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