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mardi, 15 février, 2011
See, here's a resto that KNOWS what it's about! No confusion here, folks, no kilometric picture menus full of incomprehensible stuff...it's just dumplings!
And MAN are they good!
Made fresh from scratch on the premises in a lovely kitchen in plain view of the dining room - it's fun to stand there and just watch them make 'em - they've perfected the art of making sure they retain all of the brothy juicy goodness inside.
(And yes that does mean that you'll burn your tongue when you bite on 'em if you're not careful.)
We like that they mind the details. The best way to eat dumplings, as every Chinese person knows, is dipping them in a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar. What's nice is that alongside a lovely soy sauce they provide this WONDERFUL, aromatic Chinese black vinegar - and the bottle's right there on the table for you. It really heightens the whole dumpling experience.
Still not convinced? Prices are about the same as at BurgerKing - it's perfectly possible to eat a lovely lunch for under $10/person (beware: cash only.) The atmosphere is quite nice - sort of neo-chinatown chic - the service usually fast, and the dumplings totally addiction-forming.
We always go for the steamed ones, but you can get them "fried" (really they're braised) or boiled as well.
We especially like this place because we have a toddler and the service is really baby-friendly. It's a very relaxed place to come with a kid.
So try it because...dumplings!
Everything about this place is breathtaking - the food, the service and - unfortunately - the prices!
You go to La Chronique for uncompromising high cuisine - it's the kind of place where Dinner and Art meet.
Though everything in our 7-course tasting menu was extraordinary, if I had to pick a standout it was the dessert selection. It's rare, if you ask me, for dessert to be the highlight of an exceptionally good meal, but La Chronique's sweets were just out of this world.
Absolutely go - but preferably on an expense account! (Or go for lunch, when prices fall back down from the eveningtime stratosphere.)
UPDATE: Just went back to this place for the first time since they moved to their new location.
The new dining room is far more in tune with the style of cooking than the old one across the street used to be: contemporary, understated, cool and very, very stylish.
Lunchtime menu prices are not the paycheck-sapping monstruosities of the evening menu, and meals are a bit less elaborate, but the quality is the same. I've never had risotto so well made before, and I used to live in Italy.
La Chronique is everything a Fancy Restaurant should be. These guys are not foolin' around.
I live near by so, I'm a bit of a regular.
Poutineville is a cut above most Montreal poutine joints. It has a neat, innovative, build-your-own-poutine menu design, including surprisingly tasty topping choices like marinated aubergines (yum!) Their patates écrassées (crushed potatoes) are very nice and should be widely copied.
I think their poutine sauces are just a little bit too thick and starchy - I prefer something a little bit runnier. I also note they're not totally consistent - sometimes the pepper sauce is SUPER spicy, sometimes not very spicy at all - so I guess there was some experimentation with recipes going on in the kitchen.
For a place specialized in poutine, you'd expect nice big chunks of consistently fresh, squeaky cheese curds, which you don't always get.
Those are nits. It's a nice place for a casual late night poutine. (I'd avoid Friday and Saturday evenings, though, when the lines tend to spill out onto the sidewalk.)
Some people say the service tends to break down when the place is super full. Since I've never come when it's bursting, I've only ever had really nice, smiling, quick service.
Note that the Gay Village location is way more stylish than the original Petite Patrie store.
We've been coming here for a few years and the place was always really good, but it's getting better and better.
We'd always come for the lovely, fancy burgers. Those are very special. The pulled-pork sandwich is absolutely delectable as well - made on site, sweet and salty and just perfect.
Then one day, on a whim, my wife decided she didn't feel like meat and ordered the Fish Filet sandwich.
Now, Fish Filet sandwiches are easily overlooked at burger joints, even fancy ones like this one. It's just not the reason you go there. So she wasn't expecting much and then...WOW! She was completely blown away. I had a taste, and I was too!
Fluffy and light and greasy and garlicky in all the perfect proportions, it's just sensational: the best thing on the menu, hiding in plain sight.
These days, we don't even think about the burgers at La Boulette anymore: we go directly for that incredible Fish sandwich.
But we can't help but notice that everything else in the place is also improved. The side salads are now really quite impressive, the salad-repas choices make compelling burger alternatives, the Sweet Potato fries are out of this world. (Actually, they're more like sweet potato tempura.) Plus the poutine is among the best in Montreal.
The decor is still stylish, the service still friendly and fast even amid a Friday and Saturday night rush. And prices are fair - they'll seem exorbitant for burgers, but then this place has more in common with a fancy restaurant than with McDonald's. Absolutely recommended.
Try that Fish sandwich!
The few times I've been here the waiters didn't seem to care much if we ate or starved. Long waits for surly service even when the place wasn't particularly busy. :(
You just about forgive them, though, cuz the pizza is real, proper neapolitan style pizza from a proper wood oven at non-crazy prices.
Food - Good to Great.
Service - Unbelievably Great
The food here is either traditional bistro fare - always very well executed - or slightly more chic, haute-cuisine inspired stuff - which ranges from Excellent (the pavé de saumon) to at times a little disappointing. You can't go wrong with the classics, though - fish soup, steak-frites, cassoulet, always up to par.
What sets Au Petit Extra apart is the service. I don't know how they do it, but no matter how full it is, there's always a calm, polite, knowledgeable, eager-to-help but never-in-the-way waitress around. It's such an important part of the meal experience, and they get it right every time.
If you ask them questions, they know the answers and will give them in French or English. If you want a glass of wine, they'll give you two bottles to taste so you can choose. If you want advice, they give you advice. And if you don't they don't.
I've never left a tip less than 20% here, because it really is that good.
Yes, the Nautical decoration is kind of hokey, and no, you shouldn't come here if you're on a diet. But Pat'e'palo is a find: a wonderfully unpretentious family-run Peruvian place with fair prices, warm service, wonderful ceviche and lovely cooking all around.
The thing they sell as moules marinière isn't really moules marinière at all, it's way better: a stunningly tasty Ceviche-style concoction of cold mussels that's definitely worth checking out. The Chicharron - both fish and chicken - is excellent and the Rice-with-Shrimp really stunned us: so subtle, so well made. The yuca is cooked just right, and even the fries are home-made crispy and lovely here.
We keep going back to Pat'e'Palo, because we've never had a bad meal there. They do take-away, too!