Upon hearing that La Queue de Cheval was moving, we thought we had to give its old location one last visit. We love this steakhouse, with its American-style extravagance and its grandiose setting. So we reserved for what was supposed to be the Queue's last weekend, but were surprised to find the place already had the new name and logo outside (enter Douze Vingt et Un).
Inside the restaurant, everything remained EXACTLY as it was. The meat fridge, seafood bar, cigar lounge, giant grill with its unique vent hood, the horse statues ... they're all still there. The one thing that seemed to have changed was the crowd. Whereas before you would mostly see older people wearing suits and elegant dresses, tonight the clientele was actually disappointingly trashy; mostly young and badly dressed.
The other thing that changed is the menu's cover and design. However, its content is pretty much intact as well. All the signature dishes are still here: the Caesar salad for two, selection of steaks, seafood, sides and even the Death by Chocolate cake. More importantly, the prices remain as exorbitant as before, although with good reason.
You get three rolls with a less than stellar plum sauce for dipping. The rolls were definitely crispy and well-executed but the dish seemed out of place for a steakhouse and was definitely not spectacular.
You get to pick the number of shrimps. At $12 a pop, we thought two would be enough to share without breaking the bank. The shrimps are topped with a chopped tomato-olive-caper-onion garnish. We can easily say that this was one of the best shrimp dishes we've ever had. The size, quality and grilling of the shrimps are simply unsurpassed.
Lightly seasoned with cracked peppercorns and a roasted garlic bulb on the side. As expected, the quality of the meat is unparalleled, but it was a little overcooked. We asked for it medium-well (don't judge, pregnant wife), but the surface came pretty much black and tough, although the meat itself remained tender. We've had better at the Queue, so it's probably a rare miss.
Again lightly seasoned with the roasted garlic on the side. Not trying to sound repetitive, but the meat quality was excellent and again very slightly overcooked at the skin, considering it was ordered medium-rare this time. This is still a solid steak however.
In case you're not familiar with this joint, the main dishes come bare of any sides. So if you want some carbs or veggies, you need to order them separately. Not a bad idea, but the bill can easily add up with a couple of sides. These fries were long cut and lightly seasoned; just decent.
A tower of very large, deep fried and battered onion rings. So big, in fact, that you can get filled on just a couple. They are perfectly fried, leaving the batter with just the right degree of crispiness. The rings are also cut very thick, so you get a lot of onion flavor in each bite.
Not a pretty dish but boy is it tasty! You get a generous portion of sliced, grilled oyster mushrooms lightly oiled and garnished with a lemon wedge. Simple yet delicious!
A gigantic, oval-shaped berry shortcake with a red coulis (couldn't tell what kind). It is definitely enough to share among two, but there is nothing remarkable about it. The berries, on the other hand, were very tasty and well selected.
The service follows the same successful formula as before. You will be tended to by an attentive gentleman donning a white apron, very “old-world”. You will also be presented with a huge tray of their steak cuts and mammoth-sized shellfish to choose from. Finally, this is one of the rare places in town that throw in free Evian water bottles (yes, I did pluralize) for every table.
tagged: LOVE THE ATTENTION
Tonight we were a little confused; was this supposed to be the Q or the new Douze Vingt et Un? Even our waiter couldn't give us a straight answer. If the new place looks similar and serves the same food, we were left wondering how the new Queue will differ. And since the latter's new location will be literally around the corner, it seems a little pointless to have two high-end American steakhouses so close to each other. For now, we will give the Douze Vingt et Un the benefit of the doubt, in order to see how it evolves with time. It's a definite “retry”.
tagged: DESERVES A RETRY
Price per person: $66.71
"Good review, thanks!"
"We want to add a note regarding what we said about the trashy crowd:
We realize that we went during Canada Day weekend, so probably a lot of the patrons that night were tourists (not the best dressed people in general). In that regard, we were not generalizing about the nature of the regular crowd, but stating what we saw that night."
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.