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Kam Fung is probably the only respectable dim sum place in Montreal. That being said, it is important to note that there are only two locations where you can get your fill: one in Chinatown and a much larger counterpart in Brossard. Both are ridiculously busy during the lunch hour, especially on weekends. With lineups that you would not believe, it is advisable to head over for an early lunch and show up no later than 11 am, that is, if you don’t want to wait. As far as I know, that’s true for the downtown location. In Brossard, you’re playing a whole different game – with a greater Asian population in the surrounding areas, the place is in high demand and the competition to get a table is fierce. The wait system involves telling the hostess the number in your party, getting a ticket and waiting for her to yell out your number over a PA system. The place is loud, filled with children, large families and couples (mostly Asian, but non-Asians have begun to trickle in) sitting around round tables, mostly yelling, gesticulating with chopsticks and stuffing their faces.
As soon as we sat down, the feast began. The cart ladies are hawks – don’t be fooled, because they know exactly what’s going on: who’s not been served, who’s about to leave, who’s going to order more and who’s not had what they’re serving. And if they’re ignoring you, well… you’re going to have to flag them down by wildly waving or shouting at them. Yes, they can be intimidating, but don’t be shy! We started with the classic taro puff pastries stuffed with pork. Delicate and crispy on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside, the dish is more filling than you would expect. The combination of taro and meat is unlike any other – just divine. Next came the pork, shrimp and chive dumplings and the spring rolls, both fried to perfection. The tripe with ginger and shallot and the chicken feet are some of my favorite dishes – pretty much get these every time. The tripe is slightly rubbery and has a nice crunch to it and the chicken feet are mostly skin, cartilage and tendon. Yes, there are a lot of little bones – you’ll have to spit a few out with every bite, but I can never resist this dish. It’s a childhood favorite and it’s too good not to get! We had the usual shrimp dumplings – steamed in a way so that the rice wrapping remains moist and tender and the shrimp stays hot. The pork dumplings with shrimp and coriander were treated similarly aka also very delicious. Also got the bean curd roll with chicken and vegetable, pork and preserved egg congee – a light, hot rice based porridge with thousand year eggs (love, love, love!), as well as a rice noodle roll stuffed with fried bread traditional in Chinese cuisine.
To finish up we had sesame balls with lotus inside which are a touch sweet, but not remotely cloying. It’s a great way to end the meal. Another equally satisfying dessert are the egg custard tarts. Yum!
PS The Chinatown location has been previously reviewed on the blog. Check it out here!
PPS People seem to hate on Kam Fung because of the service factor. This restaurant is not a place that highlights that aspect at all – it’s roll in and roll out. Go here for the dim sum experience and the food. That’s it!
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There is a distinct New York vibe about Le Cartet. With an upscale gourmet foods boutique at the front of the restaurant, diners are encouraged to check out the goodies while waiting in line during the busy weekend brunch rush or upon leaving the restaurant during regular hours. The trendy design of the place features minimalistic art, colorful ransom lettering of select menu items on the front welcome board and long communal tables where diners sit alongside one another, strangers and friends alike. The hustle and bustle of the place doesn’t take away from the quality of service at all, contrary to what you might think – we were served promptly and courteously from the moment we walked in.
After visiting the Librairie Drawn and Quarterly to pick up issue number 2 of David Chang’s new food mag Lucky Peach, we slid next door for some eats at Nouveau Palais. We usually come here late at night to get delicious Grumman tacos but it was nice to come at a more reasonable hour and check out the regular menu.
Located immediately next to Le Panthere Verte, Crudessence is in tied in tough competition with its neighbor, pulling vegans and vegetarians and those who have a craving for something a little healthier for lunch this way and that. Just by rough comparison, Crudessence seems to be a bit more trendy in style – walking in you’ve got a long row of wooden banquettes and stained glass windows in the back bouncing beautiful rays of color all over the wooden floors, giving the whole place an organic feel. Flipping through the menu, I was surprised and delighted to find so many interesting sandwiches, salads and cakes that used unconventional ingredients to spice up standard dishes. Places like these are bound to arouse curiosity and shock – how can something so healthy taste so good? It’s almost an oxymoron.
Club Chasse et Peche gives off an air of exclusivity in the discreet nature of the establishment: to the regular passerby it would be easy to miss the place and walk right by, blissfully unaware of the culinary delights that take place inside. The only indication that it even exists on the middle of St. Claude street is a large stylized logo that is at once easily recognizable while being somewhat indistinguishable at the same time – the icon resembles an eagle spreadings its wings, showcasing a torso made of a coat of arms. I think it’s open to interpretation. There is a little bit of snobbery that comes off as you experience the Club for an evening but it totally works in their favor. It helps that we were knowingly greeting with a warm “Welcome to the Club”.
There is no eatery in Montreal as sacred and untouchable as Schwartz’s Deli. While some claim smoked meat allegiances to The Main or Smoked Meat Pete – none can deny the history enshrined within Schwartz’s walls since 1928. Fans of the Deli will tell you that over the last 80 years, little has changed – and they may be right. Despite numerous rumored offers to create Schwartz’s franchise restaurants across North America, the owners have refused all and have remained in their iconic location on St Laurent Blvd. In the fall 2008 they expanded and opened an additional take out location next door.