The person writing the comment could have written it maliciously or simply happened to pass by the restaurant on a bad night. The perfect example would have been my dinner tonight. I am very regular client at Globe, often visiting once every week. I love the food there and I return because of it (among other reasons). Tonight, however, the food and service were very mediocre. (Sorry David) If I had to write a review about the place and based myself solely on tonight's experience, especially after all the positive comments I read on this board today, it would not have been very pretty. But that would not be fair, because this is really the exception.

Now, although I agree that a post like Breezer's does not really have its place on this board, a tourist or student reading it should treat it with the same reservation you did.

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But what about Joe Tourist who has to decide which restaurant he's going to dine at on his one free evening in Montreal? What about Jane Student who scrapes together enough cash to splurge on one big night a year? What about Mr. and Mrs. Petawawa, Ontario, who are assigned the unfortunate task of organizing a wedding reception in Old Montreal, a place they haven't been to in 14 years? They drop by a Montreal resto board and read a review (quite possibly posted serreptitiously by an employee of the restaurant or a friend of the owner) that says a restaurant is not only perfect but also the city's top jazz venue (you know, not long ago I contacted the hosts of the two most popular jazz programs on local radio to ask about venues, and neither mentioned Modavie). They believe the owner's hype that it's a "destination" restaurant, a "great place" that serves "great food," "great lunches" and "great dinners." And they head out expecting an "A1" experience, only to be served French onion soup that tastes like dishwater with plastic on top or -- to stick with comments from people I actually know who've eaten at Modavie (their comments being the main reason I haven't) -- food that is utterly banal, food that is (to quote grill-it) "not too bad -- espeically for tourists." Is a "feel free to plug your restaurant here" policy fair to Joe and Jane and the Petawawas?

Yeah, the easy answer is "buyer beware." But as a food- and wine-lover who works his butt off and forgoes many things that others take for granted (a car, non-minimalist furniture, a more-than-bare-bones wardrobe, fancy vacations) in order to support his passion (addiction?), as a pleb who doesn't have the good fortune to be able to check out every new place he hears about and judge for himself, as someone who to some extent relies on input from third parties in making his dining decisions, I would like some assurance that what I read on restaurant fora is not spam, that the reviews here and elsewhere (including the newspapers) are not compromised by insider connections and fraternization with those who serve what the critic is to judge. Be aware that for some of us it hurts, it really hurts, to drop a C-note or two on a mediocre (or worse) meal.

I am willing to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but at the same time it occured to me that serious "foodies" do not really like the same restaurants as Joe Tourist and Jane Student. While I also hate spending my hard earned dollars on what I consider to be a lousy meal I realize that establishments like Weinstien & Gavinos, Cage Aux Sports, Boccacinos, etc. survive because the "general public" obviously has far different taste and expectations than we do.

That being said, it is entirely possible that Joe Tourist and Jane Student, would have the time of their lives at Modavie. It is also possible that Joe and Jane would not like a meal at Toque, La Chronique, or Les Caprices de Nicholas.

Who knows, maybe Beezer works at Modavie and is an overzealous employee, but then again, perhaps he works in Old Montreal and eats there because he loves it.

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But what about Joe Tourist who has to decide which restaurant he's going to dine at on his one free evening in Montreal? What about Jane Student who scrapes together enough cash to splurge on one big night a year? What about Mr. and Mrs. Petawawa, Ontario, who are assigned the unfortunate task of organizing a wedding reception in Old Montreal, a place they haven't been to in 14 years? They drop by a Montreal resto board and read a review (quite possibly posted serreptitiously by an employee of the restaurant or a friend of the owner) that says a restaurant is not only perfect but also the city's top jazz venue (you know, not long ago I contacted the hosts of the two most popular jazz programs on local radio to ask about venues, and neither mentioned Modavie). They believe the owner's hype that it's a "destination" restaurant, a "great place" that serves "great food," "great lunches" and "great dinners." And they head out expecting an "A1" experience, only to be served French onion soup that tastes like dishwater with plastic on top or -- to stick with comments from people I actually know who've eaten at Modavie (their comments being the main reason I haven't) -- food that is utterly banal, food that is (to quote grill-it) "not too bad -- espeically for tourists." Is a "feel free to plug your restaurant here" policy fair to Joe and Jane and the Petawawas?

