***Marie-Claude Lortie’s write-up on Hvor is the best article that a local food journalist has ever written – Yes, she is one of my preferred food journalists of all time. No I do not know her. No, I am not in love with her. And I am sure I am not her type neither: I am ugly. No, I do not agree with every single statement of hers. And that is normal as we share nothing in common. But I know one thing, though: “suckling pigs” is not her favourite dish….my way of saying that she is not biased, not there to make friends in the restaurant industry. And she writes well, she is not your usual “shakespeare wanna be” or “I feel smart” type of food journalists.
Marie-Claude’s article on Hvor is a reminder of how this woman is capable of unusual impartiality, where many so-called food journalists are just there to serve as advertisers for their friends of the food industry.
You know that a food review is exceptional when the reviewer sees things that most did not (not to be confused with …things that do not exist….sadly, the mistake that most food journalists make) at a restaurant that you really liked (Hvor is in my top 3 in Montreal alongside La Chronique and Le Serpent ).
Eventhough Marie Claude’s article has no impact on my opinion of Hvor, I’ll concede that I had “flashbacks” (lol) of the duck magret I had there when she was reproaching to Hvor… a feeling of unaccomplishment..a feeling that she did observe at times during her meal there.
But aside from that duck magret, there was no other sign of “unaccomplishments” during my meal. To the contrary, there was lots of finesse, a very high level of technique as well as some superb combination of textures and flavors.
Marie-Claude argued that the desserts at Hvor are “deja vu” creations for her. Well …Montreal is unlikely the place that one should look for when it comes to reinventing the wheel. Desserts at a restaurant in Montreal, however great they can be, they are certainly not going to be thought provoking! And Marie Claude should know that. I do not expect restaurants to reinvent anything, anyways. I just want them to excel at whatever they do whether the food is classic or not. And that is exactly what Hvor was about during my visit.
As for Marie-Claude’s review, that is a master piece (written in French) that you can peruse here.
***Le Tonkin as well as Pho Bang New York are (and still are) my preferred spots for Pho in Montreal. Not only is the pho good at the two restaurants, but cleanliness (especially in the case of Le Tonkin) is another attribute you can append to their respective descriptions, which is not a common affair at our local pho restaurants. But I love phos, so I went trying some of the best picks of other local Vietnamese foodies (Vuong and Han,) that I know and trust. For Vuong, Ho Guom and Tay Ho rule (he is from Hanoi, and unsurprisingly his preferred phos are of the Hanoi style). Han is a fan of Pho Lien and Lyla (phos from her native south).
431, Jean Talon W, Montreal, 514-272-8332 http://www.restaurantlyla.com/
The broth a tad sweeter than at Pho Bang NY and Le Tonkin, (which is not a quip, rather a feature of this type of pho) as well as a tad less complex in its nuances but definitely one legit version of the Pho. The ingredients were fine, the quality of the meat good. Unarguably one genuine version of the Pho, but I’ll take Pho Bang NY (which uses a tad more star anise than its local competition in the soup, but to great effect) and Le Tonkin’s more complex (meaning: having more nuances in taste, textures) / therefore seemingly more exciting Phos anytime over this one.
I then tried one of Vuong’s top picks, Ho Guom, which is a stone’s throw from Iberville metro station. Lots of depth/nuances of flavors (that are well balanced, btw) in that broth, and yet a broth that is very clear (what you should look for, the experts will tell you). Bring your own lime
, though, as the piece of lime they did serve to me was incredibly dry! And consider yourself as deprived from any sense of humor if what I did submit about that piece of lime is all you needed to know. Easily in my top 3 local phos (you know your pho dazzled when you can afford complaining about useless things such as a dry piece of lime ;)). Ho Guom, 2035 Rue Jean-Talon E, Montréal http://www.hoguom.ca/
Bottom line: you want your pho to taste/feel/smell like in Vietnam? Then fly to Vietnam! Lol. That said, Le Tonkin, Pho Bang New York and Ho Guom are making superb phos and despite the never ending list of decent phos in town, I have yet tasted a better pho than at the above mentioned trio of preferred phos.
***Morgan’s bbq is touted as offering one of the finest texas style smoked briskets in nyc
. Order them (the briskets) fat, not lean, as to savor your brisket in its more flavorful rendition – which is exactly what I went for. Can’t agree more about Morgan’s bbq reputation: their brisket is as enticingly smokey and tasty as your texan style brisket will get in NY. Coleslaw and potato salad were equally delicious. So did the chicken (you go to a Texan style smoke house for the briskets…yeah, I know, but my sweet half wanted to taste the smoked chicken).
Pros: briskets that would send the ones we have in Mtl to shame, though in the US..the competition is fierce, obviously. Still, some fine Texan style briskets, and not just the briskets as the smoked chicken seemed to have tantalized my girl friend’s palate, which is no light exploit as the lady is a picky eater
Cons: Not too sure if this was an isolated situation, but the brisket I was having was super salty.Because it was as tasty as it was salty, I did not make a fuss of it. I trust that was isolated….
Bottom line: 7/10 (categ: Texan style bbq) – Morgan’s BBQ may not be a standard bearer at what it does, but they are the next guy you are looking for when the standard bearer is not around. For the sake of comparison, our smoke houses in YUL are not there yet (in YUL, our finest texas style brisket’s taste is unidimensional – in comparison). Morgan’s Barbecue Addr: 267 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217, United States Phone: +1 718-622-2224 https://www.facebook.com/morgansbrooklynbarbecue/