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Oysterfest:

Oysters and So Much More

FESTIVAL STREET FOOD OLD MONTREAL CASUAL <$40

The Pitch

We realized we haven't blogged in a month!  One of us had a baby while the other was in Germany over that period, so we think we're excused.  During our "hiatus" we decided we should cap off the busy summer festival season by attending our first Montreal Oysterfest (what other food blogger wouldn't?).

The Mood

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The festival basically consisted of a bunch of tents set up around a parking lot.  The crowd was mostly anglo-hipster, with a few douchebaggy exceptions here and there.  The event did sell out, but fortunately the venue wasn't overly-crowded.  The mood was pleasant and festive for the most part.

tagged:  ANGLO CROWD HIPSTER SCENE PAAARTAY!

The Food

Food Image

As expected, the raw oyster bar was the "guest of honour" and had the longest line-ups.  The food we got to sample was mainly seafood-oriented, and there were a few fried desserts.  We bought the $35 ticket which included two food/drink tickets usable in any of the booths, then had to purchase more tickets for food and drinks at $5 a pop (a decent value).

Oysters from La Boite aux Huîtres thumbnail (click to enlarge)

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Oysters from La Boite aux Huîtres

The oysters were meaty and a little briny.  A standard issue mignonette along with Frank's Red Hot sauce were available on the side, but we didn't care much for those.  Great oysters, we could've eaten those all day.

Smoked Eel Sandwich with Coleslaw from Suite 701 thumbnail (click to enlarge)

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Smoked Eel Sandwich with Coleslaw from Suite 701

A mashed up portion of supposedly-smoked eel with celery and a "remotely" chipotle mayo, topped with some arugula in a poppy seed bun.  The sandwich was served on top of some very regular coleslaw (the vinegary type, not the creamy one) and was just ok.

Shrimp Roll from Baxo thumbnail (click to enlarge)

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Shrimp Roll from Baxo

This sandwich was a hit.  A truckload of breakfast shrimps mixed up with creamy coleslaw in a poppy seed bun and topped with chimichurri sauce.  The latter worked great with its spiciness and sweetness; we had to find out where that sweetness came from and it turned out the secret ingredient was their homemade honey mustard.  Our only problem here was that the bun was a little too cold and felt a bit dry.

Fish n' Chips from Brit & Chips thumbnail (click to enlarge)

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Fish n' Chips from Brit & Chips

A minuscule piece of deep-fried white fish atop a huge portion of chips (fries in this part of the world), served with a lemon wedge and a little container of tartar sauce.  This one was just unremarkable, even for an outdoor fest.  The batter was crispy and the fish wasn't dry; but the chips were limp and soggy.  The tartar sauce was ok.  We definitely had better fish n' chips.

tagged:  GREAT VALUE

The Service

We arrived midway into the schedule, and were disappointed to find out that a number of food stands had already sold out, such as our good friend Antonio Park's PARK stand and the Grumman 78 stand.  Asides from that, the festival's organization was alright; there were only a couple lineups at the food ticket stand and at the oyster bar.

tagged:  WE'RE OUT

The Verdict

Our first year at the Montreal Oysterfest was fun.  We enjoyed sampling the restaurants' creations but thought the entertainment (Bloody Caesar competition, oyster shucking contest…) was a little lacklustre and could use improvement.  We recommend you check out the food stands in the future, but don't cancel any party plans to stay there too long (we ended up going to Terrasses Nelligan afterward).

tagged:  PLAN B.

Price per person:  $35

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514eats

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.

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