Disclaimer: By no design of ours, the owner of Mon Nan was informed of our visit via a common friend. While we didn't discern any special treatment and paid our bill in full, we feel it necessary to divulge this detail.
Chinatown is a tough cookie for us; although we love Chinese food, our frame of reference was the American variation we grew up eating in the Middle East. With so many options in the area, we never knew where to go for a good, authentic meal; the disappointments were frequent and the gems rare. That all changed when we heeded the call of the aforementioned friend and hit up Mon Nan (twice actually).
This multi-generational family outfit lies on the eastern edge of Chinatown on Rue Saint-Dominique, making it easy to miss. The spacious, largely nondescript dining room drew a mixed Valentine's Day crowd of couples, families and a few sketchy people. One can only imagine the 4AM lot (yes, they're open that late)…
tagged: BRING THE FAMILY
Renowned for its dumplings and Peking duck, Mon Nan also prides itself for serving fresh seafood of all sorts: lobster, crab, oysters, razor clams… you name it, they have it. We quickly ordered a couple dishes that wowed us on our first visit, and burdened the owner (Joe) with the onus of suggesting the rest from the long menu (200+ items, in typical Chinatown style!).
"Thai style spicy soup with shrimps". Yields three bowls, as pictured. Hot, sour and comforting; way to go on a cold winter night. Add those jumbo shrimps for the win!
"8 shrimps". Oily as hell, but you won't hear us complain. Tensions may flare if someone at your table gets fewer of these than the rest; you've been warned!
"shrimp, squid & scallop". This dish is an absolute must; battered, deep fried seafood goodness. What an awesome combination of sweet, salty, spicy and tangy flavours.
The beef strips were sweet and sticky as expected, but lacked in heat and were more chewy than crispy. This was just average compared to everything else we had.
Chunks of lobster in-the-shell, stir-fried with ginger and scallions; simply wow! We enjoyed sucking on the battered shell just as much as devouring the meat inside.
"shiitake & king oyster mushrooms". We had to round up our protein-heavy meal with some veggies. Add a truckload of mushrooms for that burst of umami; score!
tagged: YOU MAKE ALL THIS?
How often do you obsess over a dining experience? Since leaving Mon Nan, we've been thinking and talking about it incessantly. Its excellent, family-style "soul" food earns it a spot on our current crush list. While we can't claim this is THE best restaurant in Chinatown, one thing is certain; we now have a go-to spot in the neighborhood. Our hunt is finally over (for now).
Price per person: $27.93
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.