Numerous restaurants opt to take a break and close on Mondays. The ones that don't are likely to face a slow night. This would not be the case at Grinder, as our attempt to book a table on Boxing Day was foiled when we were told the happening steakhouse was fully-booked for the evening service.
Luckily for us, we would regroup and nab a reservation the following day in what turned out to be another packed house for the Little Burgundy hotspot — mistakenly marketed as located in Griffintown, which lies further east.
The Zebulon Perron-designed space caught its fair share of attention upon opening four years ago with its signature exposed beams and ceiling-mounted dental exam lights. The boisterous room with central bar has its way of attracting the city's young glitterati, creating the perfect setup for guys/girls' night out, hooking up or plain people watching.
The vegetarian-repelling menu focuses on raw and cooked meats of animals from all walks of life. If it flies, swims or walks, chances are it's on the menu. Not looking to bust our wallets with the steak section — which we have sampled during prior visits — tonight we decided to discover the other, more adventurous side of the menu.
Ill-placed sautéed shimeji — an Asian mushroom — and large squirts of wasabi mayonnaise overpowered otherwise fresh tasting thin slices of red tuna.
Earthy, peppery and sweet flavours emanated from a mixture of beets, arugula and apples. The added goat's milk cheese and maple vinaigrette didn't do much for us.
The only clear winner of the night came in the form of a balanced tartare patty with a wasabi sauce providing some kick and breadcrumbs adding a crunchy texture.
A copious and very tender lamb shin came lacking in flavour; with the acini de pepe pasta mixed with a blue cheese béchamel variety proving too pungent and salty.
A molten chocolate cake — matched with soft serve vanilla ice cream — that wasn't fondant one bit, although the outside was nice and spongy.
A bustling dining room normally means busy waitstaff. Our waitress for the night was friendly and mostly available — minus a couple forgivable bouts of absenteeism. Asides from that, she immediately offered to waive our non-molten fondant off the bill when we brought it up; brownie points!
tagged: HUSTLE & BUSTLE
Although they may have flopped with Westmount's short-lived Lea, the group that also owns the Plateau's Hachoir has a winner on their hands with the latter's younger sister Grinder. While we would like to see more excellence on the plate, the trendy, crowd-pleasing fare seems to be drawing both meat-lovers and raw-ophiles looking for a fun night out. Four years on, there is clearly no grinding this meat pusher to a halt.
tagged: PLAN B.
Price per person: $46.50
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.