Montreal finest steakhouses and steaks

Posted: April 13, 2013 in montreal, steakhouse
Tags: , , , , , , ,

GOOD TO KNOW: I can see that this post is very popular among the visitors of this blog. It would, then, be accurate to  remember that this post dates from 2013. Since then, many things have changed on the local chophouse scene and some of the steakhouses that did not impress, at that time, have improved (a good example is Moishes. I respect Moishes because they  respond gracefully –a breath of fresh air in an industry where ego is generally out of control  — to constructive criticism  by  adapting to constructive change).

 

Montreal is not a city for steaks (our strenghts are the smoked meat, the bagel, the cheesecake, to some extent the poutine but that is unfortunately less and less the case in Montreal).  The scores you’ll see below are scores limited to Montreal steakhouse  standards. If I had to start comparing those with the finest in the US,  just as an example, the scores would be even lower.  Let alone, the finest Argentinian, French, Japanese, Australian, Spanish  cuts of  meats that are virtually not present in Montreal while remaining high on the list of this globe’s  most praised meats. Montreal  has couple of steakhouses that are widely known as the finest of the city. The most famous of them all is La Queue de Cheval of  charismatic restaurateur Peter Morenzos.  Other highly regarded Montreal steakhouses are  Rib n Reef, Moishes, 40 Westt, Gibbys.  Choices of meat do not vary that much: mostly  Black Angus from the US,  occasionally some cattles from Alberta and recently some Australian Wagyu.  Of course, Montreal has other chopshouses  but those are the ones generally regarded as Montreal`s  finest.

You’ll find below the reviews of following steakhouses:
-Queue de Cheval
-1221
-Moishes
-Rib’n Reef
-Gibby’s
-Steakhouse Vieux Port

I had my first steak at a steakhouse in 2009. Since then, I have enjoyed plenty of stellar steaks ( Argentinean, Scottish, US, etc ) . At this point in time, my preferred rib eye steak is the like of a corn-finished 40-45 days solely dry aged Black Angus, bone-in, backed by rigorous sourcing and an exceptional understanding (from my butcher or steakhouse) of what makes a prime cut really great ( for eg, using the best aging technique for X cut, understanding the importance of the health/diet of the beef/the proper slaughtering technique/proper hanging technique, etc –when you are obsessed about doing things right, it never fails to be noticed by a diner who prioritizes quality).  I am impressed when I see a butcher or steakhouse concerned by the traceability of their meat.  In regard to the reviews you will peruse,below, I’d like to remind that the sole intent of my scores is to convey what I have perceived  as closer to /  or far-off  my preferred  type  of rib steak,and they (my scores) should not be interpreted as a way to assess one steak as superior to  another one (those steakhouses would not be in Business for so long if they were serving bad steaks, so rest assured that none of them had bad steaks). Obviously, food assessment is utterly subjective (solely based on personal expectations), so consider my ratings as  what they are, and not what you want them to be. IMPORTANT: Most steakhouse staff in town is unable to inform about  the exact cattle as well as the farm where the beef was born,which is why you’ll notice that I always mention the grade of the beef, but virtually no info about everything else.  That is something to improve upon as being knowledgeable about  traceability is a way to show respect for the food you are serving.

***Recent steakhouse review (Sept 2014): Steakhouse Vertigo Stk (click here for the review).

La Queue de cheval  (aka the Q    http://www.queuedecheval.com)  is an iconic steakhouse in Montreal. There has been a split, recently, which resulted in the Q moving from its original location (they were on 1221  Rene Levesque Street ) to a temporary spot (1234 De la Montagne, but they are planning to relocate soon) and the other half of the team remaining where they used to be (now re-named Steakhouse 1221). If you are curious to know where  Montreal’s legendary restaurateur Peter Morentzos did end up, the answer is that he is the strongman of the Q.     The Q is pricey, therefore I can’t afford heading there on a regular basis. This being only my 2nd visit in 5 years. But not many steakhouses in town offer the quality of  beef and  the proper depth of knowledge/expertise you can  find at places like this,  therefore I find it justified to splurge once in a  long (only when I feel like really enticed at the idea of dining out at a top steakhouse ) while on Montreal top steak contenders (Moishes, Gibbys,Rib n Reef, Queue de Cheval). In a long long  while.

