Sunday, October 26, 2014

KYOZON part deux

I was re-invited to try Kyozon 'for real' since the opening in September. Obviously, openings are mostly grandiose with a full house (and then some), a dj and lots and lots of staff.

This time, we got there for an early dinner with the intention of trying dishes I hadn't eaten when I had gone two weeks prior. We were warmly welcomed in an almost empty restaurant. What a difference! Our waiter came to take our order and made some nice suggestions. We ended up getting four entrées (yes, we are pigs) and we were to share the duck and all its fixings as a main. What a treat this was going to be! Oh, we also had a cocktail on the house and then got a couple more glasses of wine for our meal.

Leeeeeet's do it!

The drink: 6 May 2014. Hennesy very special, bergamot liquor, palm sugar, kumquats, mangosteen, fresh mint. Man, talk about a fresh tasting cocktail! It was very citrusy, almost too much. It hit all the right tastebuds.

The calamari were a disappointment.  When I ate them at the opening, they were perfect but when they arrived at our table this time, they were cold. Not like 'oh, they must have been hot in the kitchen' but more like 'oh, they must have been cold for a while'. They were good the first time and oh-so-unappreciated the second time.

Crab and chicken Sui Mai with smoked chili jam. I found them full of flavor, not too spicy, not too mellow. The sides were a bit on the hard...side. My dining partner wasn't as fond of them as I was. Which turned out to be good for me because I got to eat three quarters of the dish. Hehehe!

Beef teriyaki on skewers. They were a bit hard to chew but they still tasted great. Again, they were a bit on the cold side. I've said it and I'll say it again, dishes that are meant to be served hot should be on hot plates! The pickled veggies were great, with just the right amount of vinegar. This finished off the dish nicely.

Baby pork spareribs with black bean sauce. Holy bejesus this was good. OH-so good. Food orgasm good, I'm not even kidding!  The meat was fall-off-the-bone goodness and the seasoning on the veggies was just right. Not too salty but not bland either. The black bean sauce was wonderful and added just what was needed to the dish. I have to say, next time I make ribs (and I'm oh-so-due), I'm making a black bean sauce. To tell you how good this was, we both gave it an 11 (on 10, of course).

Kyozon's take on Peking duck. THIS was a winner.  The duck was cooked to perfection aka on the rare side and the little pancakes were a great vessel but were a tad on the cold side (I think they are having a problem in the temperature department). There were two sauces; hoisin, which I looooove, and prune, which could have been a tad sweeter. This was accompanied by some greens, some pickled veggies, coriander and mint. Mmmmm... put all of that in that little pancake and it's the perfect mix of sweet and sour! I pretty much devoured this.
We were very full after all these dishes but were convinced to eat desert. We had the brownie, which always seems like a good idea! The brownie was a bit on the hard and dry side but mixed with whipped cream, well everything is better with whipped cream. The cream itself was supposed to be infused with green tea but we didn't really detect it. 
Service was wonderful throughout the meal. Our waiter was more than present and we got visits from pretty much everyone that was working there, including the owners. One of them actually sat down with us to discuss the dishes. That was pretty cool. The ambiance at first was quite non existent but at around 7, it began to fill up so there was a good vibe in the house. We got the dishes in a timely manner, except for desert, which took quite a while. Anyhoot, courteousness  was all around and well appreciated. 

And now, the scores!

Food: an average of 7,5
Service: 9,5

A great new restaurant with very affordable dishes! I would definitely go back!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Labarake-Caserne à manger

I was invited to try the new fall menu at Labarake so I decided to bring someone that would know what he's talking about: ze chef at Sushi Taxi, Phil.

Labarake is located in an old firehouse in the Shop Angus. So, pretty much far from everything! 

We were invited for a 5 à 7 ... although without actually knowing it. It's a good thing we got there early as to take advantage of everything we could within that time period! Anyhoot, this place is kind of family oriented, kind of a happenin' bar, kind of a new business type people place. It's very nice to get a whole view of the restaurant when you arrive. Brick walls, industrial lighting and lots of wood made it look very homey and inviting.

We sat at the bar to, you know, be closer to the drinks and all! The owner of the resto came and said hello and explained the history of the building which was nice to know and then he left....and I was like, wait, what's the deal here? Even the waiters and the bartenders weren't aware of what bloggers were getting: food from the menu? drinks? whatwhat? Turns out, and we discovered this when we were about to order our food, that waiters were to go around with bite size versions of their popular dishes. Mmmmkay. But first, we needed some drinks!

