Rewind to 2007 (and probably* years prior). Montreal had no restaurant week, an almost silly state of affairs for a city boasting the highest number of restaurants per capita in North America. Fast forward to 2012 and Montreal found itself with a full-out reversal, outfitted with not just one, but two restaurant weeks. Before Taste MTL took hold for the first time last November, its Old Montreal precursor, Le Happening Gourmand, had been going strong every January since 2008, albeit on a smaller scale.
In 2013, Le Happening Gourmand runs January 10 to February 3. And as with years past, the Antonopoulos family-run network of Old Montreal restaurants proposes affordable tables d'hôte ranging from, barring foie gras and seafood extras or special menu offers, $23 to $27. And lunch menus are only $15.
Yesterday, I asked the group's vice-president of marketing, Dimitri Antonopoulos, if he could name-drop three must-taste dishes, or tables d'hôte that he personally adores but since he wasn't able to get back to me in time, I sifted through the menus myself and spotted some rather lovely options.
Meat & Potatoes
Grilled lamb chops on roasted garlic mashed potatoes preceded by mesclun and concluded by creme brulée for $15. Seriously. Lunch menu. At Steakhouse du Vieux-Port (map).
Think warm tomato goat cheese tart entree with a roasted salmon main served with puy lentils AND a finale cheese platter featuring fine Quebec cheeses for $27. Dinner menu. At Taverne Gaspar (map).
Grilled blue Marlin with caper salad, black olives, cucumbers, crème fraîche and caviar? Yes please. I will also take the roasted portabello and asparagus opener with Fontina sauce unless I decide at the last second to opt for the octopus, shrimp and calamari salad with black-eyed peas, ending it all with a house tiramisu. Total $27. Dinner menu. At Bevo Bar + Pizzeria (map).
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