My husband and I were in Montreal a couple of weeks ago and had the pleasure of visiting Joe Beef restaurant again with our friends Steve and Lindsay. You may recall that I was there last year while visiting the city and fell in love with their hearty, rustic cooking that’s rooted in a local, seasonal approach.
We arrived a bit late because we’d been at the hockey game (the Habs won – yay!). It’s oyster season so we started with a big platter of Colville Bay oysters with a delicious mignonette and a side of octopus that was fantastic. We washed down the oysters with a Melon de Bourgnone from Norman Hardie winery in Prince Edward County, Ontario. Joe Beef has been a big supporter of Norm Hardie and his wines and it’s a favourite winery of mine as well. In fact, the restaurant recently hosted a wine tasting that included Norman Hardie pinot noir and the tasting panel was very impressed.
For our mains, we perused the large blackboard of choices and made our selections. I opted for the burger. I was tempted by the scallops with pulled pork but I can rarely resist a good burger, even if there are more exotic options on the menu. It was topped with sautéed onions and mushrooms and served on a pillowy fresh homemade bun. The generous side of frites with mayonnaise was shared by the table. My husband Allan went with the famous lobster spaghetti, as did Lindsay. At $49 and about a million calories, we joked that it’s both light and cheap. However, it’s absolutely delicious and worth every calorie (see the link below for the recipe). Steve chose the seasonally appropriate pumpkin risotto. It was supposed to be for two people and served in a hollowed out pumpkin but the kitchen made it for one, sans pumpkin bowl. Topping the risotto with fried sage leaves and a generous amount of foie gras elevated the dish from merely delicious to unbelievable.
By the end of such a rich meal, dessert wasn’t a top priority for anyone but we somehow managed to share a piece of rich pumpkin cake with house made sour cream ice cream. There also may have been a few shots of whisky consumed after the meal (always a good idea at 1 a.m.) but that’s a story for another day. A special thanks to Steve and Lindsay for a fun evening, as always.
The final issue of Gourmet magazine is on the newsstands now and there is a great article by Adam Gollner featuring two of the owners of Joe Beef taking the train to the Northern Quebec wilderness to fish and live off the land. Try to pick up the magazine if you can (there are some great Thanksgiving recipes in it) but the article is available on-line as well: The Very Noble Train of the Huntsman.
For some of Joe Beef’s recipes (including the fabulous Lobster Spaghetti), check out Bonnie Stern’s article about the restaurant: Indulge Now Before it’s Resolution Time: Extra-Hearty Recipes to Enjoy Once a Year. Indeed.