Sunday, February 20, 2011

LE BOUCAN


We first heard about Le Boucan on a FoodNetwork Canada episode of David Adjey's show "The Opener". "The Opener" is a series hosted by chef and restaurant consultant David Adjey, which showcases first time restauranteurs experience the trials and tribulations of opening their first restaurants. After watching the episode we knew we'd have to go try this new Montreal BBQ restaurant for ourselves, it was just a matter of when.

We finally got around to eating at Le Boucan this weekend, and we're  ready to render our verdict. We arrived to a packed house of about 30 or 35 seats on a Saturday night and were welcomed by a friendly guy in a plaid shirt and blue jeans. The walls are accented with reclaimed barn wood, the mood is lively, and the music is fun and eclectic from Rod Stewart to the Beastie Boys.

The menu's are presented to us and we're very happy to see that Le Boucan supports local businesses and choose to serve  Bierbrier Ale. Bierbrier is a local Montreal brewery that brews a fantastic beer and deserves to be mentioned. We became fond of Bierbrier after it was the beer of choice in a restaurant one of us used to work at here in Montreal.

 Bierbrier Ale - SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESS!!

The Menu is what you would expect at a BBQ spot. Chicken, ribs, pulled pork, burgers, brisket & the classic side dishes fries, coleslaw, potato salad; y'know we're not reinventing the wheel here, but these are dishes that when done right, are always a home run and a pretty much guaranteed crowd pleaser, so long as you're not at a PETA rally.

We notice that at Le Boucan mac n' cheese is listed as an appetizer, NOT a side dish. So we order their mac n' cheese and cajun shrimps to start and the "Pit Boss" platter as our main, which is the house specialty platter for 2 people with a little bit of everything on it (1/2 chicken, 1/2 rack of ribs and pulled pork served with 3 sides of french fries, cole slaw and potato salad). Dessert was buttermilk pie.

The mac n' cheese was perfect. Served piled high in a classic onion soup bowl, the pasta was not overcooked, mushy or broken and the cheese sauce was just the right consistency, not too thick or too thin. They mix in chopped green onion and little bits of meat then top it with buttery fresh bread crumbles and finish it in the salamander broiler (usually we would be likely to assume the bits of meat in a mac n' cheese to be bacon, however, in a BBQ joint we couldn't be absolutely sure they weren't some other deliciously smoked meat product they serve that had been finely chopped and "multi-purposed". In either case they were a very welcomed addition).

 Mac n' Cheese - 8$

The "Cajun Shrimp" was an order of 4 shrimp. Tasty and not overcooked, they were seasoned with a spicy smokey dry rub and served hanging out of a small mason jar with the house BBQ sauce in the bottom. The dish was garnished with julienned yellow and red bell pepper. Although it was good, next time we go back we would probably substitute it for one of their other appetizers; priced a bit high at 9$ for 4 shrimp we didn't really feel the dish represented the good value you expect from a BBQ restaurant.

 Cajun Shrimp - 9$

The "Pit Boss" platter was excellent and a big surprise, here's why: The chicken was the best part! That's not to say that the ribs and pulled pork weren't top notch too, but usually, the chicken on a platter of this nature is far, far overshadowed by everything else given that it is, after all, chicken. Le Boucan's chicken however, in our opinion is clearly brined. We say this because otherwise it seems impossible to keep chicken as moist and juicy as this chicken was. An example of what BBQ style restaurant chicken should be; it was moist, tender and well basted with their house fruity smokey hot BBQ sauce. Their pulled pork was not the least bit dry, and full of all that flavor you expect to get when you slooowly cook and break down all the connective tissues that makes those types of cuts as delicious as they are. Next, the ribs, let's take a minute to go a little in-depth here for a moment. Anyone who knows anything about ribs knows the following: you do NOT want your ribs falling off the bones. That means the meat although still reasonably tasty, has been overcooked. Ideally what you are looking for is the moments just before the meat begins to fall off the bone where it separates easily, but you still leave a bite mark in the rib when eating. That is generally a perfect indicator for optimal tenderness. These ribs fit exactly the previous definition, and the pork flavor stood up well to their BBQ sauce. As for the sides, the fries were fresh cut and someone had clearly taken the time to do them properly; that is to say, blanched them first in a lower temperature oil before letting them cool and frying them hot and fast to order, and then seasoned with a bit of a spicy dry rub mix. The potato salad was nice and had chopped cornichons and dill in it. The coleslaw was vinegar based and made with red and green cabbage, a nice acid cut to the richness of all the meat.

 Sides - Coleslaw (L) Potato Salad (R)
 "Pit Boss" Platter - 42$ incl. 3 Sides

Although we probably should have skipped dessert, our waiter insisted we try the house buttermilk pie. We had never heard of butter milk pie before this weekend...we are now fans. It tasted a lot like a pie version of a fantastic apple crumble, minus the apples, plus buttermilky goodness (yes we are aware buttermilky is not a word). It had slightly spicy undertones, in that dessert kind of way like a pumpkin pie for example. It felt warm and tasted wonderful, topped with a very good quality vanilla ice cream. We were glad we took the waiter up on his recommendation

Buttermilk Pie - 7$

Le Boucan was good news BBQ food in Montreal's Little Burgundy neighborhood. Very tasty and executed well. Their chicken, ribs and pulled pork are taken to perfect doneness,  and their mac n' cheese is something they should brag about. A BBQ restaurant showing that it's simple food shines in the trendy late night restaurant scene when you don't cut corners. It's not the steal of a deal some roadside or fast-food BBQ joints may be, but a few things remain the same, you won't leave hungry and the mood is fun and laid back.  


Restaurant Le Boucan
1886 Rue Notre Dame O, near Des Seigneurs
Montreal QC
514-439-4555

Bierbrier Brewing Inc
370 Rue Guy G9
Montreal QC
514-933-7576

Le Boucan on Urbanspoon

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