There were 4 ceasars on the menu, all of them quite original so I was excited to taste 'em! I picked the Bloody BBQ first: whisky, steak spices, liquid smoke, clamato. All I's gotta say is YUM-MY! I could have easily chugged this in less than a minute but I'm a lady after all! Well, sometimes :) It was like I had ribs in my mouth. OH YES. And y'all know how much I like my ribs! Oh, and lots of alcohol It was refreshing and all the right spices were in there. Nothing bad about this. At all.

Second ceasar was the Bloody Carnivore: cognac, veal stock, clamato, steak spices, bacon and dried beef. The veal stock made it a tad too salty and it was a biiiiit unpleasant to see little bits of fat swimming in my drink. But the rest was damn good.

Third ceasar was the Bloody Marin, or the Sea salt Bloody if you will. It was accompanied by a lovely oyster (yes, I am now an oyster fan. Can't get enough.). There was nothing to write home about the ceasar. Very basic. Maybe it's because it was my third one of the evening!

OK, food, shall we?

Beef and salmon tartare. The beef tartare was classic with a bit of mustard and shallots. So, basically, your classic beef tartare but with a bigger, quite unpleasant cut. The salmon tartare was a tad too creamy and the pomegranate pieces were too present and got stuck in my teeth. So it was a miss right there.

Scallop wrapped with Spanish ham. THIS was a hit. A total hit! With that smooth cauliflower puree, it just melted in your mouth. All the flavours just blended together to make a great dish. Lovely, really!

Beef cheek with parsnip puree. This was greatness. The puree could not have been smoother and the beef was well cooked and not too salty. Very yummy. That's the technical term, of course!

Clafoutis. Good but not great. Not too sweet and very moist.

Then, there was the 'desert shooter'. Bailey's with some cold coffee. This was good even if I despise coffee. And since we weren't aware that this ended at 7PM, when the dude said 'a last shot?', I was just sad I wasn't going to taste the last of the four ceasars!

Service was very attentive, they even came back and offered us seconds. And always with a smile :) It was a new menu so there was some confusion with the waiters and the bartenders but that was to be expected.

And now, the scores!

Food: 6
Service: 8

To be honest, I'm not going back simply because it's too damn far but it is worth a try!

ps: My mom, who is forever on the look out of thangs that might interest me, found an article in I believe Chatelaine (or Coup de Pouce?) that says that Labarake is one of the restaurants to absolutely visit in MTL.

Labarake - Caserne à Manger on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Room Service

I was invited to try this new delivery service called Room Service. Their thang is that they literally  look like room service: professionalism and suit + tie included! I'll try anything once so I told the girl who sent me the email to surprise me and my friend that was to come eat dinner with me.

So the little dude got here and just gave us the food and that was it... Last time I got an invite from a delivery service, the owner came and explained the food (and there was enough for 5 people!) and the company, etc. This time; nada! I would have loved a brochure or something. SOMETHING!

Anyhoot, we got the following: butter chicken, kale salad, somewhat of a fruity arabic drink, Chips Ahoy milkshake and a cupcake. 

Let's talk.

First, there was the kale salad. There was a creamy vinaigrette, which at first seemed really nice and tasty but then became too much.... There was just...too much of it in there. Plus, the kale wasn't cut at all so you'd end up eating a whole leaf at once. Isn't the rule to make bite size pieces? I wasn't crazy about the fact that the avocado, carrots, tomatoes, radishes and sesame bites were just put on top of the salad. The avocado wasn't nearly as ripe as it should have been and the carrots and tomatoes were pretty blend. The radishes gave a nice kick to it but it was a bit like 'too little too late'.

Butter chicken. Well, ok... it was about 15% butter chicken. Basically, if you didn't tell me what it was, I would not have known. The rice was well cooked (no biggie there) and the chicken was nice and moist with a creamy sauce. But it was not butter chicken. Girl (or boy), if you advertize butter chicken, I want ze butter chicken!!!

The Chips Ahoy milkshake was nice and silky but it was so sweet, I think I automatically got a cavity.

This drink was OK but way too apple-y for my taste. What? I'm difficult!

I love D Liche! I think it's great that they've partnered up with Room Service. But this specific cupcake was so rich and thick it almost became unpleasant to eat it :(
And now, the score!
Food: 5
I was disappointed by the fact that food for only one person arrived and I was disappointed with many flavour choices. I'm quite positive I won't be ordering from them in the near (or far) future.
Room Service on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 29, 2014

La Banquise

Ah, La Banquise. An establishment known for its many poutines and for the fact that its open ALL THE TIME!

