Jun 20, 2012

Deville Dinerbar

Put on your stretchy pants folks – Deville Dinerbar is classic American dining with a twist, designed to satisfy you until you burst. I won’t dwell on the hype this restaurant has received since it opened recently, but this place really seems to be on everyone’s lips lately and for good reason.
Ahi Tuna Tacos

Reading the menu at Deville is like going to Disney World for the first time when you’re a kid– you walk in and you’re so excited, you don’t know where to begin. Appetizers are the stars here. The bacon-wrapped Dog Sliders are exceptional and even more so when slathered with their special purple mustard sauce. The Ahi Tuna Tacos are another notable favorite. Slightly seared tuna in crunchy wont-ton taco shells, slathered in lime-wasabi aioli proves to be a successful Asian twist on this traditional Mexican dish. The Philly Cheesesteak Spring Rolls are interesting but the meat to cheese ratio is a bit off and makes for an overly heavy dish.

The salad menu boasts some strange yet delicious flavor combinations – waffle croutons and fried chicken? A bit over the top, but worth a try. The main courses include some classic American staples that no one can resist. The Bacon-Weaved Meatloaf, and Adam’s Ribs are the top picks here. If there’s one thing to avoid here it’s the burger. Yes you will see one sitting on almost every table, but don’t be fooled by its ubiquity. Taller than two Big Macs put together, the Deville burger can only be eaten with a knife and fork and the meat to bun to condiment ratio is completely off and we didn’t find anything particularly special about the taste.
Adam's Ribs

Southern Fried Chicken Salad
The dessert menu is where it gets really snazzy. Going on a ‘dessert-only’ date? Forget the lineup at Juliette & Chocolat and share a Toasted Marshmallow milkshake at Deville in true Archie and Veronica fashion. If you have room left after the main meal (which you doubtfully will), try the Big Easy Beignets. Made on site and served with warm decadent caramel and chocolate bourbon sauces these are not your average donuts. Another great choice is the Pain Perdu, which comes with the requisite caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.

If there’s one downside to this downtown eatery, it would be the pricing. The casual dining is certainly not reflected in the bill. The appetizers are excessively pricey so if you’re on a budget and know you won’t finish a huge meal, plan your meal carefully and just order an appetizer and dessert.

On a final note, Deville opens up their private terrace in the back courtyard in the summer which makes for a great 5 à 7 spot. There’s usually hardly ever a wait and you only make reservations for large groups.

Deville Dinerbar on Urbanspoon

Jun 18, 2012

Foodies for a Cause – Table of Hope 2012

If you were in the ballroom at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel on May 22, 2012 you were probably witness to another great edition of the Table of Hope, benefiting the Share the Warmth Foundation. This annual event showcases Montreal’s hottest restaurants and wineries, and local celebs lend their culinary skills for a good cause. 

The evening’s VIPs were treated to a pre-dinner Patrons Cocktail and then the party moved into the main ballroom where over 40 restaurants had delicious samplings at the ready. The event showcases the city’s well established and popular eateries such as Moishes and L’Orchidée de Chine, but also allows guests to discover unfamiliar restaurants, amazing caterers and sample local wines.

Here’s the roundup of the night’s star-studded festivities:

Table of Hope Foodie Awards  - 2012

Best Display: 
Queen Elizabeth Hotel's Beaver Club
Pyrus Bistro
Mr. Basil

Best Food: 
Macaroni Bar (pulled porc sandwiches)
Casa Minhota (croquettes and calamari)

Best Dessert: 
Délices de Dawn (Lemon Merengue Cake and Chocolate Brownie  Explosion)
CHOM’s spectacular guitar cake

Most Popular: 
Rib 'n Reef

Best Celebrity Sous-Chef: 
Sugar Sammy

Best Musical Performance: 
Montreal Gospel Choir
For more information: http://www.tableofhope.ca
Braised beef from Bitoque
Mac Bar chefs & Sugar Sammy (most likely saying something inappropriate)
Restaurant Ofelia

Croquettes from Casa Minhota

L'Orchidée de Chine

Baxo Cuisine and Bar
Former PM Brian Mulroney getting his sugar fix at CJAD's candy bar
Montreal Gospel Choir - bringing soul to the evening's festivities
Alouette players Bowman (#7) and Bourne (#59)
Macaroni Bar's  pulled pork sandwiches
Délices de Dawn
CHOM 97's Guitar Cake
Pyrus Bistro

See you next year!

