Tuesday, April 30, 2013


A couple weeks ago, we were celebrating the fact that a friend of ours was back from Kuwait for 6 weeks (yay!) so we were heading to Voro. Turns out, it was all reserved with about a 45 minute wait. I don’t think so. So, we walked along Fairmount and found Cartel in the Mile End.

There weren’t many people in there so we were hesitant at first but still went in (actually, there were about 5 people). The place has a loungy feel to it. It had ‘happenin’ music’ with about 100 seats. Oh and there seemed to be a couch on the ceiling ?! Weird.

The menu was all over the place: quesadillas, lobster rolls, meat, poutine. It was a mix of Mexican/Japanese/Canadian.  I usually don’t tend to appreciate mixed restaurants (I’m SO restaurantIST), but this one turned out to be ok. And their theme was ‘street food’… so the mix of different foods was understandable. 

I had the duck quesadillas. I see duck on a menu, I have duck. It's that simple. The duck turned out to be a tad dry but there were really good flavors in there and amazing guacamole! Careful, the hot sauce (on the side) is damn hot. I was happy with the portion: it was quite big, for my big appetite!

The service was good. The waitress knew what she was talking about and opened the wine very well (I always look at this part of the service, don't ask). She was friendly and knew her shhtuff. On top of it, when we asked for the bill, it took about 3.5 seconds to get it. I guess the fact that there were about 12 people when we left kind of helped!

And now, the scores!!!

Food: a generous 8
Service: 8,5

Don't be fooled by the fact that there's no one in this restaurant. It's worth a try!!!

Cartel Street Food Bar on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 15, 2013


OK, hold the phone....I actually got invited to a restaurant opening! ME! I  mean, it's never happened to me before, so I was pretty darn excited (and still am, as you can see). Anyhoot, I invited my friend V. We had quite a hard time finding the place. I thought it had replaced Juliette et Chocolat but turns out it actually took the place of one of my friends and I old breakfast spot, Cafeteria. I must say I had a tiny tear when I saw that Cafeteria was gone but I also must declare that I was kind of thinking that that place was passed its prime.

We got there at around 8 to, you know, be fashionably late and it was full. Like, full full. Meh. But forget that, I got to say that I was from Eating out in montreal at the door and she checked it off her list. I felt...special :) As I mentionned, it was packed in there. It was funny, I could spot my fellow bloggers who were writing notes either on their IPad or on a...pad. The place itself doesn't look anything like it did before: large plants line the windows (from outside, it looks like a jungle in there!), lots of wood everywhere, nice long wires with lamp bulbs hanging haphazardly from the ceiling, fake vines (ew), a big wooden bar near the back of the restaurant and the open kitchen right behind it. I found it a tad funny that there were stools at the kitchen, as if people would want to drink and chat right in front of the cooks. Weird. Speaking of cooks, apparently, two of them worked at Toqué!, so that's cool!

The vibe was great, but then again, it was the opening so that could change. I have a feeling though that it will quickly become one of the McGill students' fave spots. 'Café Campus and Vol de nuit whhhhat---we're going to SuWu tonight!'

Ok, so we took a spot at the bar (not sitting yet....there were no chairs available :/) and a couple minutes later, the bartender who had seen us from the corner of his eye, brough us drinks. Turns out, the drink was called a Wu-Tang (sake, lemon vodka, lime, lychee and grapes). It was good but the lychees and grapes were not very noticeable and the alcohol level could have been a bit higher (WHAT??? I like boozy drinks!). V did not feel like drinking that so she gave it to me (yay, double drink!) and bought herself an overpriced (or so we, non going outters think) beer (8$).

As for the food, between 7 and 9 was 'media' time (well, hello, I'm media) so the food was free. I loves me some free food! Anyhoot, a couple people were going around with food like their 'famous' mac n' cheese grilled cheese and yummy ribs. The first was weird enough but still was enjoyable. The pasta was well cooked, which is the way I prefer it and it was well seasoned. Not sure if I'd want to have this as a meal though. There was this lovely homemade ketchup on top that added a certain je ne sais quoi to it. It was fresh and went well with the bread, cheese and pasta. The ribs (OH, the ribs) we're DAMN good. And if I say that ribs are THAT good, it's because I've had the chance to eat a lot of those and I know what I'm talking about! Simply put, they melted in your mouth. I just wanted more and more still.

Now, let's talk a tad about the staff: half of them kind of sucked. Sorry! I know it was the opening and maybe that was the factor but meh. I think two of the guys who were passing around the food were the owners and they were very nice and knew who to give the food to (ME!). On the other hand, the bar tenders... Ok there was this girl that we called 'side boob girl' because of the obvious side boobage. It was just annoying. Oh and she kept on texting which is SO uncool! Another one didn't really look like she had anything to do (but there was a LOT to be done) and one of the guy was running around but not doing much.

And now, the scores:

Food: 8
Service: 6, but this one is hard to say, since it was the opening after all

All in all, a great new place. Very vibrant. I just know the Mcgill crowd will enjoy it!

SuWu on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 8, 2013

Au pied de cochon

My bro and parents went to this resto and I was NOT there :/ Sad but true and also, well, I have 20$ in my bank account. Not good for Au pied de cochon.

