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Les Gourmets Pressés: Speed freaks

Speed freaks

Les Gourmets Pressés: Window sleek
Photo: Joseph Yarmush

Get your quick foodie fix at Les Gourmets Pressés

I’ve been lucky to have a gormandizer for an editor. Ever on the lookout for new spots, he’s my St-Henri mole. But when he mentioned a new sandwichy joint in his hood, I had no idea it’d be so, well, stylish.

Les Gourmets Pressés is for the fast-paced foodies who want good eats in a swish setting. A contender in this year’s Commerce Design Montreal Contest, the space is hip beyond its small size. Red, black, brick and steel are the themes, down to the red toilet. In the wee, but tall room, they’ve fit a couch, swivel stools and counter against the wall, and lots of tightly packed tables. And kudos for the funkiest mirror I’ve seen, a multi-tiered checkerboard of glass and wood.

You can read the menu on the chalkboard above the display case of drinks, wine, sandwiches, freshly baked muffins and cookies. Tantalizing Pacific blends like shrimp and green papaya salad or char-sui style barbeque pork sandwich jostle with goat cheese and roast veggies, grilled chicken, or gravlax. If I’d been in the mood for breakfast I could have chosen from poached eggs with a variety of accompaniments, fresh fruit salad with yogurt and house-blended muesli, or simpler croques monsieurs on ciabatta bread.

The special that day was veal lasagne, herbaceous and packed with veggies and ringed by a delicate coriander pesto. Seems a bit lonely on its own – best to upgrade to include soup or salad, their good filter coffee and dessert, as did my latte-lover companion ($4 more would have summoned a glass of wine, too). He consoled his hunger with a pleasant couscous and chickpea salad while I embarked upon a flavourful, rich carrot soup.

I’ll admit it. I often order salad to feel virtuous. Fortunately for my tastebuds, their duck confit salad is the kind that I’d roll in if I could. It was a veritable mound of greens, beautifully dressed with mustardy zip, topped with spears of cuke, scattered with toasted slivered almonds, and shreds of duck meat from their homemade confit. Did I mention the juicy gobbets of onion jam? The dusting of saffron? If I return soon, I’d have a hard time not ordering it again. (Secretly, resto reviewers are creatures of habit: Forever sampling the novel, they crave the reassurance of a tried-and-true dish.)

"This is the perfect dessert for me," my coffee-freak friend said of his espresso crème brûlée. It had the stand-up amount of the coffee flavour he craved, and was crusted above and creamy below.

It’s a relaxing space for those on the go. We looked out across the street at a crumbling wall with an old-time street sign on it, aware that Les Gourmets Pressés could be the harbinger of a changing habitat. I felt a pang of anticipatory nostalgia.

As we paid at the register, we could see beyond into the kitchen area. The cook was manhandling some hapless raw chicken. "What’s he doing?" I asked our ever-obliging server. Turns out he was prepping for a tandoori dish, to be served two days’ hence. That’s commitment.

Les Gourmets Pressés
3911 St-Jacques; 937-6555
Breakfast and lunch daily, supper Thursday to Saturday
Lunch for two, not including tax or tip: $15-$30

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  8 comments

  • by Annick Poulin - July 2, 2004, 11:51 am

    I’m happy that this week issue of Hour tells us about this restaurant because there is another Gourmets Pressés on St-Jacques just across the World Trade Centre in Old Montreal and I did not know if it was risky to have lunch there or what. This new Gourmets Pressés has opened a few months ago and I was not sure if it was any good because it didn’t seem to have any customers….Now that I know they serve nice dishes I’ll be happy to go in and add variety to my lunch break. From what I have read, it seems delicious. Can’t wait to try it. Well, I think I’m going to go over there right now since it is lunch time now….Bon appétit!

  • by Nathalie Verbruggen - July 2, 2004, 6:24 pm

    That article made me drool all over !!! I love to read people’s opinion of food and add a little delectable side to it :) slurrrp !!
    thanks again .. I shall be popping by this place quite soon!

  • by Carmela Sicurella - July 3, 2004, 6:47 pm

    This looks like an amazing restaurant to dine out and I would have never known about it if it weren’t for the Hour. The menu looks delicious and this restaurant has got it all from class to a delightful atmosphere. I will go with my family this month to the restaurant and I have to try out the lasagna that feels very watering. This place is so packed to the rafters that you need to make reservations in advance just to get a seat to eat and the Chef will prepare it for you two days in advance.

    Also to mention is that this restaurant is at a great location in the best tourist area, which is of course in old Montreal. So I hope that everyone goes to this restaurant and gives it a try because I’m sure going to love eating lunch at this restaurant.

  • by Joyce Stemkowsky - July 5, 2004, 10:32 am

    The price is right for me and the food seems to be well though of for the menu provided. We should have more eateries like this for the people on the go. I don’t like to savour my food when I’m in a hurry, I just want to get down to the business of eating and pay the bill. I’m sure this type of establishment will catch on soon with other restauranteurs. The lunch of the future? Who knows, but it is worth an experience.

  • by Pedro Eggers - July 13, 2004, 5:23 pm

    Sounds almost divine, don’t it?

    I’ll freely admit that this is not the sort of place I’d normally gravitate towards. Y’see I actually like to relish and savor my food and at these prices I feel a bit cheated.

    This is definitely a glowing review and anybody would be driven to go there based on the write-up alone but alas, not I.

    I won’t knock the review or the place but as slow burn eater this place just isn’t my thing.

  • by Selena Lobo - July 23, 2004, 9:03 pm

    A wonderful little place that must be discovered. A delightful menu that awakens your taste buds. The mix of flavours makes some of the dishes a fusion of tastes.

    In the sweltering heat of summer, a heavy meal is not what I am looking for so this place is just right since it offers light fare. A yummy sandwich and tasty salad is just right.

    In you are in the area stop by for a quick lunch and enjoy the varied menu. With many of us pressed for time at lunch this is quick place to pick up a great meal.

  • by Caroline Uetr - March 21, 2007, 4:28 pm

    I Totally agree with you, that’s definitely the place i’m used to eating every week. I already inscribed it in my personal favorites. Go ahead and try !!! It’s worth the extra $

  • by Manu Bidart - April 29, 2008, 5:26 pm

    Hi, everybody. I’m French and always have many things to complain about, especially the food. But for once, I have to admit that I found a really nice bistro to eat.
    Long life and good luck to the team of the Gourmets Pressés.

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