Disclaimer: This meal was comped.
With all the restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses across all sectors had to adapt in order to survive. Restaurants were no exception to this, where the examples are many and diverse. Joe Beef pivoted to a smokehouse, Monkland Tavern became a farmer's market while Loïc turned into a burger joint.
Another example of a restaurant scaling down its offering for a more streamlined takeout experience is Le Uptown. This Plateau grill-meets-cocktails eatery, open just over a year ago, has temporarily reimaged itself as a chicken-and-doughnuts operation. Today I was gifted delivery on the house, to sample this new proposition.
tagged: WE DELIVER
Le Uptown originally suggested a Congolese grill menu featuring many meats as well as fusion options to go with its cocktail program. The revised takeout menu centers on grilled chicken along with side dishes to go with.
Our fries, turmeric rice, fried plantain and salad were forgettable, but the star attraction wowed! Whole chicken legs are grilled to a nice char then generously brushed with a secret homemade sauce inspired by the owners' grandmother's recipe. We also enjoyed the thin-layer, flaky beef samosas dipped in that same exotic, fragrant sauce.
Finally, we received a dozen mikatés – African fried dough balls also called puff-puffs. These were low on sugar and fun to eat, although a little dense for my taste; they could have used a dip or glaze to spruce things up a bit.
Poultry's supremacy as the fastest-growing meat in North America makes it a clear choice for restaurants. Cheaper, healthier and more sustainable than beef, it is no wonder so many "chicken-only" concepts have surfaced in the last decade.
Montreal already had its fair supply of wings, rotisserie, Portuguese, Korean and fried chicken; now make way for African grilled chicken! This Congolese variant was certainly a first for me, and I must say it was quite tasty.
Hopefully, I will get to visit Le Uptown in the near future to sample some cocktails, once life goes back to normal.
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.