This resto is in the heart of Le Plateau on Duluth right east of St-Denis. The famous chef, Martin Picard, is
sometimes present, sometimes not. This time he was not :(

Bro In:

Ok - I just got off the treadmill - STRAIGHT TO MY THIGHS - should be Picard's national anthem - and that ain't bad- his famed resto has earned quite the rep, and well, when it came time to walk the walk it did just that - leading me right to the aforementioned treadmill. Ok enough rubbish - let's get to the goods.

The place was packed, reservations ahead of time is a safe bet. Then again, it was Friday night. It's tight and
boisterous in there - and that ain't bad We were seated in a pretty awkward come and go spot at first - we
requested to be moved, the hostess kindly obliged and we were relocated to a slightly less busy quarter.

McAuslan brews their "special" Pied de Cochon ale - it's a Frontenac... anyways... order a few of those and start your downward health /ascending moral spiral. Here's what we had to start. Oh - and the service - it's immaculate - Picard has assembled quite the army of observant cats. Your mug is empty - they're on it - tonight's specials - they'll unspool the verbal scroll of recipes before you without blinking/stuttering, no biggie.

Tarte de tomates: Unctuous - buttery - delicate - rich in flavour - flaky crust - nothing but goodness here - it works well as a dish that you split - mowing one of those bad boys to yourself would be a crime against the rest of the menu.

Salade de Bleu, pommes, endives: plentiful - and possibly the greenest dish on offer... we think. Generous
amounts of blue cheese crumbled in a mixture of apples and endives - the whole thing tossed in a most simple delicious dressing.

Paté de campagne: is exactly what it was - taste and texture were pleasant - but when compared to the other 2 entrées - this one takes the bronze - especially when one knows what comes next!

Meal 1: Côte de cochon heureux
Very tender and generous cut of porc, bone in, cooked just right. As per the above picture, this ain’t a pretty plate – in fact – most dishes don’t come off douchy looking – straight up presentation often overshadowed by the amount of food/sauce on the plate. The dish is accompanied by mushrooms and red cabbage and topped off by a balsamic sauce – in fact a bit too much of it.

Meal 2: Pied de cochon
There is a “jarret” de cochon under all that sauce, promise. If you’re expecting a traditional pied de cochon – what would seem to be a titular dish at this restaurant, don’t order this one – maybe this take on it: PDC farci au foie gras. They debone the jarret, leaving nothing but meat – lots of it – and it is succulent – too bad the whole thing is covered with so much sauce/mush that it practically drips off the plate.

Meal 3: Canard en conserve
Can’t say enough good things about this dish. From the moment it’s served to the last bite – this thing will literally send you high heaven… if duck and its byproducts is your bag. The contents of the can – which is opened before your eyes have been canned earlier that day – breast and a nice slab of foie gras along – well seasoned and accompanied by veggies… but really – the whole thing just stews in duck fat… full blown duck fat. It’s super rich and super good. The bed of cauliflower purée on which the contents of the can are poured onto acts as a sort of cleanser between every delicious bite. The duck doesn’t flake like a confit would – it’s a bit tougher than that. The portion is just right given the contents – anymore and you’d probably be this dude.

There is a beautiful wood oven in the restaurant - the kitchen is open – so you can see all the cooks busy at work – toiling over hot skillets and assembling mouthwatering dishes – the vibe is good – they had Arcade Fire and Pierre Lapointe playing in the background. The conversations are loud in plentiful in this joint. The baguettes, baked in house are delicious. Bottom line, it’s everything you’d expect from this place.

And now, the scores:
Food: 9 (could have been 10 but the presentation was lacking)
Service: 9

I’d go back in a heartattack beat. My rents chalk it up to “been there, done that”

 Au Pied de Cochon on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Ngan Dinh

I’d been meaning to go there for quite some time now, so a couple weeks ago, on my day off, I picked up some take-out. As the saying goes, you know it’s going to be good if there are Asians in an Asian restaurant. True that! This review will only concern the food because, as previously mentioned, I didn’t eat there.

I gotta say though that the place itself is tiny, located in a half-basement, badly decorated, with a tiny… HOME kitchen. Ya there’s a fryer, an old white oven, a little fridge… Also, the people working there (a young lady and most likely her dad) are so sweet and nice. As soon as you come in, they say hi, they give you the menu and while you’re waiting, they give you some water. On top of it, the wait is not much of a wait at all… 10 minutes tops. I love not waiting.

I had the General Tao combo which includes a soup, a spring roll, general Tao with either noodles or rice (I took the noodles). The soup is very simple but tasty enough. It has a couple pieces of carrot, some spinach and a bit of noodles. It has a very… uncomplicated taste to it. And it was HOT. The way you want your soup to be. Not cold (eek!!!), not lukewarm (come on!), but hot! The chicken was really good. Not what you think General Tao chicken should taste like. Well actually, General Tao chicken is a product of America (as y’all should know), so I think they’re doing a favor by having it on their menu because I LOVE the stuff.
It had a great mix of sweet and sour and such a damn didelidamn good sauce coating the chicken. I just wished there would have been more to coat the blend-ish noodles as well! And well, one piece of chicken was a tad burnt and therefore very over crispy and therefore not too good :( The salad was nice but come oooon, who needs tiny pieces of vegetables if you have amazing GT chicken? The pork and veggies spring roll was nicely fried and had nice flavors. Just what you'd expect from an Asian resto.

And now, the score...

Food: 9

I was very full at the end (maybe it was more for 1 and a half person?). Anyhoot, if you want real Asian food, go there!!!

Ngan Dinh on Urbanspoon