Le Gros JambonJun 05 2012 · 0 comments · Dining Out
Le Gros Jambon is a diner with flair. Staying true to diner roots by styling itself with two long bars, one facing the chefs cooking on the open style kitchen, and the other to the wall stacked with vintage-retro photographs and posters, you would call the place cozy, not small. Most importantly, they serve home-cooked, greasy deliciousness that is almost incomparable for prices you’ll find hard to believe. Changing it up and bringing an unexpected twist to the menu, you’ll find coca-cola burgers, lobster mac ‘n cheeses, duck BLTs (or DBLTS) and the like waiting for you. Trust me, you’ll be pleasantly delighted by the menu and feel a pressing need to want to order the entire menu. Yes, all at once.
Just a few steps from its sister restaurant, L’Orignal, Le Gros Jambon made a huge splash when it first opened back in late, late 2011, garnering reviews from critics and bloggers alike within the first few weeks of opening. It did so well that The Gazette even included it in its “Best Casual Restaurants” in Montreal list for the year. Say what?
To be honest, going last month was my first time. No judgement zone. Since that first time though, all I can think about it going back. Aw yeah, you know how it is. My first time was christened by a Screwdriver (made of vodka and OJ) while my friend helped herself to a rum and cherry coke. As we talked, our server returned to ask us if we were ready probably three times over fifteen to twenty minutes. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought that was a little excessive – as the restaurant was near empty, I was under the impression that we were being rushed out for cleaning or a staff break. So I asked him if we should hurry up, and he immediately backed off. Apart from the initial encounter, the service for the rest of the meal was more than cordial.
We ordered the lobster grilled cheese and the shrimp tacos, all to share. Watching the chef work was pretty mesmerizing. Melting the butter, toasting the toast, layering the cheese, adding the lobster and covering the whole thing with the bell, eating the thing was just amazing. Gooey, hot, melty cheese paired with fresh shredded lobster meat between two hot pieces of bread… Can’t ask for more, really. We got it with poutine instead of the standard fries mainly because the chef informed us the sauce had been homemade earlier that day, so it was super fresh. Cheese curds were squeaky and the fries were salty. Yum.
The shrimp tacos came with a generous portion of seafood and a good amount of lettuce. Squeezing lime liberally over the two tacos, we shovelled them in with abandon. Seriously. These were probably one of the least calorie heavy things the menu had to offer. But then again, if you’re looking to lose weight or eat healthy, this place is definitely not for you.
Going back a second time, this time getting duck confit mac ‘n cheese and the duck confit grilled cheese with the chili fries, we had a similar experience. Everything was cooked to perfection and I’m still raring to go back. The cheesiness of everything just trumps it all. We good here.
Heading to the front window display facing onto Notre Dame, we checked out the desserts for a little sweet somethin’ somethin’. The spiced doughnut and the pistachio covered brownie caught our attention. The doughnut I think would have tasted best real fresh, right out of the oven. As it had been sitting there for a while, it tasted slightly stale and was a little tough to cut into, even with forks and knives. We didn’t end up finishing this one, which for me is surprising. The brownie on the other hand, was exactly how our server described it: “almost better than sex”. Key word being “almost” there, but it came pretty damn close. Thick, rich and dark, this thing was just divine. Pistachios are one of my fav ingredients in desserts so this one did right by me.
Not only does GJ serve great food, it’s also ridiculously affordable. Score!
*Be forewarned, it gets quite busy during the lunch hour as those who work in the area are wont to rush over for the under $10 specials (the special changes frequently, you won’t be bored). After 5 though, you’re more likely to feel at ease and have your choice pick for spots.
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