Posts Tagged ‘La Queue de Cheval’

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!

QDC BURGERA 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.

RED TIGER 1A 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

RED TIGER 2I 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

RED TIGER 3Pursued 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.

Advertisements

Time for a long break. I shall be gone till November. Leaving you on the following notes:

-My recent restaurant reviews: Thursdays, Tapas 24 MtlVertigo StkBar, Gia BaRestaurant Mercuri, Bar Mercuri, Le Serpent, La Chronique, Jun IL’Européa, Sushi Yasu, Kyo, Peter Luger, Kam Fung, FiregrillPatrice Patissier, Raku, Au cinquième péché, Au Pied de Cochon, Callao , Shinji, Mochica, Bottega .

La Porte, a restaurant that I have always regarded as Montreal’s #1 (click here for past reviews of my meals at La Porte ) has recently closed. Chef Rouye’s food has always fared, to me, as one of the very  best that  Mtl has ever been able to offer and he was pulling it off on a consistent basis. Couple of weeks ago, Chef Rouyé has opened a more humble restaurant in Val David, called La Table des Gourmets (https://www.facebook.com/pages/La-table-des-gourmets/1463806720537762). It’s, apparently, already a big hit overthere,which, knowing Chef Rouyé’s talent, came as no surprise. Check that out: La Table des Gourmets 2353 rue de l’église, Val-David, Quebec (819) 322-2353

La Queue de Cheval,  Montreal’s very best steakhouse,  has now re-opened. Lavish/luxury/pricey, whether you like it or not, it leaves no one indifferent. I’ll leave the debate over cost performance/price/tolerance to lavishness/perceptions based on price…  to your discretion (you’ll have a lot to say about it, trust me) and will stick to what matters to me: not one single steakhouse in Montreal masters the nuances of  its steak as well as QDC. Just remember, it is very pricey (though ,the Q is aware of that and is consequently also offering  affordable lunch and late night menus).   La Queue de Cheval 1181 Rue de la Montagne, (514) 390-0091 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/queuedecheval  .

I finally tried Tapas 24 Montreal, which is is affiliated with Barcelona’s reknown Tapas restaurant Tapas 24. I was very pleased with both the food and the experience, and if they pursue with the standards I found on the evening of my two visits, then Tapas 24 Montreal will easily rank among the few truely great  restaurants in  Montreal. Keep in mind that it is bite-size food (which is what tapas are), so obviously  not your usual ‘big eater’ destination .My review here. Tapas 24  420 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Montréal, Phone:(514) 849-4424

I recently tried couple of places in Laval, a city North of Montreal: Enotecca Mozza did nothing for me, Pirate de Laval continues to be a decent restaurant by local standards, Le Cosmopolitain remains my preferred breakfast place in Montreal and its surroundings and my once preferred poutine place in Laval (Le Croque) is not what it used to be. You can peruse that report here.

Went back to my other preferred Isakaya in town, Kazu, after a previous meal that was average. This time Kazu was in top form with the best Japanese-isakaya inspired roasted salmon that I ever enjoyed in a restaurant of Montreal as well as a spectacular soft ice cream tasting of the raw fresh cow milk of my tender childhood. I could have a bone to pick over the fact that their omnipresent secret homemade sauce lessens  (a bit, I find) the enjoyment of the food, and the more affordable offerings are  generally not what you should come here for, but Kazu continues to deliver the most delicious Isakaya fares of this city.

Couple of places visited this summer: (1)Bier Markt 1221 René-Lévesque Boulevard West (514) 864-7575- I tried their hamburgers as well as silders which I did both rate with a 4/10 as, for my taste,they lacked the deep beefy bold flavor that such basic fares have no choice but to deliver. Furhermore,  the meat was overcooked/border dry  on both instances. The  variety of beer is amazing, indeed, for a beer destination in Montreal but I wish the food could be up to par. The welcoming, at the entrance, could be warmer.  (2)Le Hachoir 4177 Rue Saint-Denis, Montréal (514) 903-1331- It’s being a while that I wanted to visit Le Hachoir which  name aroused  the carnivore in me. Here, I tried their trio of mini burgers which was  certainly not bad at all, the quality of the meat really good, but I wish theirs had a beefier kick. The quality of the meat was also the saving grace of a nice fresh meaty tartare that I also enjoyed there, but the seasoning lacked  spark. I get their point though: they want the main ingredient to shine through, but in both cases a beefier kick for the trio of mini burgers as well as an exciting seasoning for the tartare, as long as it’s judicious…they would have brought those items a long way. A 5/10 for me,  but this place is popular, fun, the service amazing so consider this to  be a NO sour 5/10 (you can see that they are capable of better). (3)-Reubens Deli 1116  Ste Catherine  continues to impress me. It is the only other restaurant in Montreal, alongside Bottega on St Zotique, that you can rely on, in my view, in terms of consistency.It has been consistently good,for me, year after year. This summer I   had my share of sliders in town and theirs simply blew away any other serving of  sliders I have enjoyed in town. The beefy flavor as well as superb  moist meaty consistency of those sliders were ages ahead of the rest. Their 10 oz “famous super sandwich “continues to be the most refined smoked meat in town. This is not refinement sacrificing flavor, to the contrary it’s technical prouesse in demonstrating that you do not need messy smoked meat to pretend that it is good or authentic, you just need one that’s deliciously meaty, the meat of top quality, the seasoning exciting. Their Montreal-style cheesecake  is also one of the few tastier and better executed ones out there,with strawberry of spectacular fresh ripe /wild flavor. Overall, a 9/10 by Delicatessen standards. Reubens Deli’s refinement may hit on the nerves of those who believe that delicatessen should taste,look and be served in rustic settings –which is pure BS as food is well done or it is not, delicious or not…and nothing else—  , but ultimately it  is one excellent Deli, one of my few preferred Delis anywhere around the globe.

 

On a non-foodie subject, the habs have signed Pk Subban for 8 years worth $72 million. This is little money for one of the greatest athletes of our decade, an exemplary ambassador of his sport  . I think we are lucky, in Quebec, to have such inspiring  athletes such as PK, Georges St Pierre and of course, our latest rising star Eugénie Bouchard.