At their current temporary location, there’s a tiny bar made of marble as well as a relatively small dining room that they share with nightclub 1234 (another reason I chose to eat there earlier in the evening). I sat at the bar, which ensured a completely different ambience from my last visit here (last time I was at the Q, I was in their grand dining room on  René Levesque), with my waiter, Thomas, offering stellar service where professionalism and warmth is perfectly balanced. Thomas is a charismatic gentleman of the type you occasionally  encounter at few grand dining destinations.

Picked their classic 20 oz bone-in Lou cut’s rib steak (I chose the corn-fed Colorado’s Black Angus USDA Prime cut as opposed to the mostly grass-fed Kansas cuts / At touch, smell,  and look,  I can  and always  judge the dry-age of a meat myself,  and my cut had less than 30 days), the precision in cooking absolutely faultless with that steak I was having: medium rare as requested, medium rare is delivered.  The good  marbling delivering enjoyable steak flavor, the usda prime quality being indeed a cut above most of  the non usda prime versions found at most steakhouses in town. Objectively a good steak by upscale steakhouse standards in Montreal.

The problem with the Q, based on my visits here, is not a problem of quality nor cooking skills (the problem, as with most upscale steakhouses in Montreal, is $$$). As an example, their take on the tiramisu (it’s their take on it, so do not expect comparisons to traditional Italian versions of the Tiramisu) was delicious, technically well crafted. The Brazilian coffee done properly, the salad fresh but over-overpriced for what it was. The problem, as it’s oftently  the case with upscale places  like the Q is the price.   I do not disclose details about the amount of  my bill, since I value such infos as purely personal, but their prices can be found on their web site.
It is admittedly always hard to tell whether a steakhouse of this standard worths all that money. No one will ever have the absolute answer, anyways.  But it’s not rocket science to fire a great steak in a back yard, so buying a great aged steak at my butcher remains the best cost effective option.   What I insist on doing, though,  is to avoid mixing up the effect that prices have on our judgement with the real appreciation of what I am eating. With price in mind, I have always valued 95% of the dine out scene to be widely over-rated. So if I decide to dine out, I am looking for other factors to fill the gap: in this case, the expertise/knowledge  about their meats, the way they age them, etc. Things that move me out of what I’d be able to do at home: I can cook a steak at home. But I do not age steaks. So I opt for the cuts they’ve invest the extra mileage I could not.

Factsheet – The steak I had on this meal at the Q:
20 oz bone-in Lou cut’s rib steak
Breed: Black Angus
Dry or wet aged? Dry
Grade: USDA Prime
Upon visual inspection, indeed this  had USDA Prime marbling distribution. Of course, USDA Prime is not only about marbling, but this was the element I could realistically factor as a diner looking at  his steak
From: Colorado, US
Aged: less than 30 days (for the cut I was having)
Corn? Grass? Matters less than factors such as the breed and skills/care of the farmer, but this was corn-finished and as such, it only makes sense that cattles feed mostly on grass.
Do they have a mostly grass-fed cut? YES, their Kansas cut.
Buttery flavor (Poor>Decent>Fair>Good>Great>Exceptional): Good 7/10
Juiciness      (Poor>Decent>Fair>Good>Great>Exceptional): Good 7/10
tenderness     (Poor>Decent>Fair>Good>Great>Exceptional): Good 7/10
Timing         Proper timing/ the steak was not rushed to the table upon cooking
Cooking        (missed, achieved)                       : Achieved (requested medium rare, served medium rare)
Personal appreciation (Disapointed>Satisfied>Blown away): Satisfied
MY Overall score for this steak                                      :  7/10
Deserves its rank as one of the finest few steakhouses in Montreal:
Absolutely, the seriousness/care, dry-aging, sourcing makes this one of the finest steakhouses in Montreal.
Just don’t draw comparisons to the finest of NYC, for example.
Service: Thomas is simply one of world’s best in the hospitality business.
In my Top 10 steakhouses ever? No, but remember it’s a always a subjective matter, that the grass tends to always be greener at the neighbor’s, that I just had rib steak on my past 2 visits here,  whereas they have other cuts, from other breeds, etc
What I liked: (1)The world class service of Thomas (2)The opportunity to discuss steak with a knowledgeable staff (3)Because it was early and there were not many people, the ambience felt intimate (3)Although limited in variety, the wine by the glass was relatively decently priced by upscale steakhouse standards in Montreal.
What I did not like: (1)Pricey as one should expect from an upscale steakhouse that walks the extra mileage that such steakhouse have to invest in  (2)The wines by the bottle are $$. (3)Wines by the glass are limited to very few choices
Final Notes: I did not elaborate on the decor because it’s a temporary location that they are currently sharing with the Nightclub BAR 1224. It’s actually funny since when I was younger I wished all bars were attached to a nightclub to get my refill of protein right on the spot ;p UPDATE, OCT 2014:  La Queue de Cheval has now moved to 1181 rue de La Montagne