Yeah, the easy answer is "buyer beware." But as a food- and wine-lover who works his butt off and forgoes many things that others take for granted (a car, non-minimalist furniture, a more-than-bare-bones wardrobe, fancy vacations) in order to support his passion (addiction?), as a pleb who doesn't have the good fortune to be able to check out every new place he hears about and judge for himself, as someone who to some extent relies on input from third parties in making his dining decisions, I would like some assurance that what I read on restaurant fora is not spam, that the reviews here and elsewhere (including the newspapers) are not compromised by insider connections and fraternization with those who serve what the critic is to judge. Be aware that for some of us it hurts, it really hurts, to drop a C-note or two on a mediocre (or worse) meal.

I am willing to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but at the same time it occured to me that serious "foodies" do not really like the same restaurants as Joe Tourist and Jane Student. While I also hate spending my hard earned dollars on what I consider to be a lousy meal I realize that establishments like Weinstien & Gavinos, Cage Aux Sports, Boccacinos, etc. survive because the "general public" obviously has far different taste and expectations than we do.

That being said, it is entirely possible that Joe Tourist and Jane Student, would have the time of their lives at Modavie. It is also possible that Joe and Jane would not like a meal at Toque, La Chronique, or Les Caprices de Nicholas.

Who knows, maybe Beezer works at Modavie and is an overzealous employee, but then again, perhaps he works in Old Montreal and eats there because he loves it.

What you're saying makes perfect sense but the board is not only for serious foodies(foodies in training may be lurking).... : :wink: smile:

But also, being tourists, students, and foodies are not mutually exclusive. They could vry well have high expectations too. Hopefully they have enough common sense to know that what a resto puts on its website is publicity, not necessarily an objective third party commentary.

Edited by jersey13 (log)
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Carswell, there are plenty of chefs on this board (make that chef/owners) who talk about their restaurants all the time. Different people do it in different ways. BUT what I know (I've been hosting this board for a while) is that posts like the one above hold little weight. Unless people go into a bit of detail, someone saying something is delicious is no big deal in my book. When they start posting the price of the daily specials, then I'll start to get annoyed. :hmmm:

Also, if the restaurant isn't good (which I'm not saying is the case with this restaurant because I haven't been) I know people will jump on board and start to give their opinion. Notice, that's exactly what happened here.

So in the long run, the mysterious breezer's spam-like post did more harm to Mondavie Wine Bar Jazz than good.

Let that be a lesson to future spammers. :angry:

(and PS about the CH MTL message board: I've found inaccurate information on there, and that to me is more harmful than spam)

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But also, being tourists, students, and foodies are not mutually exclusive.  They could vry well have high expectations too.  Hopefully they have enough common sense to know that what a resto puts on its website is publicity, not necessarily an objective third party commentary.

My point is that if the world were populated solely by "foodies" there would not be so many mediocre restaurants.

Most people are willing to settle for less and indeed find a lot of serious food too fussy.

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Most people are willing to settle for less and indeed find a lot of serious food too fussy.

I agree with your post entirely. To that effect, I realise that I neglected to mention that some my dinner companions that night seemed to be entirely satisfied with their experience at Modavie, whereas I was not.

We mustn't forget that for some, eating is an evil necessity :o

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Speaking as a cook in a restaurant where many so-called "Foodies" must go, I am disappointed and almost outraged by the way this thread is going. For one thing, it is impossible that diners at restaurants like Toque are exclusively foodies. Any restaurant that depended on such a small group of diners would not last long. In fact, even in such restaurants, the majority of clients are Joe tourist, Joe Student, or Joe Averages that like to eat food that tastes good. And it had best taste really good, because at that price most people have expectations that potato foam won't satisfy.

The mere term Foodie smacks of a dining elitism that to me seems ridiculous. EVERYONE likes to eat well. Most high end food IS too fussy. This in my mind comes from the idea that food at some point becomes art. The Foodies I suppose are supposed to appreciate that trancendental moment where cooking exceeds the craft necessary in it production. Meticulous craft is what defines cooking. Art hangs on walls.

