My boyfriend is a very devoted hockey fan. Not the kind of fan that only watches the game when time allows, but rather the fan that will make time no matter the day, time or setting. If the Montreal Canadiens are playing, he’s watching, period. I love hockey too. I love the feeling of belonging, the avalanche of emotions and the unparalleled ambiance that makes game night so exciting. Unfortunately, very few places in Montreal make it possible to enjoy the hockey, the atmosphere, the music, the food, the cocktails ... equally! No matter how much we love hockey, my boyfriend is still a chef and can’t possibly find it in him to sacrifice delicious food for a giant screen and screaming fans. Hence, this has become a recurring problem in our household. We want the sound, the fun and the atmosphere, yet we also want to enjoy quality food and drinks. That being said, Rosewood has found a way to restore, in all its aspects, the perfect hockey evening.
The mistake made by most Montrealers (myself included), is undermining quality for mere visuals. How many times do you walk into a restaurant, excitedly whispering how beautiful it is, to finally end up walking out somewhat disappointed but mainly broke. Fortunately, this does not apply to Rosewood. When entering, we inevitably noticed the beautiful decor, modern yet elegant. The high ceilings bring our attention to a large mezzanine, overlooking the dining room and bar. The wooden accents cleverly hint to the venue’s name. The table arrangement is scattered yet dynamic set on two stories and several different heights. Finally, a lively dining room that puts aside the school like straight rows of tables.
When entering a new restaurant, I usually first notice the smell. However, in this case, the first thing that catches my attention is the great music; a mix of deep house, jazz and lounge. The cocktail list is simple with a twist. Their smoked maple syrup Old Fashion is a house specialty. The oak smoke is released tableside, leaving a delicious woody aroma. A must try.
Their gastro-pub style menu presents typical bar food items yet slightly enhanced and the prices are surprisingly affordable (mains between $18 and $24). Most of the presented choices are warm and comforting dishes, putting forward seasonal ingredients such as squash and mushrooms. Luxury comfort food, oh yes! After enjoying a few tasty homemade cocktails, we decide to go ahead with a selection of popular choices and house suggestions for our food.
To start, the appetizers. Firstly, a lamb kefta, served with a yogurt and mint sauce with a small side of cucumber salad. The kefta is tender, juicy and well seasoned. The yogurt sauce is light, which deliciously complements the richness of the kefta. The cucumber salad, fresh with a spicy kick, balances the dish perfectly.
Secondly, the fried chicken croquettes, made with chicken thigh and lightly seasoned with salt flower and lemon, served with a jalapeno ranch dip and a barbecue sauce. Quite frankly, this must be some of the best fried chicken I’ve had in a while. The breading is crispy, not too oily nor too greasy. The sauces are perfectly complementary; one is creamy and spicy and the other, sweet and smoky. Wow. My boyfriend and I agree; we could eat a whole barrel of it! I’m amazed to have such high quality food and cocktails, whilst still being able to enjoy the hockey game. Irrevocably, no need to comprise!
Soon after arrive our mains. Firstly, the barbecue ribs. This dish is part of a special menu available only during hockey nights. Sadly, the ribs are a little firm to my liking. However, they are generously basted with a succulent barbecue sauce, which somewhat compensates for their lack of tenderness. Their house fries are delicious; crispy, salted, light and not too oily.
Next, the Yellowfin burger. Made with black and white sesame, avocado and tempura, topped with tomatoes, iceberg lettuce and spicy mayonnaise. It comes with a choice of sides; their house fries, a salad, or the ideal half-and-half. The tuna is fresh and juicy and the toppings boost up the flavours well. The first bite does it all; the bun (brioche style) and tuna melt in your mouth.
After such a delicious feast, we are beyond full. We decide to sit back and enjoy the end of a game. The most important thing to remember is to never compromise quality or fun for a prettier setting. Living in a city such as Montreal, it’s possible to find everything under one roof. Thus, Rosewood has proven it.