Thursday, July 28, 2011

MÉCHANT BOEUF


On Tuesday evening we participated as guest reviewers on another Montreal blog site called "Mr. Lew's Great Burger Search". Mr. Lew is a man who searches Montreal and sometimes other surrounding cities looking for great burgers to share with his readers. After responding to a twitter invitation to join him on a future review location, a date and time were arranged for us to meet with Mr Lew at Méchant Boeuf.

Méchant Boeuf is located on St Paul street in Old Montreal attached to Hotel Nelligan. The first thing we noticed as you approach the restaurant are the large windows of the store-front wide open to the street allowing plenty of natural light to bless the happy hour crowd. We enter to find an upscale looking restaurant with dark wood and burgundy tones, almost like a modern take on the classic steak house decor. They seem to have a pretty large seating capacity with a nice long bar including a seafood and raw bar.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

LE BREMNER


This weekend we went out to chef Chuck Hughes' new restaurant, Le Bremner. Though it has had very little promotion, word-of-mouth in Montreal and on social media spread like wild-fire about the opening of this restaurant making it the talk of the town for the past month. As it turns out, Le Bremner is a casual sort of seafood restaurant with a perhaps not so casual price tag. 

The restaurant is on St Paul street in Old Montreal directly opposite Marché Bonsecours. Don't look for a sign that reads "Le Bremner" because there isn't one, just a low key sign that says "Restaurant". The restaurant is below street level, almost hidden. If you're tall, watch your head as you walk down the stairs towards the entrance because the overhang above is waiting for your forehead. Upon entering, to your right is the bar with really cool lighting above made of an old sail from a boat and a small kitchen station separate from the main kitchen which seems to be where the cold appetizers are made, to the left the dining room complete with chandeliers and the exit to the terrasse out back. Brick walls, distressed floors that are concrete in some areas and wood in others, and some pretty eclectic design choices make the place feel very laid-back. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

L'ORIGNAL


A few weeks ago we connected with an old friend and discovered he was another food blogger who runs the site Jarred Reviews. We made plans to go for dinner a short time later at a restaurant that we all wanted to try but none of us had yet been to; after a short deliberation we agreed on L'Orignal.

The restaurant is on Saint-Alexis, a small cobblestone street in Old Montreal. The door is solitary on the block the restaurant is situated on, the signage is low-key and the lighting is inviting. You enter to find a basement restaurant that feels as though a designer made a strong effort to try and make it feel cottage-cozy. Upon closer examination the handful of birch tree branches, wildlife and landscape wallpaper and the carved moose head on the wall just came off feeling a little forced and polished for a true lodge feeling. Exceptions were a beautiful oyster bar, great floors and really nice tables and chairs. Overall the ambiance and decor are nice, but not quite authentic in the chalet or lodge sense. Seriously though - an authentic mounted moose head was glaringly absent in a restaurant named L'Orignal.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

LA MOULERIE


The two of us have a personal fondness for this restaurant because it's the place where we shared our first date, and now we would like to share it with our readers. We rarely visit in the winter time, always opting for heavy meals and stick-to-your-ribs meaty cooking, but as soon as the weather gets nice and the terrasses open all over the city, the first place that comes to our minds is La Moulerie. The restaurant is on Bernard street just west of Parc amongst plenty of boutiques, bistros and reasonably heavy pedestrian traffic. For whatever the reason, when we sit out on the terrasse here it just feels so much like what we imagine might be the picturesque dream that tourists have in their mind when they come to Montreal searching for that little piece of Europe in North America. Sitting on the terrasse at La Moulerie with a pint of Stella waiting for a steaming pot of mussels helps us to slow down and see what we so often overlook being locals. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

ICEHOUSE


Before refrigeration an ice house was where people used to go to purchase ice for their iceboxes. Once refrigeration was invented ice houses in the southern United States diversified to become early forms of the modern convenience store, selling groceries and cold beer. Today the term icehouse in Texas and the surrounding areas basically means a bar or a place to go for a drink and maybe a bite to eat.

Texas native and owner of another Montreal restaurant - Kitchenette, Nick Hodge has brought a little taste of the Texas ice house concept to Montreal and appropriately named it Icehouse. The restaurant is a small space with a lot to offer on Roy between St Denis and St Laurent. The walls, floors, tables, stools and chairs are all wood. Casually dressed staff, mounted long-horns, a texas flag painted on the back door and even a hilarious mounted jackalope help to drive home the casual nature of this spot. We especially liked the ornate iron gate that surrounded the terrasse area accessible through a giant garage door store-front.