1221 Steakhouse (http://www.1221steakhouse.com/ ) is the other half of what used to be la Queue de Cheval. So after visiting their other half, La Queue de Cheval on De la Montagne, I paid a visit to them. I was particularly curious to see the difference between their rib steak, especially since both teams have benefited from the same knowledge, for so long and the split is just recent.
At 1221, I picked their 20 oz Rib Steak dry-aged 28 days steak.  There’s something that we all need to know: when you go to such upscale steakhouse, in Montreal, the dry-age period does not reflect  on the price as it logically can be the case at some places abroad, or perhaps elsewhere in Canada:  logically,  the older cuts are the priciest. Not in Montreal steakhouses. On the flip side, you can end up with a 40 days the same way you can get a 20 days dry-aged steak (28 days minimum at 1221), for the same price. I was lucky at 1221, on this visit:  my cut was dry-aged for easily around 40 days, and it therefore was a  more flavored than, say, the one I had the day before at the Q. Both the Q and 1221, during this visit, served their rib steak with garlic. So, I’d recommend you order a side dish to go along. In this instance, I ordered their onions rings (7/10 good onion rings, large in size, prepared properly but I think I have to get used to the fact that less salt/spice  is better for health. It was a healthy serving of onion rings. But still, for  someone like me who enjoys big bold strong flavors, the climax was nowhere to be found). The steak itself:  can’t complain since it was cooked precisely, and the resting carefully timed. A 7.5/10 for me (both the Q and 1221 not altering the steak flavor with superfluous flavor-enhancement, which is what you should  expect   from a top steakhouse indeed, but their mix of steak spicing –they lay a bit of  that on their steaks —  is one that is not a secret recipe…so if you are looking for the next mysterious/revolutionary steak seasoning, you might have to knock at other doors ). UPDATE, MAY 2014:  this place is now closed (replaced by Bier Mrkt)

