Monday, July 8, 2013

Dinner for 2 in Montreal for under $100

A cold yogurt, cucumber and mint soup with cracked black pepper at Le Balmoral, the non-profit restaurant in the Maison du Festival, headquarters for the 10-day Montreal jazz blast that ended on Sunday.

A big pile of fresh greens in a tasty yogurt dressing topped my dinner entree of sliced smoked salmon with capers and caper berries.

Bistro Le Balmoral operates year-round, but it is closed on Sundays.

My wife had a green salad before her entree of flank steak and potato.

By Victor E. Sasson

After three expensive dinners in Montreal, we were looking for something a little more reasonable before going to see Vieux Farka Toure, a group from Mali, in what was once French West Africa.

We checked out some of the pop-ups in and around the Place des Arts, but their menus were limited to such casual fare as crepes, pork sandwiches, fish and chips, and quesadillas.

On a previous trip in 2011, we had tried poutine -- a Montreal fast-food specialty of french fries topped with cheese curds and gravy sometimes referred to as "a heart attack on a plate" -- and it no longer has any appeal for us.

So we headed for Le Balmoral, a non-profit restaurant in the Maison du Festival, headquarters for the 10-day international jazz festival that ended Sunday.

We arrived early, a little after 4, and a singer was rehearsing on the bandstand. 

We were seated right away, given menus and poured glasses of water.  Then, the servers, gathered around the bar, forgot about us.

When we decided what we wanted, I had to get up and ask a server to come over and take our order.

A young, overweight woman took the order, then offered us large rolls. 

My wife took one, but when I declined, muttering something about being on a no-bread diet, she snatched away my bread plate and butter.

Dinner for $80

I had a refreshing cold yogurt, cucumber and mint soup ($7), followed by a dinner platter covered with slices of smoked salmon and a pile of fresh greens in a yogurt dressing ($18.50).

My wife had a green salad ($7.50), and the grill of the day -- flank steak with baked potato, accented with fresh arugula and a few crunchy green beans ($22).

I finished with a double espresso, which was served with a little warm milk ($5.75).

The meal, with 15% taxes and tip, totaled about $80 (all prices in Canadian dollars).

We sat at an outdoor table for breakfast last Thursday at Eggspectation, below, before heading home to New Jersey. The restaurant's motto: "Grab the day by the eggs."


We ate liberally from the large breakfast buffet at our hotel, the Hyatt Regency Montreal, that was included in our WBGO tour of the International Festival de Jazz.

I started with juice and a plate of fresh fruit, continued with a bowl of yogurt topped with nuts and dried fruit, and finished with a made-to-order vegetable omelet and steamed green beans.

There were chafing dishes filled with bacon and sausage, and an enormous roasted ham on the bone for meat-eating guests, plus piles of croissants, bagels and other bread.

But when we extended our stay one night, the rate didn't include breakfast, so on Thursday morning, we walked a few steps to Eggspectation for a great send-off.

Breakfast Parfait at Eggspectation is a delightful combination of non-fat Greek yogurt; cooked quinoa, flax and wheat bran; fresh fruit and a cup of warm, pourable honey ($8.95).

My wife had a vegetable-and-ham omelet served with potatoes, tomato slices and fruit (about $12).

Driving back to New Jersey last Thursday, we stopped at the Black Bear Restaurant & Bar in Pottersville, N.Y., where I had fresh brook trout for lunch ($12.50).

Second Cup

One night, on the way back to our Montreal hotel, we stopped at Second Cup, 1122 Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest.

Think Starbucks with Middle Eastern-style wraps -- thin pocket bread and such fillings as chicken and vegetables, hummus and falafel ($5.95).

Brook trout

Driving back to New Jersey, we stopped at the Black Bear Restaurant & Bar in Pottersville, N.Y., where fresh brook trout was on the menu.

The trout was butterflied, grilled simply and served with canned corn ($12.50). 

Bistro Le Balmoral, 305 Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, Montreal; 1-514-288-5992. Closed Sundays.

Eggspectation Desjardins, 190 Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, Montreal; 1-514-288-6488.

Black Bear Restaurant & Bar, Exit 26 Northway, Route 9, Pottersville, N.Y.; 1-518-494-9972.

More Montreal

Here is a link to a post about our 2011 visit to Montreal:

A 19-pound lobster awaited its fate

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