Bar & Boeuf, Montreal
he recession has seen many upscale, continental restaurants take a hit; spots serving up fancy towers of ‘lord knows what’ have been shutting doors all over the place and being replaced by burger joints, marketing themselves as high end and thin-crust pizza places pretending like the 90’s trend never happened. That said; fine dining has not been entirely obliterated by the fact that too many people spent too much money on opulent overeating in the past 15 years (excuse the gross minimization). For whatever reason, gastrophiles still cling to a perceived value in a fine hunk of meat and fresh fish. In other words, people are more than willing to drop money they don’t have on seafood and beef. Good news for Montreal then, because Bar & Boeuf is finally here.
Don’t let the name fool you, Bar & Boeuf is not a place for Englishmen to cut into a dripping piece of prime rib and shoot back tumblers full of whiskey; rather in this case, Bar is the French word for seabass, the endangered delicacy of the sea. Though sea bass may be as rare as people’s money these days, the fish will still be served fresh and money will still be taken. In fact, one of Montreal’s hottest up and comers in the kitchen, chef Alexandre Gosselin (Le Local, Ô Chalet) along with seasoned restaurateur, Gerardo Labarca (Zumaia and Pintxo) forecast Bar & Boeuf to be one of the best, most successful, restaurants in Montreal – a tall order indeed.
Although pedigree does go a long way in the restaurant world; Montrealers have fine pallets, both taste-wise and vision-wise. In other words, no matter how rich the makeup of one’s fabric is; it does not have the kind of opacity it takes to blind a denizen of Monty. Luckily, when you step foot into Bar & Bouef the last sense you wish to be bereft of is vision. The 160 seat space, distinctly split into two floors, has a casual elegance only comparable to 40’s movies sets – dark woods, high ceilings, quilted walls, porthole mirrors, glowing chandeliers, and a majestically large bar.
Unlike many restaurants in Montreal that forgo the food for the sake of the ‘scene;’ Bar & Boeuf commits itself to an all around experience. To match the downplayed grandeur of such a spot, the seasonal, market menu focuses on the integrity of simple ingredients. Each dish is refined enough to speak for itself, no foams, towers, or overplayed garnishes required.
Although Montreal is a trendsetting city, it’s time a restaurant opened that does not attempt to set any trends. For a restaurant that does not ride any coattails, or intend to create any for that matter, check out Bar & Boeuf – a fine restaurant… Isn’t that enough?
Address: 500 Rue McGill, Montreal, QC
Area: Old Montreal
Hours: Lunch: Tue. – Fri. 11:30am – 3:00pm
Dinner: Tue. – Sat. 5pm – 11pm
Price Range: $$$$ (Expensive)
Payment: Master Card, Visa, American Express
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