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Montreal vs NYC


alex_b
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Hmmm... Despite what I think... Toque is good, like REALLY good for out of towners... they seem to love it. For me, I feel really like I'm paying for th Epcot version of 514!

Lesley, as for the claim that the "great" Montreal chefs are pure l'aine from here (Laprise, Claude Pelltetier, Picard. Godbout?! etc.) good for them - but I hope to g*d they have the time/money to travel elsewhere and see how it is done. Foie gras poutine and magret at Au Pied de Cochon were practically inedible but still looked good on the plate.

Where is David McMillan these days? Dinner at Globe was a freaking joke this week, as was lunch at Rosalie... Does he still steer the oars of our greatest celeb-hangouts/NYC combatants? The girls that work there are gorgeous but the food has really fallen apart! I am eating at TIME tomorrow night and hope it turns out better....

I will say that RAPIDO on St. Denis still turns out the most lovely poutine at 3:30am! God bless Montreal!

Edited by Vinfidel (log)
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Yes, I think a lot of them get out and about and travel. But do they have to go to NY to see how it's done right? Does Picard have to vacation in the Perigord to relearn his magret skills? Please. No trip is going to help Picard make a better poutine. He can do it. He certainly used to. It's more about refocusing his restaurant than going on stage.

Don't forget, APdC is not a fancy restaurant. It's casual, despite the fact that the prices have gone up (when I first dined there, no dish was above $20). And really chefs like Picard and McMillan can do haute cuisine in their sleep. It was their choice -- and a wise one it seems -- to go bistro instead of competing with upscale restos like Toque!

As for places like Globe and Rosalie disappointing, don't forget these guys just went through Grand Prix weekend. Cut them a bit of slack. Some of these chefs look like they're in desperate need of a vacation!

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I suspect Montreal can't touch Manhattan at the luxury high end of haute cuisine and it's probably not worth trying to prove how close it comes. Stick to the middle ground of casual and better bistros where most people eat most often and your friend may well be inpressed one way or the other. It's always hard to know what to expect in terms of personal taste, especially in food.

If you have avoided Montreal for over decade, this is a difficult position to support.

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Yes, I think a lot of them get out and about and travel. But do they have to go to NY to see how it's done right? Does Picard have to vacation in the Perigord to relearn his magret skills? Please. No trip is going to help Picard make a better poutine. He can do it. He certainly used to. It's more about refocusing his restaurant than going on stage.

Don't forget, APdC is not a fancy restaurant. It's casual, despite the fact that the prices have gone up (when I first dined there, no dish was above $20). And really chefs like Picard and McMillan can do haute cuisine in their sleep. It was their choice -- and a wise one it seems -- to go bistro instead of competing with upscale restos like Toque!

As for places like Globe and Rosalie disappointing, don't forget these guys just went through Grand Prix weekend. Cut them a bit of slack. Some of these chefs look like they're in desperate need of a vacation!

Hmm... If Globe is to Pastis/Balthazar/Spice Market, as Montreal is to NYC, as Grand Prix Weekend in 514 is to any weekend night in NYC, I would expect that they can handle the rush. There are only so many tables at Globe and hence so many seatings, it's not like all the floozies at the bar are eating as well as downing 7 Cosmos on GP weekend?! I love how the Globe Wine List has every stereotypical 'cult' California Cab on their list at outrageous prices but all anyone is drinking is $20 Liberty School cab blends for $65!! That group needs to get their sh*t together, I hope that the pizzas at Buonna Notte are as great as they used to be!

I enjoyed your review of L'Express in the Gazzagoogazoo today. My, how that paper has gone to pot! I suppose they have grade school children writing the news columns. Anywayss, I digress: Your columns are the last saving grace of a dim jewel in the Southam tiara. Btw, would you characterize the beef at Biftheque as anything as good as the aged beef at LOBELS in NYC? Have not been to Biftheque (where is Cote de Liesse?! Do they deliver?!) but I will be swinging by very soon to check them out.

My brother tells me that some of the best 'black market' cheese in San Francisco is in fact Quebec cheese! He will send me some names and I'll post them here.

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it's funny to see how the restaurants on the main and the buena notte group restos are being compared to NYC's best spots...

Montrealers don't even consider those as good culinary experiences, so they definitly can't compare to NYC.

Regardless, I do believe that NYC still blows MTL out of the water, just due to the sheer size of the city.

But, we do have some very good spots that are very often off the tourist paths: the Club Chasse et Peche, Juni, Raza, Version, Anise, Epicier, etc Now, we are talking...

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it's funny to see how the restaurants on the main and the buena notte group restos are being compared to NYC's best spots...

Montrealers don't even consider those as good culinary experiences, so they definitly can't compare to NYC.

Regardless, I do believe that NYC still blows MTL out of the water, just due to the sheer size of the city. 

But, we do have some very good spots that are very often off the tourist paths: the Club Chasse et Peche, Juni, Raza, Version, Anise, Epicier, etc  Now, we are talking...

Of the restaurants mentioned by you, I have been to Le Club Chasse et Peche and Chez L'Epicier. The others I have not. I have had some superb meals at Chez L'Epicier and one clunker. At Le Club, it was good, but I was a bit turned off with how they promoted sharing dishes and served them "family style" rather than in small individual plates. The food was good and the original presentation well done, but the subsequent distribution method did not IMO work for the style of food served. I would rather have had everything served in tasting portions. My overall impression of the restaurant would probably have been better then. They also didn't have any of the highly regarded risotti on the menu when I was there :angry::sad:

While I have enjoyed a number of superb dining experiences in Montreal the truly stellar ones over the years were at Toque (old), Le Chevre, Rosalie and Chez L'Epicier. Ones high on my list that I haven't been to yet include Bronte, La Chronique, Brunoise and Anise. Some day.

