Montreal Eats: Garde Manger

A couple of weekends ago, the team had their last regatta of the season in Montreal! For myself, it was a tense and nerve-wracking weekend to say the least. I’d like to think that we work hard enough to play hard. And by play hard I mean ultimate cheat dinner sort of thing. 
408 Rue Saint François Xavier
Montréal, QC

Reservations: 514 678 5044 // OpenTable
Transit: 5-min walk from Station Place-d’Armes (Not familiar with Montreal transit though)
Hours: Tues-Sun (6pm; Kitchen closes 11:30pm)

Normally, we attempt a team dinner at Au Pied de Cochon after the last day of racing. This time around I was able to snag a reservation at Garde Manger. Either way, great food lay ahead!

A couple of us had been to Garde Manger once before (HERE) during a sort of food road trip so we’d be eagerly anticipating a second taste of our favourite dishes. For Jess, it was the scallops that she was craving. As for me, I couldn’t wait to have that salmon tartare again! I’m sure I’ve used this expression before, but the flavours smacks you across the face because they’re so fresh and bright.

You'd think that I'd learn by now how to take photos by candle light...work in progress. 

By chance, another group of our teammates had made reservations for the same time as well! I couldn’t wait to hear them gush about their meal. A friend and I were just talking about this the other day. You know that face you make (and everyone does this so don’t say that you don’t!) when you eat something that’s so unbelievably good?! So good your eyes uncontrollably roll back and you’re basking in some sort of la-la land slash happy place slash euphoria? He joked about making a tumblr for that. I think that’d be hilarious! Let’s just say the salmon tartare here at Garde Manger brought me to my happy place and I was so sad to see it missing from the menu! 
Garde Manger's own hot sauce!

One of the cooks whom I met last year suggested I get the salmon crudo instead so we went with that. Jess’ scallops were still on the menu so we jumped on that. Our server was describing to us their seafood special of the night and I’m pretty sure all we heard was “hjdhfjkajrhtkajrhfahd OYSTERS!” I don’t remember which oyster was what, but the one on the right was unbelievably plump and juicy, the smaller one was brinier (which I preferred) and the last variety was the mildest of the three. 

Salmon Crudo w/ Jerky (16)
Although I’m sure everything on the menu tastes fantastic, I gotta say, good call on this dish Kevin! It was probably my favourite dish of the night. I was a bit apprehensive at first because of “jerk spice” in the description. Turns out, it’s really subtle and the dish was a standout for all of the different textures and flavours that matched each other so well. The salmon was so good!! I may still prefer the meaty-chunky-face-smacking cubes of salmon from the tartare but this ranks highly in my books too. 

Eggs mimosa (14) – w/ crab and fried oyster
The dish normally comes with 3 eggs but they gave us the option of adding a fourth since we were a party of four. Is it just me or was that a redundant explanation? Anywho, again, great contrasts both in flavours and textures. The pickle slices really helped give the deviled eggs that pickup that it needed. 

Marinated pork (29) - w/ fried salted cod and sprout salad
I know I shouldn’t have expected different but this salted pork was so salty in some parts. Other parts of it were perfectly moist and tender. But because my first bite of this dish happened to be a super salty piece, I was a bit turned off. Venus raved about this though so I take it she didn’t get any salty morsels. :D (Number of times I typed "salty": 5. Too many..)

Seared scallops (36) – w/ potato and leek purée
Jess’ eyes literally popped when I was translating the mains and said “scallops.” Definitely a worthy picture for the soon-to-be-created-by-someone tumblr of “NOM faces”. That along with her reaction after the first bite. I totally understand where she’s coming from though because the scallops were perfectly done. Perfect. Cannot get better than that. 

Pot de chômeur w/ dehydrated rhubarb
This is the second time I’ve seen dehydrated rhubarb! (The first time was at Nick auf der Mauer’s dinner at L’ouvrier). This “poor man’s cake” was a nice end to the meal. You can never go wrong with a good warm pie/cake/pudding with a scoop of ice cream. 

I was so happy that everyone enjoyed their food!!! That’s one of the joys of going out to eat. Not only experiencing great food yourself, but being with friends and sharing those moments with them!
Verdict: Mini-girls’ night out in Montreal was a success! The other table that our teammates sat at also had a great time. They did a sort of group tasting were they got a seafood “tower”, drinks, 3 apps and 5 mains for $70pp. Not bad I’d say! I just hope that we won’t have to wait until next year to return!
5 out of 5 NOMs

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