“Hi Hi Hi Hi there
Them summer days
Those summer days.”
An appropriate message to greet me on the longest day of the year, the first day of summer while in Montreal, don’t you think? I have no beef with that. And speaking of beef, wow, did I have the most incredible meal of my life at yesterday at Joe Beef, named one of enRoute Magazine ‘s top 10 restaurants in Canada. We were invited by Katherine Rollet, Tourism Montreal’s Epicurean Blogger. She thought it was a must-do experience, you know, for us to experience the charm of what the fans of Fred Morin, David McMillan and Allison Cunningham already know. And we thank you Katherine!
Case-in-point? I’m still licking the corners of my mouth from the remnants of the lamb-shank “butter": the creamy, salty and fluffy bone marrow that came with the lamb on the side. (Somehow, the fleshy-innards of my bread wouldn’t stop dipping itself into the marrowy cavity, go figure!)
The 28-seat restaurant is a hipster-lover’s paradise. Think. In a row of shops graced by mannequins wearing vintage flight attendant uniforms–some more dressed than others–and just steps away from the Atwater Market, the restaurant is darkly dressed with wooden benches, and blue-and-white checkered cloth serviettes. The décor is only upstaged by a giant chalkboard that serves the daily fresh sheet. And while it takes center-of-attention, it only lasts until the food arrives.
Are you a glutton for punishment? If so, start with Foie Gras with Chilli Relish, Salmon Tartar, Roasted Quail and PEI Oysters. Wash it down with a glass of Burgundy to prepare the senses for the BIG BEEF. In our case, it was masquerading in sheep’s clothing, as a massive-and-tender piece of lamb shoulder from Kamouraska, Quebec. It gently hugged the creamiest polenta-mash, and it was accented with a pea-and-raisin paste for sweetness. For the encore? The “butter." Bones, four in total, filled with a fatty, creme-coloured marrow that was served as an extra note of appreciation by Chef Fred himself. By the way, for media interested in the man behind this institution, Fred is the man around. With an agriculture degree. He sat with us in his backyard patio for more than an hour, telling us about a meat-smoker that he is building, the concrete table that he poured himself, his favourite day to spend a day NOT cooking and bragging about his family. What a great guy! Sealed the deal for me, and Joe Beef being on my top 10 Canadian restaurants to recommend for you to visit.
What are your top spots in Canada for wine and great conversations with “Fred?”