I brought my French friend, Clem, because, well, he had neva eva tasted this Quebecois tradition. I gotta say I'm not a fan of the brown sauce/cheese curd poutine but I went along for the sake of showing him the place.

As per usual, the place was packed + a line up! Dsamn! And it was only 7 PM!!! But hey, I gotta face the fact that La Banquise must be busy around the clock!

We were greeted with all smiles by the cute little waitresses (it was funny: a friend of mine works there and she has a bunch of Banquise pics on FB so I actually recognized some and knew their names... haha) and were seated about 4 minutes later. Note: if you sit outside, you can't drink alcohol! Pop music was playing + a couple songs that made me think back to my high school days (yay!).

OK, food. Obviously we were there to eat poutine.

I had the Taquise: kind of a mexican-québécois mix :) OK, so it's fries (duh), cheese curds (duuuuh!), brown sauce (come ooon!), tomatoes, guacamole and sour cream. I have to mention that you can change your sauce for 1 $ or more and I should have done that. First off, i'm not a fan of the brown sauce. Secondly, I really don't think it fits with everything. Especially not tomato, avocado and sour cream. The cheese was, well, des crottes de fromage comme on dit si bien en bon québécois! It actually fit quite well with everything else and wasn't too salty. The fries were nice and hot, not smushy (technical word, don't worry 'bout it) but not too hard. The sour cream was perfectly smooth and so was the guacamole. Oh it was goohood. Just the right amount of silkiness, the right amount of salt. The tomatoes were a bit blend though.

Service was great throughout. You'd think that since they are so gosh darn busy, that the service would go to shit but nope! Our food arrived on our table 5 minutes after ordering it and our waitress came to check on us twice. OH, and they all have short shorts. WHAT??? :)

And now, the scores!

Food: 6
Service: 8.5 (she forgot our glasses of water)

I truly don't know if I'll go back. Mainly because I don't love poutine with ze brown sauce. But hey, who knows!?

La Banquise on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


I was invited to try this self-proclaimed hip New-Asian restaurant on Crescent. It was going to be big. Oh-so-big. I invited my boss, V, because a: she's super duper fun and b: she knows her sushi. Media was at 6 so as per our usualness (that's a word, I swear!), we got there at 5:55. Kyozon joins the Nacos Group family, including Weinstein and Gabinos and Newtown on Crescent (my fave is Atelier d'Argentine in Old MTL).

The place looked really big from the outside and even bigger when you enter. Holy bejesus!!! It was HUGE! You get in and there's a huge mother freakin bar on the first floor along with many tables. Then, on the second floor, you have the kitchen, in full view behind a window and the kaiten belt. I had never experienced 'the' belt so that was fun and new for me! 

There was a huge sky light which added a certain charm to it all. So in one word it was damn huge. Ok, two words.

Anyhoot, we got in and were nicely attacked by some waiters carrying drinks around: red or white wine, proscecco or their specialty drink for the evening, the Shojo Sour. We started off with the Shojo: Bombay Sapphire, Midori, lime, simple syrup, egg white and the kicker, 3 drops of sesame oil.

It was very tasty and special (and dangerously not tasting of alcohol) at first but after a couple drinks and burping sesame oil, it became less special... Let's just say that the next day, at my sushi restaurant, I did not want to hear anything about sesame oil (my chef made a lovely joke telling me he had switched the oil in the fryer for sesame oil). And just one whiff made me want to you know whhhhaaaat.

The ambiance was great, as it usually is at media gatherings where everything, including alcohol, is free. Abeille was spinning for most of the night and it was loud! We saw many-a-people making out and almost just getting right down to it at the bar.... twas quite hilarious!

And now, food!

We were two of the first people there so we went upstairs pretty quickly to see what all the fuss was about with that belt! Turns out... no fuss. We were sitting in an arm's length of food that we could pick out so that was cool but the food itself...

-Rice not too good and this is coming from someone who knows her sushi rice
-Fish on top a bit too fishy

-This literally tasted like nothing even if, as you can see, there ARE ingredients!

