The F1 grand prix week is in full effect. Check that out, here. This is the time of the year when Montreal is in its prime with people from all around the world invading terraces and partying all night long. I partied, this evening, under the sounds of Super Sonic (tomorrow on Crescent Street, this friday evening at Jardins Gamelin).It was free and the fun was mesmerizing. We are nowhere near the magic of a city like Tokyo, but at least it is the “relatively” fun Montreal that we all have heard about. Party on!
A Cult Burger which cult I am not embracing, but that is just me …. I finally tried the famous QDC Burger of La Queue de Cheval, aka the Cult Burger. I am a huge fan of Peter Morentzos who went from a simple butcher to one of Canada’s most powerful restaurateurs and I do think that La Queue de Cheval, with or without its flaws, is Montreal’s best steakhouse. I heard great things about the QDC Burger and went trying it with great enthusiasm. It was not what I kept hearing about, for eg the best or one of the best burgers in town. Well, at least not in my books: for sure, the meat is of quality, the ciabatta-style bread too, but the kind of cult I am willing to follow, when it comes to burgers, is the one underlying big bold meaty flavors. This was ok, properly seasoned, cooked medium rare, and although decent … it would not be hard to replicate. Too bad my last burger at Goumet Burger did not live up to the highs established by my 1st burger there, but my very first burger at GB did fit with what I could comfortably elect as one of the best burgers I ever had in Montreal. Whether a burger is a gourmet or not a gourmet burger…I could not give a damn …I just want my burger to dazzle in mouth. The cult, in this instance, did not dazzle.
A tiger that did not fearsomely roar,but certainly charmed ….Red Tiger, a Vietnamese inspired bistrot, was one of the most anticipated new restaurant openings in town. The floor checkered bistrot is hip, its staff is young and beautiful and they certainly know how to be cool / trendy. The big trend these days is to do like in Japan: no visible mention of the restaurant name. Come to think about it…when you have an address, why do you need the name too? Lol
I started with ‘cote de porc braisé aux cinq épices’, which boasted faultlessly braised pork, tasting fresh and meaty. The minimum that one should expect, indeed, but many eateries are sadly just reheating their braised meats, a laughable mistake that Red Tiger did avoid during this visit. The Nuoc mam particularly inspired on this evening (great punch of acidity and spicyness, but perfectly balanced). Genuinely good 7/10
Pursued with ‘Boeuf et porc roulé dans des feuilles de bétel’ – the quality of the ingredients playing a role in the equation, perhaps, but cooking skills were also required and they shone through: the meat perfectly moist, packed with proper heat (not too hot to burn a palate, but enoughly warm to keep the meaty flavor alive),the taste delicious. Sauces are not an afterthought as the pairing sauce has an exciting depth of flavor, exquisitely sweet rather than cloying and uninspired. 7/10
Red Tiger is the ‘prescription. to all the quibbles I kept finding with most Asian-style bistrots in town,lately : a grill that is too ‘shy’, food that is trying too much to please everyone, etc. Here, at Red Tiger, the grill ..grills! The food tastes delicious. They may look young and beautiful, which are sometimes attributes that one would not associate instantly with serious cooking, but they made it happen: the cooking here is to be taken seriously. Imagine if they were allowed to grill on charcoal! Red Tiger is serious stuff (though, certainly not the cheapest Vietnamese-inspired eatery that I know in town). My problem is not with them, it is with our local standards…Montreal is a universe away from world class foodie destinations like San Sebastian or Tokyo..and yet it is charging us 3 times more ..for food that is 3 times less exciting, and as to complete the grand slam…portions have to be, of course, smaller.. Better swallow that pill!
At the count of three, it crashed ……This was my 3rd visit at my favourite Haitian Casse Croute in Laval, Casse croute Casa Créole. Last time I ordered the Haitian bouillon here, it dazzled. Not this time as the bouillon was utterly salty. Who knows, perhaps the Chef was mad and poured enough salt in that Bouillon to showcase her hostility, lol. Regardless, Casa Créole continues to be my prefered Haitian Casse Croute in Laval as all the other dishes seem to be consistently well executed.