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Arthurs:

A Rockin' Passover

RESTAURANT JEWISH SAINT-HENRI MODERATE <$40

The Pitch

When one thinks of Montreal's Jewish restaurant scene, landmarks such as Schwartz's, Wilensky's & Snowdon undoubtedly come to mind.  As much as these icons have popularized the deli angle – smoked meat, pickles, lox, etc. – there is much more to the Eastern European flavor of this cuisine that feels underrepresented in these establishments.

Enter Arthurs, a self-described Jewish nosh bar open since last summer on Saint-Henri's restaurant-heavy stretch of Notre-Dame Street West.  The daytime-only, no-reservations bruncheonette recently appeared in a Tourisme Montréal feature of restaurants serving weekday brunches; so we naturally thought of it on this rainy late Wednesday morning.

tagged:  CAN'T RESERVE

The Mood

Mood image

The bright, contemporary interior with its white walls and matching floor tiles, tabletops and handsome bar – all the way to the see-through kitchen – makes you forget how small the space actually is.  A modest, early crowd was quickly replaced by a packed dining room around lunchtime; with the oldies blues/rock soundtrack creating a sort of smart, retro vibe.

tagged:  SIT AT THE BAR

The Food

Food Image

Arthur's placemat menu consists of an all-day breakfast section followed by salads, noshes and sandwiches; with Ashkenazi staples such as smoked salmon, kosher salami, latkes and challah bread making several appearances throughout.

We got things rolling with a comforting matzah ball soup – the quintessential Passover dish – brightened up by fresh dill.  Next came a fabulous sandwich made up of chicken schnitzel with crunchy iceberg slaw served on challah.  As sides, we opted for masterfully-creamy though steep – $15 for 5 bites! – potato/cheese perogies and deliciously-crispy malt vinegar fries.

All Dressed Matzah Ball Soup thumbnail (click to enlarge)

Starter

Starter

$8

$8

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All Dressed Matzah Ball Soup

Mc Arthur Sandwich thumbnail (click to enlarge)

Main

Main

$15

$15

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Mc Arthur Sandwich

Fries with Malt Vinegar thumbnail (click to enlarge)

Side

Side

$4.50

$4.50

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Fries with Malt Vinegar

The Service

Our waitress for the morning was friendly and inviting, although a tad too chummy and a bit of a close-talker.  Drinks and dishes arrived at a steady pace, albeit various items – coffee, fries, ketchup – were forgotten and required a reminder from our part.

The Verdict

Arthurs is clearly succeeding at making Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine fun and hip; the same way nearby, wildly-popular Sumac has done with the Mizrahi variation.  The comfort food is simple yet tasty, elevated and a shtickle on the pricey side considering the portions.  We may need to sample more of the menu before giving our final score; but this is one good bet for Passover noshing during this holiday period.

tagged:  DESERVES A RETRY

Price per person:  $23

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514eats

Montreal restaurant and bar reviews brought to you by two regular guys who like to eat and drink.  We will go anywhere and we will say it like it is.

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