Factsheet – The steak I had on this meal at the 1221:
20 oz bone-in rib steak (They don’t call it LOU’s CUT)
Breed: Black Angus
Dry or wet aged? Dry
Grade: USDA Prime
Upon visual inspection, indeed this  had proper USDA Prime marbling distribution.
Of course, USDA Prime is not only about marbling, but this was the element I could realistically factor as a diner looking at  his steak
From: Colorado, US
Aged: Easily more than 40 days (for the cut I was having)
Corn? Grass? Matters less than factors such as the breed and skills/care of the farmer,but this was corn-finished and as such, it only makes sense that cattles feed mostly on grass.
Buttery flavor (Poor>Decent>Fair>Good>Great>Exceptional): Good to Great
Juiciness      (Poor>Decent>Fair>Good>Great>Exceptional): Fair
tenderness     (Poor>Decent>Fair>Good>Great>Exceptional): Good to great
Timing         Proper timing/ the steak was not rushed to the table upon cooking
Cooking        (missed, achieved)                       : Achieved (requested medium rare, served medium rare)
Personal appreciation (Disapointed>Satisfied>Blown away): Satisfied
MY Overall score for this steak                                      :  7.5/10
Deserves its rank as one of the finest few steakhouses in Montreal:
Absolutely, the seriousness/care, dry-aging, sourcing makes this one of the finest steakhouses in Montreal.
Just don’t draw comparisons to the finest of NYC, for example.
Service: Gianni was extremely patient, and I appreciate his very accomodating behaviour ->
fearing that my bill would reach skyrocked highs, especially with the price of wine, I did put a brusque halt to any extra splurge, so no dessert, no coffee, nothing else .  Instead of treating me in a snooty way (especially with the close table of wealthy gentlemen feasting on caviar, lobster and champagne), he was as caring to me  as he was to his wealthier patrons. Hard to not like a service like this.
In my Top 10 steakhouses ever? No, but remember it’s a always a subjective matter, that the grass tends to always be greener at the neighbor’s, that I just had rib steak on my past 2 visits here,  whereas they have other cuts, from other breeds, etc
What I liked: (1)The classic steakhouse decor with the aged steaks displayed at the entrance, the warmth of black stones mixed with rustic wood. This place is big and special in its own way (2)I was lucky to stumble upon that 40 ++ days aged cut.  It made quite a difference: as expected, a tad more concentrated in beef flavor than the cut I had the day before at the Q, the flavor benefitting for the expected extra concentration of meat flavor. It was on its way to develop the nuttier aromas of some exceptional dry-aged cuts, therefore really a cut packed with character in the aspect of texture in particular. The kind of cut that calls for a pause, then admiration of the work behind it, then you can start devouring, Rfaol!
I did not like: (1)Pricey as one should expect from an upscale steakhouse that walks the extra mileage that such steakhouse have to invest in  (2)Wines by the glass are way way WAY too pricey…..for example, the steak-friendly and good red wine Louis M Martini Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 can’t be priced in the 20ish by the glass….when it cost almost the same $$$  for the bottle at the SAQ. FOLKS…WE ARE NOT IN A MICHELIN STAR VENTURE, HERE …………
Final Notes: Did you notice that I scored this steak with a 6/10 on the aspect of tenderness? Which is paradoxal in theory , given that the longer the cut was aged, the more tender it’s supposed to be. Make no mistake: this cut was tender, but
I had cuts that were even more tender and that were not aged this long, so tender that I could cut them with a spoon. This is not a bad thing btw, since again, this cut was tender enough for a steak of this standard, but I am glad I have experienced this  paradox as a reminder that theory and practice are sometimes just two different buds. That there’s never just one possibility that counts, but a myriad, depending on a vast umbrella of factors reinforcing the suggestion that a cut of beef will never be as simple as stating that bone-in ribs are more flavorful than boneless ones (there’s a steakhouse in Montreal that has stopped being a favourite of mine since they change their boneless ribs to bone-in ones…), this breed is better than that one (I have enjoyed stunning cuts of incredible beef flavor from supposedly poor breeds as I have experienced with poor meat from supposedly great breeds), corn is better than grass (in my lifetime top 10 best steaks, I have as many corn-finished as there are mostly grass fed-ones), etc

