I really wish I had more time and money to blog about food. Eh, what else is new about being a food-loving engineering student...
So from November 1st to November 11th, we had our second annual Montréal à Table event (which I totally should have told you guys about, I'm so sorry), where over 100 restaurants in the greater Montreal area offer a specialized, themed menu for a set price of either $19, $29 or $39. The theme this year was maple syrup. I had the pleasure of visiting two such restaurants, one of them being Misto, an Italian restaurant situated on the Plateau.
My friends and I had been mulling over the restaurant list for a while. We started planning pretty late into the event, so a lot of the most popular restaurants were already booked full. The Misto menu caught our eye, having a good variety of choices and an innovative menu, so we decided to check it out.
Accessibility - Grade: B+
Guys, I actually got to hitch a ride to a restaurant instead of taking public transport, and we managed to find parking right in front of the restaurant. You don't understand how happy that makes me. But if you're taking public transport, it's about a five-ten minute walk from Mont-Royal metro, right across from L'Avenue. Which isn't so bad during the summer, but can still be pretty daunting in the cold.
Service - Grade: C+
Yeah, the service was pretty unimpressive. I'm not picky when it comes to service, but I had the distinct impression that our waiter wasn't happy that we didn't order alcohol. I also don't think he said more than two words to us at a time, never mind crack a smile. It was also nearly impossible to flag him down to give him our orders, despite the fact that he was prowling around the floor doing absolutely nothing. However, I must say that the people who brought us our food were pretty friendly, and actually bothered to reply when we thanked them (hence the +). But for an establishment like this, you really would expect them to put in a bit more effort.
This restaurant does have a very nice ambiance, with a kind of modern chic feel to it. The front of the restaurant is a white garage door, but the interior has jazzy classy feel to it. Definitely nice for a date, although it did get a little loud when we went.
Food - Grade: B-
This is a case where food falls short of your overestimated expectations.
We had a choice of two appetizers, one being the veal tartare and the other a cream shrimp pasta dish (I believe it was tagliatelle?).
The veal tartare came in a small cube, and was accompanied by a large piece of crouton, and garnished with a simple drizzle of balsamic vinegar. The meat was tender, but packed firmly enough to still be chewy. In terms of flavour, the taste was very mild. but seasoned just enough to showcase the veal instead of masking it. Overall, not bad.
|Creamy shrimp pasta|
I'm pretty sure it was tagliatelle. In any case, my friend ordered this appetizer, which is pasta drenched in a cream sauce, accompanied by three large shrimp and garnished with herbs. I didn't try the shrimp or the pasta, but had a quick taste of the sauce. It was very creamy and buttery, and the taste of cheese was quite present, but it also had a note of sourness that cut through all the richness.
|Grilled Chicken with Vegetables|
I wish I had taken down the description on the menu, because I really can't remember what twist they had added to this simple, classic dish. In any case, my friend had ordered the chicken, which consisted of a grilled quarter-chicken and some grilled veggies as a side. My friend said she found the chicken very juicy, and not a single bite was dry, even the breast area. She also said that the meat itself was very flavourful, unlike chicken at other places, where the flavour is predominantly in the skin. She was also very enthralled by the grilled purple carrots that came as a side, since it was apparently her first time eating purple carrots. Her final verdict: not the best, but not the worst. Pretty decent.
|Veal strip loin with fried onion ring and greens|
I had a small cut of her veal, and I thought the meat was very tender, but also very mild. But that may be because I'm more used to beef steaks than veal. Still, it was probably my preferred dish of the three.
|Rigatoni with Confit de Canard|
|Candied pecans and squash panna cotta|
There were two options for dessert, one being the panna cotta with diced squash and candied pecans and fleur de sel. Both of my friends ordered this, and I had a small taste. One of my friends really enjoyed the candied/sugared pecans, saying they reminded her of Christmas, but everyone agreed that the squash and the fleur de del did nothing for the panna cotta. It took us about fifteen minutes to realize that the orange pieces of fruit were actually squash, which were very mild in flavour, and on my first bite, I got a mouthful of salt from one corner of the squash. The panna cotta itself was airy and lightly sweet.
|Maple pork tart with candied bacon|
Price - $$$
I had a gander at the regular menu, and mains seem to average around $25, which is probably more than what I would have paid for what I got. But then again, I just don't think pasta should be that expensive, unless everything really is freshly made. In any case, since it was a special menu, the appetizer, main and dessert came at a fixed price of $29 per person. Which isn't too shabby, but still more than I should be paying for food.
Final Grade: B-
It all comes back to 'Eh, not bad, but not amazing'. It's probably unfair to judge this restaurant solely by their Montréal à Table menu, but there was nothing that stood out enough for me to warrant a second visit. Still, if ambiance is your thing, and you don't mind passive-aggressive waiters, then I guess you could give Misto a try...?