The basis of good tasting food is very simple. Correct seasoning. Balance of acidity. Harmony of flavours. Some degree of visual appeal is generally desired. I find it ironic in an era when TV chefs are touting simplicity and balance of two or three ingredients that truly simple food fails to impress. Frankly, (although I don't like them at all) I have never had an underseasoned Big M*c.

In the "World populated by Foodies" there would be a LOT of mediocre restaurants. There would be less Schwartz's, less fry joints and 99cent pizza, but we could be certain that there would be more over-wrought, over-intellectualised food that would ultimately leave us just as disappointed.

Eating is a necessary pleasure :wub:

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The basis of good tasting food is very simple.  Correct seasoning.  Balance of acidity.  Harmony of flavours.  Some degree of visual appeal is generally desired.  I find it ironic in an era when TV chefs are touting simplicity and balance of two or three ingredients that truly simple food fails to impress.  Frankly, (although I don't like them at all)  I have never had an underseasoned Big M*c. 

In the "World populated by Foodies"  there would be a LOT of mediocre restaurants.  There would be less Schwartz's, less fry joints and 99cent pizza, but we could be certain that there would be more over-wrought, over-intellectualised food that would ultimately leave us just as disappointed. 

Eating is a necessary pleasure :wub:

Actually, what I meant was, in world populated by foodies, people would get their smoked meat at places exactly like Schwartz's but not at Nickels. There would be lots of great fry joints but fewer La Belle Province outlets. Pizza would taste great instead of just greasy. I had lunch at Romados on Rachel E. yesterday and had b.b.q. chicken and fries which were orgasmically good (all for well under $10) and from a culinary universe light years away from Suisse Chalet.

Your point about good tasting food being simple is correct. That is why it is so offensive to pay good money for bad food. When I go out to eat I am not expecting foams and the like. What I am expecting is flavour!

And by the way when I use the term "foodie" I mean someone who cares about the food that they eat, both in terms of taste and quality. I don't think of that as elitism. For the record, I eat at Toque about once every year or so, but I can assure you, I eat three really good meals a day.

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Chewie I'm with you on the simplicity thing. I don't think it's really about fuss or no fuss, but as you said, it's about seasoning, exploiting the product and good taste. I think all this elaborate restaurant food is an attempt on the chef's part to be original. But then you have to ask how original it is when you see plate presentations lifted straight from magazines like Art Culinaire. :hmmm:

But I would argue that some people just don't care about what they are eating. That can change if they are exposed to a lot of good food, but I know a lot of people who don't give a stuff about food and who shovel back bad Chinese and dreary pasta raving about how good it is. :rolleyes:

OK, this is getting off topic. I'm sure plenty of people have opinions on this topic, but they will never find this discussion going on in a thread about the Modavie Wine bar. :rolleyes:

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Modavie has been and continues to be one of the only restaurants that does very well all year long in Old Montreal.  This is because clients return regularly because the food is good and because they enjoy their experience.  Hotel concierges have continued to support the restaurant for many years because they get excellent comments from their guests.

Do you think the fact that Modavie is owned by the Antonopoulos family who control 3 hotels in Old Montreal has anything to do with the concierges recommendations?

Walnuts, you obviously work at Modavie or for the Antonopoulos family. Do you work specifically at Modavie or in another interest or function.

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I meant concierges of other major hotels, Intercontinental, Le Saint-Sulpice, Château Champlain, Hotel Saint-Paul, etc.

Yes. I mentioned in my first post that I was part of the Antonopoulos group. I used to be asst. manager at Modavie 4-5 years ago, but now am general manager of Hôtel Place d'Armes.

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Nava went bankrupt two weeks ago and the hotel will finally take control of the restaurant. This has been a great source of problems for our guests and employees, almost from day one, so it is going to be a breath of fresh air to finally be able to dictate the level of service and quality available in the hotel's restaurant.

We have not finalised all the details, so I will get back to you soon on the name and cuisine, but the chef will be Janick Bouchard from Les Remparts restaurant. We are most probably looking at a September opening, but it might be October depending on when the bankruptcy proceedings with the old tenants clear up.

In fact, we are looking for sous-chefs and a maître d'hôtel, so if you know anyone, I would appreciate the assistance. :smile:

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