Hugue Dufour, the chef and owner of the currently closed M. Wells restaurant in New York was in town this past weekend co-hosting a couple of events with Montreal's very own taco truck pioneers, Grumman '78. Chef Dufour is well known in Montreal as the former sous-chef and partner at Au Pied de Cochon, and to others as Chef Martin Picard's co-host on the food network show "The Wild Chef". Most recently though, Chef Dufour's diner M. Wells in Long Island, NY and it's classic american cuisine with a Quebecois flare is what people have been talking about in food communities from here to the big apple. The restaurant's meteoric rise to the stars, and subsequent fall back to earth after an over-publicized dispute over a lease renewal with their greedy landlord resulted in what chef Dufour and his wife/partner Sarah Obraitis have determined to be a minor speed bump in their journey to serve their food their way.
Grumman '78, who were the hosts of this event, operate their taco truck in Montreal serving their Mexican inspired street food fare everywhere they get the opportunity to. We have eaten their delicious tacos at the Francofolies festival, Just for Laughs festival, and at Nouveau Palais, a diner that they have an agreement with to operate out of, serving good eats to the late night crowd in an effort to circumvent current city laws against food trucks operating outside of street festivals. We have also eaten their tasty creations at their headquarters in Little Burgundy which they routinely rent out for private events and open for all sorts of parties. We once visited for a garage sale and taco party on Father's Day, we didn't find many treasures to buy in the garage sale but we certainly indulged in a not-so-modest amount of awesome tacos and Bierbrier on tap.
The next logical question is inevitably: What do M. Wells, chef Hugue Dufour and a taco truck have to do with one another? Well, the answer is quite simple. Marc-Andre Leclerc and Gaelle Cerf, a few members of the Grumman team, are also alumni of Au Pied de Cochon, where they previously served as chef and manager.
Over the weekend this all-star team of chefs and restauranteurs brewed up a perfect storm of food and hockey, hosting a kick-ass party at the taco HQ on de Courcelle. The event was called for 6:00PM and it was around that time that the crowd began to trickle in. Mix and match tables made from fastened together shipping pallets and the likes of which, took up nearly every square foot of the garage turned taco-temple. By about 7:00PM the place was packed, there must have been at least 100 people, a great turn out. The Habs game was projected on a large screen, the beers and M. Wells specialty cocktails were flowing out of the bar and what ensued was 10 courses of some of the best game-time food we have ever had the pleasure of eating.
The atmosphere was electric and the only thing that compared to the excitement of the hockey game was the anticipation of the food. Everything we were served was terrific, it just kept getting better and better with every course. The only exception being the lamb belly which we were eagerly awaiting but many of us agreed that although very good, it was a little too heavy on the salt and cumin. Even the heartache of our beloved Habs losing the game that night was diminished by a serving of delectable whoopie pies for dessert. The meal was a fixed price 60$ per person, beers were 5$ each and cocktails were 10$ each. The value was fantastic, the crowd was amazing and the food was excellent. Now, if only Grumman was open for every hockey game.....
Check out the photos from the event below, and if you're interested you can have a look at our Facebook photo album for pictures of our various previous trips to visit the famous taco truck here. Also, certainly don't forget to check out the Grumman '78 website as well as their twitter and facebook accounts for news on upcoming parties and where you can find the truck on any given day.
Red Rooster Cocktails
Deviled Eggs, Fried Snails
Smoked Mussels & Crackers
Tripe & Clam Soup
Salmon Crudo, Dynamite Mayo, Fennel, Tobiko, Croutons
Buffalo Style Chicken
Taramasalata, Pickled Eggplant & Olives, Tortilla Chips
Chicken & Ricotta Meatball
Tourtiere Tamale, Turkey Gravy, Red Pepper Jelly
Lamb Belly, Cumin, Sesame
Black Forest Chocolate/Pumpkin & Cream Cheese Whoopie Pies
630 De Courcelle