Saturday, June 22, 2024

Eating on the road: Finally making it to Montreal's Joe Beef

The famed Joe Beef has always been first on my list when visiting Montreal on a culinary adventure, but securing a reservation can be a challenge. It's a Montreal institution featured by Anthony Bourdain and many other food shows. Thankfully, I lucked out during my February visit and was even able to secure a Friday night seating.

(On a previous visit I dined at their sister restaurant, Liverpool House.)

To be honest, much of Joe Beef's menu is a little too fancy and bougie for me, as while I may be a foodie I'm more a working class foodie. So no tartars or pates for me, merci bien. But I do like quality food prepared well, and I enjoyed a delicious three courses at Joe Beef accompanied by a tasty glass of vin rouge.

The restaurant had the feel of an old house converted into a restaurant. I can't say how many other rooms there were as I was seated in the first room as you entered from the street, it was cozy but you were seated fairly close to other parties.

I couldn't do my usual menu pre-scout as the menu is highly variable and changeable based on the season and the availability of local ingredients. There are a few regular standbys, like the lobster spaghetti, but the market price was trop cher than I was willing to pay.

I opted to start with an epoisses tartlet and wine poached pear which was served with a small salad. It was delicately prepared and quite tasty and did well to warm up the pallet.

For my main course I selected the dry-aged pork steak, served with salsify and sauce foyot. This was delicious. Salsify was a root vegetable I had never had before; it was prepared perfectly -- tender and delicious. The portion of pork was generous and it was as deliciously tender as you would hope, and I tried to mop up every drop of the rich sauce foyot -- variation of the traditional sauce BĂ©arnaise made by adding  a concentrated reduction of brown stock. Everything I'd hoped for.

Finally, having saved room for desert I opted for a traditional classic French desert -- a slice of marjolaine classique. This is their specialty desert, but I have to say it's the one course that didn't meet my elevated expectations. It was OK. Jsst, OK. It didn't blow me away with flavour.

The slight downnote of desert aside, this was a fantastic meal that started out by weekend in Montreal on a high note. I was glad to finally score a reservation, and I hope I can find space again my next trip to Montreal. Definitely worth a repeat visit.

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