A. 732 Sainte-Catherine Street West, Montreal
B. 1658, rue Saint-Denis, Montréal
(All images photohogger)
Let me start with the pros of the restaurant:
Amazing beer-battered poutine. Great atmosphere: loud, bustling, was fun to be there during the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Food (pros & cons):
Everything was grease-central (could be a pro for some?). The fish and chips came with overly battered and overly deep fried fish, so much so that the fried shell separates from the fish.
The flatbread pizzas are so thin, which some peopel may prefer, but I say why bother! You practically have to eat the whole thing with a knife and fork which I know some prefer for eating pizza, but I like to pick it up like a pie. Loaded with lots of veggies so it wasn't bad.
My understanding of, and the way I make, a Nicoise salad is with tuna, hard-boiled eggs, beans, tomatoes, olives, optional artichokes, red pepper and anchovies, all on a bed of lettuce. This one came with smoked meat instead of tuna. Since all of us eat mostly only fish, we opted for no smoked meat. It was alright, but would have preferred more of the original style of a nicoise salad.
The beer-battered poutine (that we didn't order) was delish. We ordered regular poutine and thought that what we got was regular poutine, and wondered why it was so greasy. But as far as greasy poutine goes (which it all mostly is, anyway), it was a winner!
The cons of the restaurant:
What is with the section of the restaurant that is also part dish-clearing station/garbage take out? Please get rid of this section! I understand one has to clear the dishes and take out the garbage, but is there not a wall behind which this could be done? We had to sit there and be a witness to a server scraping off the plates into the trash and worse see one of them struggle to pull out the garbage bag from the trash can - minus gloves! Then the trash can fell over with a crash! Not something that you want to see before (or anytime) you get your meal.
Then, we were billed for the beer battered poutine ($8.99) which we ate unknowingly as we thought we'd simply ordered the regular poutine ($5.99). I realize it's only a difference of $3, but it was still the server's mistake which she acknowledged and insisted to correct but the manager then said couldn't be reversed. So our server told us not to tip her instead. How ridiculous is that? Needless to say we DID tip her on top of their mistake. She gave us each $5 gift cards to use back in Toronto. Thanks but you won't see us running over there anytime soon.
Sitting next to the kitchen on visit number two (St. Denis location), we had a clear view of all the cooks in the kitchen, all the orders given, all the plates being served, and all the accidents, such as the dropping of a plate of salad near our end of the table. A hearty dose of salad dressing landed on four of us and what did they do to make up for it? "2 beers on us!" Thanks fellas...we were only a group of fifty! And the group menu they gave us was crap. Four options for dinner included: some flatbread with chicken dish, some sausage and sauerkraut dish, some veg lasagna and some chicken skewer dish with fries. I had the veg lasagna and it was soggy, covered in cheese and tasteless.
Besides that, the restaurant is so cramped (why else would we have been right beside the kitchen?) that our server(s) kept squeezing their ar*** between our two tables to get to another section of the restaurant. This happened all night long and I received several scrapes to my back from their pens! Definitely not a good dining experience.
I don't know who the three brewers are but they need to get their act together. The beer they brew? Not one of them did I fancy...but I'll let Beerhogger review them for you.
Overall, A had slightly better food and service, whilst B is somewhere I never wish to dine again.
One can hope that Toronto's location is better, but I'm not holding my breath.