Where to dine in Le Plateau-Mont-Royal
Rue St. Denis, Montreal, Quebec, Canada is teeming with restaurants in a neighborhood that has become popular for its stately brownstone houses, multicultural pubs, and conventional but peculiar art galleries. Chasse Galerie (The Gallery Hunt) is a petite restaurant situated in the heart of the action on this wide boulevard that attracts both locals and visitors alike. The area and vibe reminds me of SoHo, Greenwich Village and Williamsburg – in other words, it’s a little bit like my home-away-from-home in New York City, combined with our closest French city, New Orleans.
The minimalistic interior design leans towards the rustic with its weathered Canadian wood, exposed brick wall, and a glass display dedicated to showcasing some of the finest domestic and imported wines. Chasse Galerie seats 50 people in a casual dining room – and what it may lack in white table linens, flowers, and candles, is vastly atoned for with its cuisine.
To start, I recommend one of their house cocktails to quench your thirst and help you settle in. The Éric Laplante (above) is made with vodka, ginger, basil and raspberry puree — the hint of sweet raspberry, tartness from the ginger and aromatic herb render this adult beverage perfectly balanced.
Cooking with Fire
It’s important to know that the menu changes with seasonal ingredients and market availability. For the tried and true gourmands and gourmets alike, this is a culinary nirvana from soup to nuts or start to finish, however you want to look at it.
Plating and Presentation
There are two tasting menus that vary in courses and price – you don’t get to choose what you want so much as enjoy the chef’s decision… As I mentioned before, the menu is based around seasonal and available vegetables, poultry, meat, fish and fruit. This experience reminded me of growing up in Pennsylvania with a backyard garden and having fresh tomatoes and watermelon only in the summer and root vegetables in the fall and winter. Viola!
Every dish is served with great precision and attention to detail, and created to not only please the taste buds but all of your senses. I had the pleasure of meeting Anthony Bourdain at one of his restaurants back in the 1990s. He said to me, “People eat with their eyes first!” This is very true. That being said, the multiple courses at Chasse Galerie surpass the test. On this occasion, I started with fresh asparagus, greens, and truffle oil.
Eat Like It’s Your Last Meal
Their menu may consist of everything from fish to fresh vegetables to complex roasted meats. While you don’t get to pick and choose what you want, you are most definitely in the capable hands of the chef, whose personality was reminiscent of the kindness-with-a-kick in-the-backside, ala Gordon Ramsay.
Duck. Duck! Goose!
Rising above and beyond this experience was the duck breast with braised cauliflower, bok choy and a savory sauce with a hint of chocolate. I was told that this dish has become a favorite with many guests so it remains on the nightly menu if you are lucky. The textures, flavors and composition of this dish are a memorable combination.
My best advice is to go with an open mind, a clean palette and a taste for adventure.
5 Tips for Dining in Montreal:
1). The port area and old city offer many attractive restaurants. These establishments primarily cater to tourists.
2). Venture out to other neighborhoods away from Rue St. Catherine via subway. Their underground system is clean, affordable and efficient.
3). Meet some locals and ask them where to dine. The Québécois are very friendly and love to share their insider knowledge.
4). Avoid poutine. That is, unless you absolutely need a fix of french fries, gravy, cheese, and whatever else a restaurant wants to add to this dish.
5). Chasse Galerie is currently offering a new weekend brunch menu.
Restaurant Chasse Galerie
4110 St-Denis Street
Montreal, Quebec, Canada