Canada, Montreal

Montreal 2.0: Day 1

We headed to Montreal again but this time with family and for a few more days. See previous post here. We arrived in the afternoon to our Airbnb near downtown Montreal. First things first, we had to decide what to do about food. We weren’t able to make any reservations tonight ahead of time.  Aaron had tried booking a few months in advance to Joe Beef but was not successful. He did download the DINR app so we wanted to test out our luck. This is an app where one can try to secure a same-day reservation to usually extremely popular restaurants. He saw there was an opening for 5 at 9:30pm that night and we unanimously said yes! But it was only 5pm so we had to fill our tummies with something else in the meantime.

Happy Hour at Kampai

We headed over to Kampai for some drinks and snacks. It was pretty easy to get table when we arrived. We ordered the red sangria pitcher for the table. We had this last time but I had forgotten how good it was! It tasted not too sweet with some tartness from the hibiscus and rose syrup. For food, we ordered the fried rice to share. It actually had excellent flavour and nicely seared tofu. I was surprised as I am usually not a fan of fusion Asian food. I usually prefer the authentic old-school establishments for Asian cuisine but this was really impressive. The “wok air” as they call it in Cantonese was really good. For our second round, we had the Jungle Fever pitcher. We did not want it to be too sweet so we ordered it with less syrup. It was perfect and very easy to drink. We paired this with shoe string fries which were pretty standard.

Fried rice and sangria @ Kampai

The Mysterious Text

Next, we hoped over to a mall to pass some time. It wasn’t too excited but luckily, at around 8pm, Aaron got a text saying our table was ready for us. We assumed this was from Joe Beef but we cannot be sure. They did not identify themselves and the phone number was also not the one listed on their website. We decided to head over anyway via metro. We purchased the 3-day metro-pass as we intend to be mostly using public transit during our time here.

Immersed in French Cuisine at Joe Beef

We arrived at the restaurant hoping we did not make a mistake and showed up too early for our table. It turns out our table was ready! We were also very excited to eat at the #2 restaurant on Canada’s Top 100 Restaurants. The ambience is very laid back, which I prefer over some stuffy fine dining establishments. The server was extremely friendly and enthusiastic about her recommendations. We were advised to order dishes to share and it was an excellent suggestion.

We started with the oysters as per her recommendation. We each had the Joe Beef oysters (PEI) as well as the Beach Gem oysters (BC). The BC one definitely had more of an ocean-taste so I did prefer the PEI one more. 

Oysters @ Joe Beef

Next, we had the croquettes de canard confit. It was perfect. The light, crispy exterior, with the flavourful duck confit filling was amazing. This was paired with a small pickle on top, which worked very well. This was one of my favourite dishes of the night!

Duck confit croquette @ Joe Beef

We also had the oeuf en gelee jambon & champagnons fumes. It was an interesting combo served on toast. I enjoyed the smoked mushroom the most in this ensemble.

The next starter was truly a star. We had the tartare de boeuf aux anchois paired with os a mouelle (bone marrow). We were told to mix some of the marrow in the tartare. It was mind-blowing! The tartare itself was high quality but the marrow was truly excellent. It was super creamy and adds so much flavour to the tartare. Highly recommended!

For our mains, we had the spaghetti homard lobster. This is probably their most popular dish. It was extremely flavourful and hearty. I was glad we shared it because it may have been too heavy for one person.

Lobster spaghetti @ Joe Beef

Next, we had the gros magret de canard Diane. The duck was perfectly cooked. It was the best I’ve ever had. We cannot forget about the flavourful sauce as well. It was so magical Aaron had to order bread to eat with the rest of the sauce, even though we were pretty full by this time. The bread + pickles was no joke. The texture of the bread was so unique. It felt like corn bread, being so soft and falling apart. Our server overheard us being in awe and revealed to us that this was made with duck fat! AMAZING!

Our last main was a gratin d’oxtail aux escargots. It was very hearty and heavy, probably my least favourite dish for the night. Or perhaps I was just too stuffed by this time. 

Oxtail gratin @ Joe Beef

We also had the arbre a choux (brussel sprouts) as a side to add some vegetables into our diet. It had a very unique presentation with the sprouts still attached to one large branch. It was drenched in a creamy sauce.

Brussel sprouts @ Joe Beef

We ended with the pistachios profiteroles which was a nice way to end our very enjoyable culinary evening at Joe Beef and I would highly recommend anyone who visits Montreal to try to make a reservation here!

Pistachios profiteroles @ Joe Beef

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