Feb 4, 2012

Taverne Gaspar

Few places in the Old Port know how to combine the perfect amounts of laid-back and trendy. On the one end, there are the restaurants too chic for their own good and are too intimidating when you just want to throw back a beer as you catch la game. On the other hand, we have the pub style restaurants that offer nothing original and satisfying in terms of food. It’s a good thing – no, a great thing – that Taverne Gaspar has shown up.  

Gaspar is all about juxtaposition. The authentic grey stone walls and wooden beams give it that old-school tavern style, but the fancy light-up bar and track lighting lend to its trendy atmosphere. It’s a great space that allows for easy mobility, making it an ideal venue for groups, but is equally catered to intimate dinners for two. Nothing is worse than pretentious staff at a restaurant that is so self-aware of its trendiness. This is not the case at Gaspar. The service can best be described as friendly and attentive for the most part. We went on a quiet night and yet we found ourselves waiting a tad too long for our cocktails. We had to pull the old “glance around” to show we were not pleased with the wait time. But things picked up after that and food was delivered speedily and courteously.

 The cocktail list is worth noting as it contains some anomalies which we were more than eager to try. Highly recommended by our waiter was the cucumber Tom Collins. Refreshing and tasty – a great departure from the usual bevy of cosmos and martinis. The house beer is a standout as well. While we’re not experts in the beer department, we can confirm the house brew is light and flavorful and makes a great accompaniment to practically any dish on the menu.

 Appetizers were fantastic and highlights included the onion bone marrow soup and beet and goat cheese salad. We asked which were the most popular mains and decided to sample the Tavern burger which is hands down, the winner in this category, as well as the Cornish hen. The hen was cooked to perfection and was surprisingly light. We like to think of ourselves as extremely discerning burger experts with high expectations that are rarely met, so its worth pointing out how impressive the Tavern burger is. The Manchego cheese and touch of pork belly add just the right hints of tanginess and succulence. The onion rings that accompany the dish have the perfect blend of crispiness, tenderness and salt. If you order one thing at Gaspar, this is undoubtedly it. The fried chicken is also a favorite but to our great disappointment, was no longer available that night. 

The dessert menu is dangerously tempting, but the main courses are so filling they leave absolutely no room for even a bite of pouding chomeur – which was a huge regret. Upon our next visit, we will definitely leave room to sample the rootbeer float or banana split and provide an update because the desserts sound too delicious to be ignored.

Hockey fans finally have a great alternative to the bland pub fare up the street. Big flat screens on either side of the bar provide great viewing angles from almost every table in the restaurant. So ladies, be very strategic in your seating choice if there’s a game on and you want some level of focus from your date!

The number of Old Montreal restaurants that you can put on your “repeat” list is scarce and Gaspar is undoubtedly on that list. A harmonious blend of fantastic food, drinks, reasonable prices, service, and ambiance make Gaspar worth a repeat visit. 

Taverne Gaspar on Urbanspoon

Oct 20, 2011


Looking to spice up your lunchtime routine of ham and cheese sandwiches? Treat yourself to one of the most original midday meals we’ve ever seen. Behold the "Sushi Burger":

"Sushi Burger" at iBurger, Montreal

Most nine to fivers have a hard time eating an entire 12oz angus burger for lunch and then attempting to be semi-productive at work. So while salmon tartar and rice might seem like a nice alternative to its beefy counterparts here, don’t be fooled by the illusionary lightness of this meal. Yes the rice “hamburger buns” are made of deliciously fluffy rice and encapsulate layers of smooth salmon tartar and avocado – but half way through, you are guaranteed to fall into a heavenly sushi coma. Certainly one of the pricier items on the menu, the sushi burger is, in our opinion, worth every penny. Beef burgers are the obvious specialty but we couldn’t resist testing out this unique culinary creation. Dress it up or dress it down and make it as spicy as you’d like – all can be done on the interactive touch screen of your iPad table.

For all you technophiles, the tables at this restaurant are made of giant touch screens that allow you to order your meal and drinks as soon as you sit down. But don’t worry; the friendly wait staff is always around in case you’re not as tech savvy as most of the Gen-X crowd.  iBurger also counts a great bar area and some screens to watch the hockey game – making this a great place to unwind on a weeknight. 

iBurger on Urbanspoon