The Kurt-meister and I finally procured a couple of seats at the bar at Joe Beef, the same bar where Anthony Bourdain filmed his piece on the establishment.
The restaurant is housed in a nineteenth century commercial building in an historic district of Montreal, now the domain of antique shops, mixed with the up-and-coming trendy boutiques. The building is amazingly, in its 19th century condition, the store front being particularly charming. Tables, patrons and staff all packed into a highly utilized space. The musty old smell of the building mixing with the incredible ordours wafting from the kitchen.
Cocktails consisted of Hendrick’s Gin and Tonic served in a Mason jar, slice of citrus and a straw for efficient consumption.
We started with Colville Bay Oysters from New Brunswick and Sea Scallops from Nova Scotia. The plate is served with a “mingette” of champagne and chopped shallots for the sea food (oyster pollution in my opinion). I have a tear drop of lemon juice on them. They were fatty and plump with the juices clear, the taste slightly sweet with just hint of the sea. The fellow behind the raw bar (Californian transplant for that matter) gave me a few tips on shucking oysters. I now know how to better preserve the fan of the oyster on opening, giving an over all better presentation on the shell.
We then moved onto a course of Corn Flakes and smoked eel nuggets. If you knew the owners you would appreciate the joke. As funny as this combination sounds, the result was decadent. The Corn flakes are sweet and the eel is smokey, they are deep fried and served with a choice of either Plum Sauce, BBQ sauce or Honey Mustard Sauce. They did not last long on the plate. Eating high end deep-fried somehow, miraculously comes without the guilt.
For the main course, the Kurt-meister had a New York Strip, massive thing, medium rare and by the look on Kurt’s face, I think it was a hit. This was a huge compliment as Kurt is from the mid-west US, where the quality, tenderness and the taste of Steak is a matter of pride.
I had Venison in a port reduction sauce. The Venison was baked in a Cocotte (cast iron dutch oven) with the sauce, pearl onions grilled carrots. Puff pastry seals the cocotte as it bakes. When it arrives at the table the pastry is domed. As I broke through the pastry to the venison stew below, a waft of steam rose up, filled with the odour of rich brown gravy, meat and veggies.
Of course we had desert, however, I was still buzzing from the raw and the red.
The culinary quest continues…
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