The bottom line to me is that Montreal shouldn't worry about competing with New York City. Just be Montreal. It certainly has plenty to offer. This New Yorker, for one, loves it.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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The closest I have gotten to Lobels is perusing their web site and watching them barbecue with Martha Stewart. But Jesus, that is some expensive meat!

As for the Main restaurants, I know several critics who will not set foot in those restaurants. They don't take them seriously, and that's a mistake. I have had as many good meals on the Main as bad. And the bad places are all long gone (save for one that will remain nameless).

As for numbers, I would think places like Spice Market aren't doing 700 covers a night, which is about what Globe was doing on GP Weekend (at Buena Notte they expected up to 1,000!). And Spice Market is set up to do high numbers on a daily basis, not one weekend a year.

I reviewed L'Express on GP week, because I knew it was the only restaurant in town really ready to handle hundreds any day of the week. Turned out no to be all that busy after all.

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it's funny to see how the restaurants on the main and the buena notte group restos are being compared to NYC's best spots...

Montrealers don't even consider those as good culinary experiences, so they definitly can't compare to NYC.

Regardless, I do believe that NYC still blows MTL out of the water, just due to the sheer size of the city. 

But, we do have some very good spots that are very often off the tourist paths: the Club Chasse et Peche, Juni, Raza, Version, Anise, Epicier, etc  Now, we are talking...

Yes, and New Yorkers do not consider Pastis and Gramercy Tavern or Bolo to be their best as well!

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I thought that word was too strong.  All Bux said was " have not been" in Montreal for over a decade.  My apologies.

Accepted. After all, I've made more visits to Montreal than to London or Rome. I've been there more recently than to L.A. or Vienna. I have in fact, gone out of my way to get to Montreal, but never gone out of my way to avoid it. I'm in this thread more to learn than to advise. I think my best advice was that it's hard for any of us to second guess what someone else will like anyway. As little as I know about Montreal, I am less able to guess what will impress or please another New Yorker.

I'll still bet on a Montreal bagel. It's not that it's necessarily a better thing than a NY bagel, it's just that NY bagels aren't bagels any more. They're just another variety of a roll without the distinguishing character that made a bagel a bagel.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I thought that word was too strong.  All Bux said was " have not been" in Montreal for over a decade.  My apologies.

Accepted. After all, I've made more visits to Montreal than to London or Rome. I've been there more recently than to L.A. or Vienna. I have in fact, gone out of my way to get to Montreal, but never gone out of my way to avoid it. I'm in this thread more to learn than to advise. I think my best advice was that it's hard for any of us to second guess what someone else will like anyway. As little as I know about Montreal, I am less able to guess what will impress or please another New Yorker.

But all these visits are before the new millenium? This is a new city compared to the cesspool this place was in the mid-90s .

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Having eaten at Bolo many times I can confirm that the service can be sloppy, but I've never had the experience that the food was anything but fabulous. More to the point: we have nothing even remotely similar to it in Montreal. I also love Gramercy Tavern, but I wouldn't classify it as one of NYC's best. Pastis, as with all of McNally's restaurants, is about consistency and see-and-be-seen. It's one of NYC's 50+ L'Expresses!

La Chronique is awesome because it is uniquely Montrealais; hip but not standoffish, with all the $ on the plate (certainly not on the decor). I certainly wouldn't call it "high-end," certainly not if you are comparing to NYC's high-end.

My point from my last comment was a four-day trip to NYC will reveal very little about the true depth of that city's gastro capabilities. I'm not just talking high-end, I also include the regular middle of the road eateries that are really incredible. The pizza, the bread, the markets, the fish, etc. Places like Casa Mono and Bar Jamon (200 bottles of wine on the list, all of them high QPR) don't exist here. For whatever reason: size, money, apathy we cannot compete with NYC on these fronts but we can compete with how much spirit and pride Montrealers have about our certainly more modest goodies.

One thing that shocks me about Montreal is our crappy bakeries. Where can one get a real Parisian baguette here? I'm talking crispy on the outside, soft and ethereal on the inside... I tried Au Pain Dore on Peel St., Olive & Gourmando, the breadshop inside Atwater Market - all of them substandard. How come we don't have Le Pain Quotidien here?!

If I were a restaurant entrepreneur, I would buy all the junky restaurants in and around Place Jacques Cartier and turn them into entry-level gastro-destinations that could be open year-round and would show the tourist masses just how much we love our food and wine in Montreal!

And yes, I agree - we have the best bagels in the world here!

Hi-did you try the bread at Le Fromentier on Laurier east-have not tried their baguettes but their walnut bread and their chestnut croissants are great...

Alida

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Hi-did you try the bread at Le Fromentier on Laurier east-have not tried their baguettes but their walnut bread and their chestnut croissants are great...

Alida

Ditto on Le Fromentier, though the selection's usually a bit thin by the time I get there at the end of the day. Go to Olives and Olives a couple of doors east to pick up some Spanish olive oil (and olives) to go with the bread.

It's really too bad that Le Passe-Partout is no more; McGuire's baking really was/is top-notch.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The difference between NYC and MTL is too big.

There is way more money in NYC so many good chefs are there.

I think it's not the same for MTL and some restaurants find it difficult.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Try Les Chevres....they're open on Mondays....nice bread and the vegetables are out of this world!

I'd rather live in a world without truffles than in a world without onions.

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