Monday, January 30, 2012

ARYANA


The first time we heard about Afghan restaurant Aryana was in the Montreal Gazette's Best casual restaurants of 2011 article by Sarah Musgrave. Her enthusiastic review intrigued us, so we added it to our ever-growing list of restaurants that we keep to consult when planning one of our weekly date nights. Then a few weeks ago our friend and fellow food blogger Mayssam Samaha visited Aryana and wrote about it on her blog Will Travel For Food. We love Mayssam's blog and hold her opinion in high regard, so following her glowing endorsement of the restaurant, on a night when we were looking for something a little more on the casual side we decided to bump the place up a few spots on our list and pay Aryana a visit.

Monday, January 23, 2012

BIG IN JAPAN


Big In Japan doesn't describe itself as an izakaya but realistically would be best described as such in our humble opinion. Located on St. Laurent just south of Pine avenue it's a fun spot with a bar feel where food prices are reasonable and the mood is casual. Recently, on a night when we weren't in the mood for anything too complicated, we visited for an early dinner and a couple of beers. We entered to find the place full to capacity but luckily didn't have to wait any more than 5 or 10 minutes for a couple of seats to become available. There are a few tables set up protruding from the counter-space that surrounds the open kitchen, additional bar stools and counters that line the walls, and tables in the front and back. We were seated in the front of the restaurant at tables that looked as though they were salvaged from a 90's fast food restaurant or food court. You know the type, immovable seating for 4 bolted to the ground with the space in the center of the table made for an ashtray eluding to a time when people still smoked in restaurants, complete with the low back metal chairs that swivel 180 degrees but always spring back into place.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

CLUB CHASSE ET PÊCHE - NYE 2011


We don't think we stand alone saying that we're sick and tired of overhyped New Year's Eve parties that always seem to under-deliver on expectations. Whether it's a bar with loud obnoxious crowds that can't hold their booze, supper-clubs with cooler than you DJ's, mandatory bottle service and vapid, characterless food or nightclubs with overpriced mixed drinks and expensive cover charges these things just don't do it for us anymore, maybe we're getting old. In any case, for the past several years we have chosen to forgo the disappointment of another one of the underwhelming celebrations for either dinner parties with close friends or fixed menu events at good restaurants, of which Montreal has plenty to choose from so long as you don't wait until the last minute to make reservations. 

This year we visited Le Club Chasse et Pêche for a fixed price, 8 course menu. It would be our first ever visit to the restaurant, considered by many to be one of the top tables in Montreal. Le Club Chasse et Pêche is on St-Claude street in Old Montreal, almost hidden in plain site with nothing but a crest hanging above a nondescript door to identify it's whereabouts; it appears they don't really need a sign, everyone knows where "Le Club" is, as those who frequent the place always like to call it. We're not regulars, trendy one-uppers, nor residents of the pricey neighborhood though so we'll stick with the full name, thanks.  

Friday, January 6, 2012

NOUVEAU PALAIS


One afternoon over the holidays we were in the downtown area doing some shopping when we got hit with a little midday hunger. We decided to take a short trip north to the corner of Parc and Bernard in Outremont for a hearty lunch in a down-to-earth diner we had been meaning to try. In the past year the diner in question, Nouveau Palais, has gained quite a bit of press and attention in large part due to their late-night partnership with Montreal's famous taco truck Grumman '78. The popular collaboration has recently run its course but Nouveau Palais continues to do their own thing during regular business hours, something that many people had unfortunately overlooked amidst the taco hype. We ourselves are guilty of this, only having visited once prior to this afternoon bite for you guessed it, late night tacos.