Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Le Saloon

I love going to the Village. The ambiance is relaxed, there is a lot of entertainment and you just feel free. Last week my friend Ryan booked a few chairs at Le Saloon for his birthday.

It's basically a restaurant/bar/club. The music is loud and danceable, there is a bar downstairs, tables downstairs and upstairs, the lighting is quite low, the waiters are hot, etc. If you know L'Assommoir Notre-Dame in the Old Port, picture a kind of gay version of it. I unfortunately didn't think about taking pictures of the place itself.

The first four pages of the menu are basically drinks. Then you have the food. All kinds of food. Tartares, fried stuffs, Asian cuisine, Quebecer cuisine, salads, burgers, etc. They have whatever suits your taste buds.

I ordered an Espresso martini and a duck Shepherd's pie.

Espresso martini

The Espresso martini is made with Cognac, Frangelico, Tia Maria, Bailey's and actual espresso. It did not taste like alcohol at all. As a coffee addict, I have to admit I might have drank this down a little faster than I should have. Well I just drink fast in general. I always have a Black Russian when I go out or a coffee when I eat out. This was just perfect for me.

Duck Shepherd's pie

I've been eating duck ever since I was a kid. Whenever I see duck on a menu, I am too tempted to try. This combination just seemed so weird I had to order it. My food came hot (I like it hot). The top of the potato layer was slightly crispy. Unfortunately the duck wasn't savory enough. The texture of the whole pie and the duck itself was right. I don't know how they cooked the duck but I found something was missing there. At least it was very filling (to the point that I had to take out half of it in a doggy bag).

I didn't take pictures of everyone else's food but I'll review anyways what I have managed to shoot and taste.

Beef tartare façon Saloon entrée

The beef tartare was really good. I think the truffle oil and the simple seasoning was what made it flavorful but just enough not to hide the taste of the beef. I hate it when I order tartare in a restaurant and it's drenched in dressing. The baguette crisps were good but a little too thick. For that texture I find it would have been better either really thin or half that thickness.

Steak New York

My friend was pretty surprised to see shrimp on her steak ... because it wasn't written on the menu. Fortunately she is not allergic and she was actually happy to get that little extra. I didn't try the steak itself but I had some fries. They were warm and just the right texture. They were also salted just enough. And yes, they give you a shitload of fries.

Overall if you're looking for a club ambiance with good food and good looking people, Le Saloon is just for you. I would come back again and try the other items on the menu. I think it's perfect if you go with a group of friends but it might be a bit weird for a date (unless you don't mind trying to have a conversation over loud music). The service was good and fast. I have absolutely nothing to say against it and I think our waitress did a great job.

For more information :

Friday, September 13, 2013

Burger Bar Crescent Take 2

I decided to take my friend Rio out for his birthday last week. We went to Burger Bar because I had told myself before I have to try every burger on the menu.

We got there around 6pm and were quite lucky. Burger Bar's popularity has been increasing a lot in the past year and on weekends if you're more than two persons you have to make a reservation ... or wait in the entrance for like 45 minutes for customers to leave.

So we were seated near the entrance (not exactly the most interesting spot honestly). The menus changed looks and they added new interesting items (I didn't remember having seen fish last time I went).

We started off with mozzarella cheese sticks.

They were crispy, spicy and warm. Easy to cut but they didn't melt. A little bit too salty, but we didn't mind. The ratio of breading to cheese was good.

Rio ordered a Goliath and I asked for a Hangover.

The Goliath has two beef patties, American cheese, double smoked bacon, banana peppers, lettuce, tomato, red onion and mayo.

Rio's Goliath

Just like last time our burgers were towers of stacked goodness.

The Hangover won the People's Choice Award for Best Burger in Montreal during Burger Week Mtl. It is made with one beef patty, American cheese, bacon, mini poutine, fried egg, caramelized onion, truffle oil.

My Hangover.

In all honesty, I was disappointed. First of all I remember the beef patties being larger and juicier before. Even when I look at pictures I have the impression they were bigger back then. My burger could have been very good if the fries were better. I'm very difficult when it comes to fries and there was something wrong with those. I found they were dry inside and outside. Fries are best when they're crispy outside and soft inside. I have to admit it's hard to make really good fries but honestly Burger Bar can do better than that.

As for the service ... I know it was Saturday evening and any place in downtown is full and busy. But our waitress either didn't care enough or didn't have enough coffee that day. She came to our table often enough while we were eating to make sure everything was fine. But at the end when she asked if we wanted coffee or dessert, Rio asked for a coffee and I asked for an espresso. It took a while (usually coffee doesn't) before she came back and handed me the bill ... which I didn't ask for (she also didn't ask whether we would be paying together or separate). When I realized there was no coffee on the bill I told her we were still waiting for them. She apologized and took back the bill. Five minutes later my friend's coffee arrived. I think I had to wait another 5 to 10 minutes to get my espresso. Also, throughout the evening, whenever we needed something and were trying to get her attention she simply wouldn't see us. You know how you have to keep your eyes open for all your customers everytime you walk past them so you don't miss anything? She wasn't doing that. So we basically had to wait for her to come to us to get to ask her something.

I would probably go back to Burger Bar at some point but not on a Saturday evening. Hopefully the food and service are better when it's less busy.
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