-This one was my favourite
-No rice
-Salmon and tuna tasted great

-Calamari in a cone
-Great taste and crunch
-BBQ type sauce fit really well
-Not too salty, great panko crust

Sorry about awful pic
-This spring roll was just awful Sushi Shop quality
-Fake crab meat with tobiko and a tiny piece of avocado dson't make a good quality roll

-First dish with lots of flavours
-Salmon well cooked and moist (oh how I hate that word but sometimes, you just gotta use it!)

-Lobster maki
-Was there really lobster in there?

-Pork bun
-Taste was there but the pork was way too fatty and the bun was slightly undercooked

-Looked good but tasted like nada :/

-This was a great papaya salad
-Good flavours
-Very refreshing

-Popcorn shrimp
-Again, loved the panko crust
-Juicy on the inside, crunchy on the outside and just a tad spicy... just what you want!

Bah, pink ginger... really? That is all.

OK, now, I can see it now: 'Marie, you're so tough, you're so harsh...' Well I feel it's my duty to tell y'all the truth!!! Also, when there are huge openings like this one, the capacity of the kitchen to deliver the good stuff is always limited and stuff starts going awry as the night progresses. I would like to go back and experience the real deal though. As the Nacos Group promo/marketing dude told me: 'Ce soir c'est pour faire le party mais il faut y retourner pour la vraie expérience!'.

And now, let's talk service! It was great!!! Nothing bad to say about it! Not one thing. They were all smiles and they were always there with a drink or passing food around when you needed it. The barmen and women were always there for you (just like Friends!) and we stayed that much longer because our bar dude told us that 'we were fun and we should stay'. Damn him!!!

OK, and now, the scores!!!

Food: 6
Service: 9

I definitely want to go back for the real experience. You'll see it's hard to keep this chick away from asian food!!!

KYOZON on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ma tante quiche

Ma Tante Quiche is now one of my fave breakfast spots! Whenever someone's in town, where do we go? Ma Tante Quiche. I go kayaking with a friend, where do we go after? Ma Tante Quiche. They know me now. I mean, I go there to buy a quiche or two but I mostly go for their 'everything homemade' breakfast! YUM!

This lovely establishment is run by a couple of lesbians in their 50's (ish) and employs people that are so damn nice, like my friend E would say, you'd want to drop kick them in the face. But not really. They sell a bunch of great homemade stuff. And it's ALWAYS good.

That day, I went with my best girl, we'll call her Sylvia, for a nice hungover breakfast. I think it's a given that half the people eating breakfast anywhere are hungover. Right? RIGHT? Anyhoot, the ambiance is nice and chill and the music went with that setting. Quite enjoyable indeed!

Since I'm mostly a creature of habit when it comes to breakfast: I always have the biggest breakfast offered on the menu. In this case, I had the 'Assiette Ma Tante Quiche' which is basically braised ham (in local beer--Brasseurs de MTL!), beans, cretons (hello!), baby potatoes with mushrooms in mushroom stock, homemade sausage, smoked bacon, an egg (or two), and some fruits.

Ok, so, fruits. So, I love fruit, blablabla, but they basically are an afterthought when I eat my 'déjeuner de la construction'. But hey this fruit 'cup' deserves an A: fresh raspberries, blackberries and blueberries? What what? Three of the most expensive fruits we can find in our supermarkets? Well hello foodcost! :p Nah, I'm sure they make up for it elsewhere; these are two smart ladies!

Aight, let's get down to it! The egg. OK, so eggs usually are just... eggs. But this was a GOOD egg. You know what I mean? I believe it may have been cooked in a bit of maple syrup which obviously makes it taste whhhhay better than other eggs! The ham that is cooked in beer for many-a-hours basically just melts in your mouth. It just MELTS in your MOUTH! The flavours explode and you are in ham heaven. And yes, there is such a thing! The bacon is smoked so obviously all the yummy bacony flavours come out and again, bacon heaven! The potatoes are just lovely! What a great idea to cook them with mushroom and add mushroom stock! Not too salty, just great! The sausage is also home made but it was a tad tough to eat and the beans, even if they were perfect the time before, seemed a bit fermented which was not so great. The cretons just melt in your god damn mouth. I'm a HUGE fan of cretons and these are well worth the trip!

Service was good. OK, not as good as many other restaurants but here, they seem so chill that YOU are chill, ya know? We got water quickly, food not THAT quickly and she didn't check if we liked it which, in my book, they should do.

And now, the scores!!!

Food: 8
Service: 7

I LOVE this place and anyone and everyone that lives remotely close should visit it at least once!!!

ps: and the price is right too! I believe it costs around 12$ for this plate!