Gordon Ramsey restaurant review……..
I am sorry for the delay in writing this review, I wanted to wait till I had some time to start and finish the review in one evening.
I have alot of respect for Chef Ramsey, so just the thought that he would be opening up a restaurant in Montreal got me excited, it was even more interesting that he was doing comfort food and not high end food.
I was not sure what to expect, since he was taking over a restaurant that has been an institution on Laurier Street for decades, the restaurant still is a rotisserie with a modern feel to it, you definitely feel a buzz when you walk through the doors.
At the time I went to eat, which was 3 weeks ago the restaurant was taking reservation, apparently now it is for groups of six or more otherwise it is first come first serve.
So I called up a fellow cook friend of mine and we went for lunch, the timing was perfect we arrived at 12:45pm we had to wait about 10 min for a table, 15 min after there was a line up, some people left I guess waiting was not an option for those who probably work in the area. The lobby is very nicely decorated with wood logs and a white tree, plus a few other accents, they have two benches you can sit on while you wait.
Upon being seated I noticed the banquets are not the best place to sit for heavy set people, a few more pounds and I might have an issue sitting there, the seats are covered in a nice beige leather.
They have pickles in a mason jar on each table for you to snack on while you wait; water comes in a pitcher with a slice of cucumber in it, different but refreshing.
Our waitress has been working at the Laurier for a few decades, so I guess they decided to keep some of the old staff around.
We decided to try new menu items and leave the chicken for another visit, we started off with the All Beef Sliders and a side of Smoked Meat Mac n’ cheese.
Let’s start with the sliders they are presented on a wood cutting board nice touch, the brioche style bun was perfect, the burgers were cooked to a medium rare which was surprising since it is against the food laws in Quebec to serve burgers anything but well done, the caramelized onions and cheddar cheese were fine, the let down was the lack of seasoning of the meat.
Now the Mac n’ cheese something that I hold close to my heart when it comes to comfort food, I loved the fact he uses Cavatappi pasta and not regular elbow pasta for the Mac n’ cheese.
The mac n’cheese is served in a little cast iron pot, again very nice presentation, the cheese is slightly gratinee and it looks very appetizing, the sauce is creamy the pasta is cooked perfect, however it is under seasoned and remember i said it was a smoked meat mac n’ cheese, the only way you can tell smoked meat is in it, is by a few pieces of meat that you can see, there was absolutely no taste of smoked meat ( I wondered if Chef Ramsey knew that 15 min from his new place, is another institution that makes some of the best smoked meat on the planet).
Next up we ordered the Poutine, now if you are from or have been to Montreal this is a specialty, and as simple as it might seem to put together places fail at getting this right sometimes, it is about three things fries, sauce and cheese curd that’s it.
The poutine here was a let down on all 3, the fries limp and over seasoned, the sauce lacked body and taste and the cheese did not have that squeaky feel to it.
We each ordered a different sandwich, I ordered the Porchetta sandwich (Porchetta, aioli, arugula) my friend ordered the Rotisserie chicken sandwich (Emmenthal cheese, dijonnaise, caramelized onions, arugula).
The sandwiches were very good, the potato chips served with them were nothing to write home about, and the piece of paper under the sandwich, which was a piece of the menu cut up made no sense.
We decided to end this dining adventure with the famous Moka cake, I am happy my friend is in the business so I would not be questioning my palate this cake was horribly dry, you could feel the sugar granules in the frosting once in your mouth.
A few things worth mentioning the soft drinks are served in bottles, ask for a glass because the straws they serve with them will only frustrate you the straw is too short for the bottle, also paper napkins will be 100% better than the kitchen rags they are using for napkins.
So I have more questions than answers after my dining experience, I am used to seeing chef Ramsey going into restaurants on TV and picking them apart and putting them back together, he gets full marks for the decor, however when it comes to the food, i cannot give him full marks, Montreal is a city that does comfort food very well we have too many places to count that put out excellent food in the comfort food area.
I plan on returning to try the chicken, here is another area where Montreal excels in we have about 3-4 top notch rotisseries, which I have had the pleasure of eating at on more than one occasion, so I am interested to see if chef Ramsey has done his homework in this area.