Moishes (http://www.moishes.ca/) is considered as Montreal #1 steakhouse on many web forums as well as restaurant review web sites. Forbes Magazine even rating Moishes in World’s top 10 steakhouses in 2008, and   this wikipaedia article telling everything you need to know about the glory of this widely praised steakhouse destination .  It is an institution with already 75 years behind it. The interior decor is very elegant in its  classicism,  and to me, this is the warmest and prettiest steakhouse dining room of the city (I find it even prettier than Gibby’s — Reviews on Gibby’s and Rib n Reef will come soon). The service was flawless on this evening, the young lady at the reception being very welcoming and most of the staff   hospitable. Another big hit:  you have a variety of breads, some pickles, butter (with ice on them) as well as   as some coleslaw served for free, which makes this steakhouse one that’s exceptionally generous with its side offerings (apart bread, you do not get that much extras alongside your steak at most steakhouses in town). My problem was with the main feature of the evening :  my 3 weeks boneless rib steak (colorado  USDA Prime according to my waiter) could not compete with the superior aged bone-in rib steaks I had at the Q (around 30 days) or 1221 (40 days ++)  in the aspects of tenderness (at same doness, which they achieved perfectly  – I required Medium rare– this steak I was having at Moishes remained a bit too firm  for a rib eye steak to be fully enjoyable) and depth of  meat flavor (the bold rich beefy flavor I came to expect with this  cut was certainly not at the forefront, on this instance) .  There are plenty of reasons to love Moishes, such as the charming service and the lovely place, but if you meet someone claiming that this is the #1 Steakhouse in Montreal, send him back to his homework:  he needs to visit all of this city’s finest steakhouses first!  The Gentleman who was serving me was a very patient and offered superb service, but he had no answers to some of my  questions   (grass fed? corn finished, etc),  so I’ll have to go with a shortened factsheet of this rib steak, which I scored (overall score) with a 5/10:

Buttery flavor (Poor>Decent>Fair>Good>Great>Exceptional):  Poor
Juiciness      (Poor>Decent>Fair>Good>Great>Exceptional):  Decent
tenderness     (Poor>Decent>Fair>Good>Great>Exceptional):  Poor
Timing         Proper timing/ the steak was not rushed to the table upon cooking
Cooking        (missed, achieved)                       : Achieved (requested medium rare, served medium rare)
Personal appreciation (Disapointed>Satisfied>Blown away): Disapointed
MY Overall score for this steak                                      :  5/10
Deserves its rank as one of the finest few steakhouses in Montreal:  In my opinion, No. A rib steak is the easiest cut to work with. Bold beefy flavors is its raison d’etre. You say rib eye, you automatically think rich meaty flavor.  It has to dazzle.

I liked:        The warm classy and cozy decor, down to earth and charming welcoming
I did not like:  My steak!  For me, this   3 weeks boneless rib steak (no bone-in rib eye at a time when bone-in rib steaks are all the rage?? Something is sure, the waiter told me there was no bone-in rib steak when I asked ) was not even close to the character of the finest  bone-in wet age steaks of 30 to 40 days I enjoyed either at Montreal’s steakhouses or bought from local butchers.  Which took me by surprised given the praises over this steakhouse. What I also found disconnected from the praises seen everywhere on the web   (btw, I too do love Moishes  but I can’t pretend that this is the finest steak or among the finest  I had in this city. It’s simply NOT the case, as far as I am concerned) is the opinion about the side of baked potato.  It’s Ok, not stunning and eventhough there is a lot of babbling about  chain steakhouses being poor, I have to say that at the end of the day  I can only deal in facts and that the baked potato of a chain like the Keg has pleased me far more than this one I was having at Moishes.  I also enjoy being presented with my steak before it goes to the grill, a piece of theater that adds to the experience of a grand steakhouse dinner and that I did appreciate a lot at places like the Queue de Cheval and 1221.  That did not happen on this visit. Same for the wine by the glass  (the glass arrived with no presentation of the bottle).  I am not one who will force his imagination to let prices affect  my appreciation of things,  so never rely on me for such things like value (although I know very well what  might perhaps be  cost effective or not), but prices aside (For the record, this steak at Moishes cost me almost the same price at the Q or 1221), my steaks at the Q and 1221, during this round up, were easily 2 cuts above my steak on this meal at Moishes.

