Three friends and I spent four days in Montreal and ate with the guidance of chowhounders.
First night L'Express (which I confused with Lemeac and went looking for their late night bargain) I had the Pot au Feu which was plain but good with a nice piece of beef, a chicken leg, a large marrow bone and some carrots, cabbage, leek, potato and turnip. For me, it needed more herbs/spice so mustard completed the dish. This was the winner in our food selection. The next night was Au Pied de Cochon which I would eat at regularly if I lived in Montreal. I started with a fois gras croquemais, a small square of foie gras, breaded and deepfried. I've never been a foie gras fan but now I am. It's a taste I now dream about as the foie gras melted in my mouth. I also had their endive salad with apples and blue cheese and a just off the boat blue tuna carpaccio. The other folks at the table had the duck magret (too exotic for a fussy eater which describes the person who ordered it,) the PDC Melting Pot, another winner with boudin, pork sausage, pork loin and one other type of pork, and finally, their mock morels (chanterelles and bread soaked in meat renderings) and bison steak frites. Could they open up an offshoot in San Francisco?
Jean Talon market was a treat where we had Sunday breakfast crepes and took way too many pictures of beautiful peppers and tomatoes. We wasted an evening on Crescent St. when we ignored the concierge's recommendation of Hurley's and went for the recommendation of someone sitting at the bar at our hotel. He and his wife love Weinstein & Gavino. Mistake! I thought it smelled like lard and one of my friends had a visceral reaction and wanted out after we had been seated and the waitress delivered bread and water. We left a tip and wandered over to Les 3 Brasseurs which was a big let down after our previous two dinners. I enjoyed my cracker pizza well enough but one of my companions decided to take the plunge with their poutain. Mistake!
We planned on Olive and Gourmand for lunch but, alas, it was a Monday, so we wound up at the friendly Kilo across town where we had good sandwiches although my Croque Monsieur was like no other CM I'd ever had, more like a French Bread pizza. Unfortunately, the tomatoes (!) made everything slide around, making it difficult to eat.
Finally on our last night, we went to Lemeac where I realized my confusion with L'Express. If we ate 1-1/2 hours later my $36 meal would have been $22. But the food was delicious.I had a grilled calamari appetizer with zucchini in a nice citrus sauce. This was followed by delicious short ribs in a tasty reduction on a bed of chard and barley. I love chard and I loved this sauce so I would have been happy with a vegetarian version of this dish. My friend had an exquisite salmon tartar in truffle sauce followed by a spinach salad and my less adventurous friend had the game hen which he loved, which says a lot. (See fussy eater above.) We split an inventive sorbet combo (Frais/Raspberry with Banana--banana overpowers/Lemon and Coconut Basil) which was a bit creamier than I expected for sorbet and the lemon was a bit grainy as if it hadn't quite frozen properly.
Had never been and don't know when I will find my way to this part of the world again. I thank all Chowhounders who made it possible to find the "real" best food so easily.
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