Saturday, August 3, 2013

Joe Beef is Joe ‘Mamma


As a part of our 2014 Culinary Tour research we recently spent one night in Montreal. We'd planned several days but discovered the Grand Prix was racing at the same time. This wasn't on our list to experience, so with just one dinner to invest, we easily selected Joe Beef (2491 Rue Notre Dame Oust; 514.935.6504). A venerable institution, we had great expectations which Joe delivered with such practiced ease, you knew you were in the bosom of the Food Gods for the evening.


Our waitress set us up with drinks (their Caesar deserves the first name Augustus) and gently guided us as a sheep dog would through a dozen fine choices to our own unique meal. We began with a foie gras/bacon wonderment that was so delicate and smooth, that you just knew the PETA folks have it all wrong.
The Mrs entree was a duck breast with nettle puree and escargot confit  (OMG - escargot confit!!!!). My entree combined four large sea scallops with numerous of their little brothers from the bay, and (quite cleverly) small gnocchi bites in a cream sauce. When we ordered bread to sop up any remaining goodness, they delivered it with house-made dill pickles. How fun is that?


We aren't the high rollers many believe us to be - (I know, I know - what a shock) and didn’t have a clue about what wine to select. So we asked for a bottle in the lowest price range  - something hopefully close to $50. A seemingly impossible task to pair a wine with both duck and my scallops. Their sommelier delivered an incredible find - an intense 100% Grenache mouthful -  Leonine Carbone 14. I just restarted my “Wines to Buy” list and this is top on that list.

For dessert we enjoyed savarin aux abricots (I call it an Apricot Pile-On). Fresh poached apricots sprinkled  with pistachios on an apricot sherbet stacked precariously high on a light rum-soaked cake.