Rib’n Reef  (http://ribnreef.com/  ) – In Montreal, you basically have two leagues of steakhouses : one that’s known as the upscale steakhouses in the city (Rib’n Reef, Queue de Cheval, 1221, Moishes, Gibby’s, 40Westt) and the other one comprising of  the likes of the Keg, Maddison Grill, Houston, etc. Again, which one is better will come down to what you are looking for.   I have no judgement other than recommending that you try them all and see what matches your expectations. A personal matter. As for me, I took my hard earned money and went to find for myself since I want to know where I can bring my wife or what to recommend to close friends and relatives. In the process, I am just sharing what I think with you. This time, I visited R’n’R. R’n”R interior is relatively vast, with several sections: for eg, classic dark wood dining areas, cigar lounge, rooftop terrace, etc In order to compare apples to apples, I pursued with the same cut (rib eye steak)  I chose at other reviewed upscale steakhouses (Queue de Cheval, 1221, Moishes are already reviewed in current post), at exact same doneness: medium rare. Prices for a rib eye steak of mas o menos similar size (for eg, 20 oz at Queue de Cheval and 1221 / 18 oz at R’n’R) is almost the same  at all the upscale steakhouses of Montreal (approx 55$).
Factsheet – The steak I had on this meal at Rib ‘n Reef:
18 oz Bone-in Rib steak
Breed:  Black Angus
Dry or wet aged? According to the waitstaff, it is awet aged for couple of weeks then dry aged for an extra month
Grade: USDA Prime
From: Colorado, USA according to my waiter
Aged: 1 month minimum (for the cut I was having)
Corn?  Corn fed
Buttery flavor (Poor>Decent>Fair>Good>Great>Exceptional):   Decent
Juiciness      (Poor>Decent>Fair>Good>Great>Exceptional):  Fair
tenderness     (Poor>Decent>Fair>Good>Great>Exceptional):  Fair
Timing         Proper timing/ the steak was not rushed to the table upon cooking
Cooking        (missed, achieved)                       :  Achieved (requested medium rare, served medium rare)
Personal appreciation (Disapointed>Satisfied>Blown away):  Not Disapointed, not fully satisfied. Just Ok
MY Overall score for this steak                                     5.5 /10
Deserves its rank as one of the finest few steakhouses in Montreal:  For me, Not for now. But this place shows a lot of pride and will to improve that I trust its rib steak  could one day reach the standards of those of La  Queue de Cheval or  1221.
Service:  Daniel fabulous service is of the highest hospitality standard
What I liked: (1) Daniel’s incredible service (2)At Moishes, I was impressed to see that they served pickles, bread, coleslaw. Sounds like nothing miracular, but you won’t see that oftenly in Montreal. But Rib n Reef went even further. They served those same items (coleslaw being superior at Moishes, in my opinion and the pickle as plump and of remarkable quality, except that Moishes served more of them), and completed the meal with even some cookies. Not the beginning of a new life cycle, rfaol, but a rare touch at a Montreal steakhouse.
What I did not like:  I love my steak thick, exactly as what they served at 1221 and the Q.  For me, a good 2′ thick inch rib eye steak opens my appetite, it locks more juiciness/tenderness. Theirs was about 1′ inch thick (or slightly more, but slightly).  I also like when you show me the steak prior to grilling it, which they’ve omitted on this instance.  Last but not least, this rib steak was certainly nicely aged, but not to the point of reaching the close to gamey/nutty character of the steaks I had at the Q or 1221. The wait staff explained that it  was  wet age then dry aged . If that is the case, then perhaps just dry aging it all the way would be more successful.
Final Notes:  A classy steakhouse, which  has not impressed me with its rib steak on this visit, but that remains promising (I’m always amazed to see people who are always curious about getting better).

Steakhouse Vieux Port – Picked the $35 rib eye steak. Service at Steakhouse VP was really nice with great welcoming from a young lady at the entrance, then superb service from  Angelo, the waiter (this soft spoken middle-aged man, could be an actor in the movie the Godfather ;p) . The rib steak was nicely seasoned (you’ll be surprised how it’s not that easily achieved at many steakhouses in Montreal), though it would have been better with more char and thicker consistency (nowadays trendy prefs at major big steakhouses).  Nice warm bread was also served, whereas green beans + cauliflower  came with the steak. Not bad, but I prefer the Keg’s steak to this one (keep in mind that this whole thing about what steak we find better does not mean that what we find better..is better…it just means that we like X one better than Y one.  Subjective stuff, as always, since those steakhouses just have different ways of seeing things. For me, a stellar steak is one with char,  with the kind of deep meaty flavor usually provided by long dry aged technique. So I can only talk for what I like or not. A  5/10 for my taste

