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Vin Papillon is the third restaurant from the venerable Montreal chef duo Dave McMillan and Fred Morin. Sitting just a few doors down from Liverpool House on Notre Dame, Vin Papillon is a cozy restaurant with a decent sized patio and a distinctive menu.
Walking into Joe Beef, one immediately senses a kind of warm intimacy few restaurants are able to successfully achieve in terms of both physical space, ambiance and decor. The space out front is quite small; tables are set one next to the other with only a few inches separating diners from one another – for those who sit on the inner banquettes, tables must be pulled out for them to exit gracefully. Even in such close quarters, fellow diners have been the most friendly and cordial I have ever met. The owners have recently closed their luncheonette next door (McKiernan’s) in favor of expanding Joe Beef, creating an oyster bar in its place while at the same time increasing its capacity for more people to stop by. Due to the popular demand for the restaurant’s exquisite food, the terrasse out back has been opened up as well. I had actually never been in the area before and our lovely waitress Vanya was nice enough to show me around. The garden where ingredients are freshly grown and harvested lines the terrasse; adjacent to this, a separate plot of land is sectioned off by a fence – here they house a large metal smoker where they treat some of their meats and fish.
Restaurant Jane, along with Liverpool House, Joe Beef, McKiernan and others have collectively helped revitalize Griffintown from a slowly decaying neighborhood to a trendy little borough just south of downtown. With metro stations Lionel-Groulx and Georges-Vanier close by, the area is accessible and is surprisingly full of sweet little cafes with terrasses out back and shops selling knick knacks, antiquities and the sort. With a seasonal cocktail list (the lavender martini served in the winter time is divine) and a menu that changes almost imperceptibly (different pizza toppings), Jane sticks with several core items that truly embody what the restaurant stands for and explores around them. Going for understated sophistication with its glossy dark wood tables and floors, high ceilings and small but spacious space, Jane exudes a relaxed atmosphere, playing the likes of Radiohead, the Black Keys and Sublime.