Monday, November 01, 2021

Eating in Montreal: A feast at Maison Publique

 A weekend away was always in my post-election plans, and when I decided on Montreal, having a fantastic meal was at the top of my list. Often I would just dash in for a hockey game and eat at the St. Hubert next to the Bell Centre, but this trip was going to be different.

While, of course, the high-profile (and undoubtedly excellent) Joe Beef and Liverpool House immediately came to mind, with a Friday night as my only free dinner option securing advance reservations at either hot spot -- unless you're bringing Barrack Obama with you -- wasn't possible.

After much research and consultation, I settled on Maison Publique -- and I'm quite happy I did. Especially after I learned chef/owner Derek Dammann is not only a fellow BCer, but a fellow Vancouver Islander, hailing from Campbell River.

It's a very small, unassuming pub-like spot on a residential street that was quite a long taxi ride from my hotel near McGill. But as we pulled up and the driver saw where we were going, he said "Oh, this place is really good." -- a good sign.

After checking vaccination passports, we were shown to a table that was conveniently right under the menu, which is only written on chalk squares on the wall. Since my French vocabulary usually trends to more pedestrian fare, our excellent server was happy to walk us through the options, suggesting four to five plates shared amongst two people would be an excellent meal.

Given that the menu was in French and on a chalkboard, I won't be able to accurately describe every dish we had. But I'll let the pictures do the talking.

We began with what was probably my favourite of our dishes: the mushroom toast. I was a bit sad I had to share it, and tried to slow myself to savour every bite. A delicious medley of sauced mushrooms, on a delicious fancy mayo on toasted rye. Divine.

Next we had our second vegetarian dish, a delicious pumpkin-stuffed pasta. Delicate homemade pasta, flavorful pumpkin filling, cheese and a balsamic drizzle. I could have eaten two plates myself. My only though would be some nuts would have added a nice textural contrast. But really good.

Moving on to the meat courses, up next was baked cod with vegetables and a sauce that I forget but was quite tasty. The cod was amazing soft and tender, like butter. But I was a bit disappointed. I would have liked some crisp or roast; it was a bit bland and unseasoned and relied too much on the sauce.

I tried for a few minutes to find an angle to capture just how massive this lamb leg was. It was huge. The two of us did out best but couldn't quite finish it. It was expertly prepared, the meat tender and delicious. I'll admit I'm not a big lamb guy, but this was pretty good, and the showcase of our meal.

Finally, I did manage to save space for desert. A slice of cheesecake with red wine prunes, if my memory of the server's translation is correct. It was fantastic. Graham cracker crumb, which to me is essential to cheesecake but is often overlooked. The cheesecake itself as divine, creamy and smooth and close-your-eyes delicious. Fruit topping a nice complement.

It wasn't cheap -- definitely a #TreatYourself meal -- but the food and service were excellent and it ticks the boxes for what you want from a fancy meal out -- quality ingredients well-prepared for dishes you couldn't make yourself. Definitely recommend a visit when you're in Montreal.

Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers

No comments: