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Le Souk Gastronomique:

No Laughing Matter

Saturday, July 28, 2012

FESTIVAL STREET FOOD QUARTIER LATIN CASUAL <$20

The Pitch

Tonight was the last night of Le Souk Gastronomique, the much-hyped-about gathering of street food trucks and stands in front of Place des Arts as part of the Just For Laughs comedy festival.  Given all the hoopla going around in the city's foodie blogosphere, we thought we HAD to give the Souk a shot before its trucks drove away.

The Mood

The air was festive, with loud music coming from various makeshift stages scattered around the Quartier des Spectacles.  There were definitely a LOT of people walking around the food area.  Fortunately, however, the line-ups at each individual truck/stand weren't long at all; about 2-4 people on the average.

The Food

Food Image

The food selection was pretty diverse and “serious” for a festival (not to mention a comedy fest); from the now-legendary tacos of Grumman 78, to the Nouveau Palais Winneburger's deli fare, and many others serving mostly sandwiches and desserts.  We were a little annoyed at the fact that most trucks had only four items on their menu, at least one of which was already sold out by the time we arrived (8PM), not leaving us with many choices.

Lamb Curry Taco from Grumman 78 thumbnail (click to enlarge)

$7

$7

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Lamb Curry Taco from Grumman 78

We can finally say we tried one of these tacos (kinda late, we know), and it was simply excellent!  Succulent, perfectly-cooked lamb cubes marinated in curry, topped with a sort of apple chutney and fresh coriander leaves.  Definitely the best taco I've ever had.  I only wish it was a little bigger!

rated:  CLASSIC

Burger Fromage from Nouveau Palais Winneburger thumbnail (click to enlarge)

$4.75

$4.75

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Burger Fromage from Nouveau Palais Winneburger

Not very pretty (that's not a bite I took out of the bun in the picture, that's how it was actually presented), but definitely delicious and made with quality ingredients.  The small size was to be expected given the price.

rated:  HIT

Lobster Roll from Tartares du Marché 27 Express thumbnail (click to enlarge)

$10

$10

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Lobster Roll from Tartares du Marché 27 Express

A generous portion of lobster served on a cheap hot dog bun.  The lobster and salad were way too cold against the toasted bun, and there was a little too much celery for my taste.  After having recently had several of those rolls in their birthplace of Maine, I would say this one was passable in comparison.

rated:  SO-SO

Crêpe Banane Chocolat from Crêpes Bretonnes thumbnail (click to enlarge)

$7

$7

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Crêpe Banane Chocolat from Crêpes Bretonnes

The crêpe itself was a little overcooked, dry and hardened, especially at the edges, but the chocolate filling was good.  Nothing special here.  I was definitely stuffed afterwards.

rated:  SO-SO

tagged:  IS THERE ANOTHER MENU?

The Service

Organisationally speaking, things went pretty smooth, except for a few hiccups.  First, there could have been a few more tables and chairs between the trucks.  Second, we thought it was really stupid to set a stage for a metal band to play right in the middle of the food area.  It was a nightmare to navigate around the stage, as some people were standing still to watch the band, therefore blocking the already narrow passage.

The Verdict

We had a great time tonight; it was definitely worth visiting the Souk for a purely gastronomic experience, without attending any shows.  Was the food deserving of all the hype going around?  We're not so sure (we were almost expecting an orgasm, judging from what we read).  Did it give us reason to get excited about the future of Montreal's street food scene?  HELL yes!

tagged:  SOLID

Price per person:  $14.38

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514eats

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

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