Momesso is all about hockey and the subs
How many joints are there in town where you can get both fries with extra gravy and a really good espresso?
So far, I’ve only found one: Momesso, a sub-basement joint on Upper Lachine, where my stickhandling bud goes with his hockey team after a good game.
The unpretentious diner is steeped in hockey. It was opened by Alex Momesso 30 years ago, the man that also spawned Sergio Momesso, who spent a few seasons as left wing with our favourite hockey team, the Montreal Canadiens (we won’t hold his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs against him). "He’s known as a goon," my hockey mole said about Sergio. A fighter. Now Momesso is owned by Sergio’s brother, Paul.
Sports trophies sit on shelves in the corners. Hockey posters adorn the walls. There’s a photo of a Stanley Cup parade taking over the streets of downtown Montreal, and another of Sergio with the Trophy itself.
The place attracts the kinds of guys who might have been knuckledusters themselves, once upon a time. Now they’re stout as autumn squirrels and quietly tucking into hot submarine sandwiches, enjoying their pints of Rickard’s Red. It was the weekend when I went, so there were a few families and young ‘uns sprinkled among the regulars.
Cook Lino Lorenzon tells me that the sausage submarine is the most popular choice (and his personal favourite) thanks to the combination of ingredients and special sausage. Where does the magic meat come from? "We have a butcher that makes it for us since we opened. We’re loyal to the guy," Lino says.
A hoagie, po’boy, grinder, Italian hero or submarine by any other name is still an efficient food delivery system. It’s easier than a sandwich to stuff to the max and way more fun. Think of the submarine bun as a feedbag closed at the bottom, open on top.
Your sub can be crammed with slivers of steak, mildly spicy sausage, or tender chicken breast. Regular toppings include cooked onions and mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes and hot sauce (mayo and coleslaw in the chicken and sausage ones). "This is the place to order meat," said my friend who ordered the vegetarian version. I couldn’t decide between sausage and steak, so had both in the eminently satisfying "supreme" submarine.
The home-blended hot sauce is a bit like a jerk, and the exact recipe is guarded with the ferocity of an ace defenceman. Even the owner’s daughter, our server, doesn’t know the alchemy of the mix, but Lino lets it slip that it involves jalapeños and salted herbs.
If, for some bizarre reason, you don’t feel like a sub, there are small pizzas, fries, poutine and burgers. All the usual Italian soft drinks are here to wash the salt and grease down – Brio, San Pellegrino, as well as red or white wine and the aforementioned draft beer.
I finished up with an awfully good cappuccino, and the regular espresso is certainly better than what you’d find at those dubious chain coffee shops.
5562 Upper Lachine Road, 484-0005
Lunch for two, no tax, no tip: $10-$15 ($22 if you’ve a post-hockey-practice hunger)