Tuesday, July 30, 2013514eats
For our 50th review, we needed a last-minute option downtown that allows you to just grab a drink without having to eat (part of our group had already dined). We were lucky to snatch Dominion Square Tavern's last free table; both the dining room and outdoor terrace were full on a Tuesday night. Make sure you reserve if you want to hit this buzzing spot.
Originally a hotel restaurant in 1927, with a short stint as a gay bar in the 70s, the Tavern was reinvented in 2009 as an English gastropub at the hands of the Baldwin Barmacie folks. The beautiful interior maintained its "old-world" heritage throughout the decades; you can easily picture tycoons from the Roaring Twenties conducting their business here over whisky and steaks.
The menu screams "English" with classic dishes such as Scotch egg, bangers & mash and pudding. The cocktail selection rounds up the Tavern's old-world feel with a focus on gin, rye, sours and homemade tonic. Finally, pricing is very reasonable with not a single main breaking $30.
price: $9 - rating: hit
"with homemade catsup". The sweetness from the corn came through in these fluffy fried balls, contrasting the tangy ketchup.
price: $16 - rating: classic
"Brussels sprout salad". Three halves of roasted beef bone paired with a tiny salad, served with coarse salt on the side. The luscious, velvety marrow sprinkled with salt is just delightful. And the vinegary salad cuts through the richness. A great pairing!
Braised Beef Top Blade
price: $28 - rating: so-so
"mashed potatoes with cheddar, horseradish carrots". Despite the dry portions on the outside, the meat was beefy and succulent. The mashed potatoes were standard, nothing cheesy about them. The highlight were the carrots which had a nice kick from the horseradish.
price: $29 - rating: so-so
"Marchand de Vin butter, mashed potatoes with cheddar". Everything was very ordinary on this dish; the beef was cooked to a good temperature but its flavour wasn't stellar, the same mash as above and simple sautéed string beans. The butter atop the steak added flavour, but not enough to make things exciting.
price: $8 - rating: hit
"sour cream". Classic doughnuts with a clear hint of nutmeg, served with sour cream for dipping. Those were hot and fresh; we could have eaten a dozen.
tagged: great value
Having not eaten all day, the last thing we wanted to receive was slow service. Regrettably and unusually, that is exactly what we got. Our meal lasted about three hours and it wasn't because we were taking our sweet time. Luckily, we were reconnecting with a very old friend, so that helped keep our minds off our hunger.
tagged: where's the waiter?
Dominion Square Tavern is one of downtown Montreal's greatest additions in the last five years or so. The food and drinks are solid, the vintage decor is unique and the mood is trendy/smart, be it for dinner or drinks at the bar. We've been enough times not to let tonight's misses skew our overall appreciation of the spot.
price per person: $41
1243 Metcalfe Street