Gibby’s is a steakhouse institution, 200 years  of history.  I asked  questions about the origin  of my meat, but my waitress simply responded that everything here is of top quality. Therefore, needless to  stress that there won’t be any factsheet about the usual detailed infos  of my meat. Of course, I could insist  for the kitchen to bring me some answers, but I was there to eat, not to   cascade my requests. Gibby’s is an institution that I have not visited since 2009. In 2009, when I first visited Gibby’s, I had not much experience with steakhouses and I was very impressed at that time. Years later, I have tried many steakhouses not only in Canada, but also in the US and in other countries where beef is as revered as in the US. The reason I am writing this is because I do not think that Gibby’s is bad. They are doing things the same way they used to, but I believe that I am not impressed by it anymore only because my taste has evolved. So Yes, my rib eye was cooked to requested doneness, but no it’s no more one that seduces me because nowadays my ideal rib eye steak is the like of a corn-finished 40 days dry aged Black Angus, A 40 days wet aged USDA prime, bone-in, etc.. which are clearly not what was offered on this dinner (this boneless rib eye steak was firmer, had less fat distribution, less expressive meat flavor …but again, compared ..to what i idealize as great today ). So less impressed,indeed, but only because my taste has switched to something else, NOT because it is bad! And yes, if you start comparing to some other hot steakhouses, well no it is not playing in the same league as it is not its purpose neither. Still, it’s a generous steakhouse: nice warm bread, palate cleanser, pickles of great quality, plenty of salad did accompany my rib eye. The only thing that i can,t put on the back of the evolution of my palate is : the wine service…leaving a glass of Pinot noir on my table without showing the bottle to me, without pre-tasting NO and NO! You serve me my glass of Pinot Noir while I haven’t finished my other glass of sparkling wine, again..NO! And what about the year of that PN? Its description (region, etc) ??? There’s no excuse for that. Score for that rib eye steak: 4/10

Whenever I’ll drop by (more accurately, re-visits..usually once every 3, 4 years since, honestly,  we   could reproduce most of the hype at home..think of a steak picked at a reliable local butcher……) the other upscale steakhouses in Montreal, I will add my views to this post.  This rundown is now almost completed (I just have the review of 40 Westt and Gibby’s to write whenever I have a moment, but no steak at those upscale steakhouses went above the score of 7.5/10 all along this 2 months of visits. T
My thoughts about Montreal’s upscale Steakhouses:

-When you are a rich , I’d guess price never matters. But I am not, therefore for my money,  proper sourced and aged cuts at a reliable local butcher wins.

-Which steakhouse is the best in Montreal goes down to trying the finest ones (Moishes, Gibbys,Rib n Reef, Queue de Cheval, 1221) and see which one matches the best with  your expectations.   In my experience,  Montreal finest steakhouses is a cut, a times two cuts,  below their competition in say, the US, Spain, etc.

-Grass fed, corn fed: a non debate, folks….I was hesistant to actually mention this  in my  reviews of Mtl steakhouses, because enjoying steaks is not as simple as saying I love grass fed steers over corn-fed ones. It’s actually erroneous to embark on that propaganda wagon.  Cattles need grass, pasture being their natural diet. Then, depending on the popular demand at  some geo locations, corn plays a role in their diet,  usually not long before the animal is slaughtered  so that more fat is imparted to the meat. But meats is not tasty because of grass or corn.  As a matter of fact,  I have enjoyed as many mostly-grass fed cuts (for example Charolais,  Limousin)  as corn-finished ones (widely praised in North America, so you take your pick…. ).  Food is like anything in life: surprises have more chances to come from the neighbor, Lol. Rarely from home ;p In 2012, a cut of solely grass-fed Galician beef outside of  San Sebastian (Spain)  rose as one of the finest cuts I ever put in my mouth. Could that be the effect of the “grass that’s always better at the neighbor’s??”..??..perhaps. I personally don’t care about the reason, I just want to know what beef tastes best to my palate…but think about it. …..meat is much more than just grass fed / corn fed.  The breed of the cattle, the care and knowledge of your farmer might be the recipe of your  next best piece of steak ;p

 

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