Posts Tagged ‘laval’

Restaurant Beroya (Addr: 3455 Boulevard Saint-Martin O, Laval Phone 450-681-2020)  is a Syrian restaurant in Laval, opened 7 months ago. The restaurant is sparsely, but tastefully decorated in a contemporary oriental fashion way. An elegant restaurant by the standards of our local Syrian restaurants.

There is an important immigration of Syrians in Canada, right now, for the reasons that we all know, consequently our local foodie scene is facing two realities:

(1)plenty of online restaurant reviewers do allow their sympathy for the cause (the suffering those newcomers escaped) to impact their opinion on the food they are talking about.

(2)the quality of Syrian cuisine in Montreal is improving considerably, with long time local Syrian heavyweights (Alep, Damas) having some serious competition.

Listen, I am myself an immigrant and do have a profound admiration for Syrian people, but it is a nonsense to mix up feelings of that sort with ur thoughts on food. You are certainly not encouraging excellence by doing that.

As stated elsewhere on this blog, ottoman based cuisines are not unknown to me. And I am talking about the serious sort of ottoman based food, the one found in its genuinely traditional mom and pop forms.

Yalangy (Chard leaves stuffed with a seasoned rice and nuts simmered with lemon juice) – The best Yalangy I ever had in Montreal made an appearance. For educational purpose (a great diner is after all a better educated consumer), I need to remind you of boring things  like this one: a Chef is a human being, obviously…though, to many among us, myself included, that is not always that…obvious;) Therefore depending on his mood and other personal reasons, sometimes he can do great things, sometimes not. This Chef did something great, on that evening I dined there, and that great thing was delivered  in the form  of a Yalangy with leaves of great quality,  superlative flavors and flattering textures. 10/10

Kebbeh Hamiss / 2 كبة حميص $ (la pièce / per piece) – Fried kebbeh stuffed with minced meat mixed with pine nuts and onion. – Good execution, great balance of the seasoning, nice texture, with quality minced meat, pine nuts and onions. A distant dream for its sad cousin  at Miss Favela in Brooklyn (I know that was a Brazilian restaurant, but if you put something on your  menu, do it well!), and yet I had better. Still, very very very good!  8/10

Kabab Bil karaz كباب كرز (cherry kabab). Finely minced meat seasoned with Aleppo spices grilled on charcoal served with a sour cherry sauce. This is a dish I haven’t tried for years. Cooked to order (hear me Vizantino taverna?? cooked to order… ) , this was good, with the expected sweet and sour taste properly accentuated. I picked this dish because I wanted to taste it again after all those years, and it was properly done, in a refined way, but I suggest you pick a less  of “an acquired taste” food item  unless you are already a fan of the Kabab Bil karaz  (I know, by experience, that is not an item that is easy to love for the non initiated ;p). 7/10

Overall food rating (Categ: Syrian cuisine in Montreal and surroundings): 7/10  The food is refined and yet respectful of their traditional flavors. I was selfish (hey it is my hard earned $$ so I pick whatever I want! lol), and picked an item that will hardly win any popular contest (Kabab Bil karaz كباب كرز  ), but the other items will convince those who are not a fan of the Kabab Bil karaz كباب كرز   that the Chef is competent (a Yalangy, on this visit, that was one of the best you will eat in town, some  very good flatbread, etc).

Bottom line: Laval is hardly a dream city for foodies, but I keep receiving intel about some few places in Laval cooking worth-trying ottoman- based food, intel coming from people who know that kind of food far better than most of the self proclaimed and marketed-as-such local food experts. One of those reliable people leaked the information to myleaks: “I know how you do not think highly of the local food scene, but give this one a try, the owners and Chefs came straight from the motherland, not a long time ago, therefore they did not get a chance to americanize their food, it is as close to the flavors of the motherland as it gets here“, she insisted. She was not wrong, eventhough she won’t be happy when she will learn that I did not make their Chef “look good” by refraining from  ordering items that are crowd pleasers,  and  that I prefer straigtforward bold rustic cooking (this is more refined than  your typical casual levantine food). But hey, I have got to give to Ceasar what pertains to Ceasar: Beroya is a good Syrian restaurant, indeed.

 

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.