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Bits and Bites

Bits and Bites

Maison India Curry: Like home, only better
Photo: Joseph Yarmush

(3961 St-Laurent, 514-845-3509)

Montreal’s premiere steakhouse since 1938, and it shows no sign of losing its hefty reputation. Each table starts with a basketful of fresh bread – kimmel, pumpernickel and baguette – accompanied by big bowls of vinegary coleslaw and sour pickles, both made in-house, and now available in grocery stores all over town. The chopped liver and onions is a great starter, but ordering it will most probably result in a doggy bag full of superb shish kebab. The French fries are fantastic, but most opt for the famous Monte Carlo, a baked potato that is emptied out, seasoned, and then stuffed back into the skin. Bring your appetite and your wallet – the prices are high, but the portions are more than generous. 4/5 (Peter Horowitz)

Maison India Curry
(996 Jean-Talon W., 514-273-0004)

Nestled in Montreal’s Little India, otherwise known as Parc Extension, Maison India Curry works hard to distinguish itself from the pack of over a dozen Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan eating establishments. The standard thali plate ($5 veg or $6 non-veg) is a bargain and includes basmati rice, nan bread and a chapati along with the regular thali selections (chick peas, lentils, butter chicken, paneer). The menu is thorough and reasonable enough to encourage trying unfamiliar dishes, such as the chana samosas or the bhel puri, a specialty of Bombay made from puffed rice, lentils, chopped onions and coriander chutney. 3/5 (Peter Horowitz)

Plus que Parfait
(60 Fairmount W., 514-779-7220)

Who eats gelato in winter? Exactly. And so the cheery gelateria that’s a sesame seed flick from Fairmount Bagels is offering soups and sandwiches for the cooler seasons (open 11 to 4, Monday to Saturday). Upon finishing a bowl of their matzo ball soup, one older fellow ordered a second, saying "you just can’t get soup like this anymore." Broths are all natural, made from scratch, and the Singaporean laksa with coconut milk, noodles and a hard-boiled quail egg is a spicy treat indeed. Vegetarians needn’t feel left out with the vegetarian chili, house sub with Vietnamese leanings, or Mediterranean sandwich with marinated veggies. Sandwiches are made on the spot, so call ahead to place your order. As business picks up, they hope to offer delivery. 4/5 (Maeve Haldane)

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  • by Genia Chepurniy - December 7, 2006, 10:42 am

    living not too far from parc extension, we often run up that way for great curry… our problem always remains the same though… which one to go to this time???… competition is severe indeed… but there’s never a lack of clientel, as they are usually all packed… by far the best samosas and palek paneer are at ‘bombay mahal’ on jean talon and birnam (closer to l’acadie)…
    i’ve always wondered what happens to ice cream shops when winter comes along… glad to hear that they aren’t hibernating for the coming months, but are serving up something warm and new… shall check it out.

  • by Melissa Killborn - December 7, 2006, 2:59 pm

    Tasty food, reasonable prices, and for some, a new discovery or two. What more could anyone want? The Maison India Curry seems like a dream for someone who would like to try something different, but who is hesitant (at the bargain prices, there is no excuse not to experiment). But it does all sound really delicious. Plus que Parfait has the matzo ball soup with the home made broth I would love to try. These places sound like something nice to explore on a cold snowy Sunday, where all you need is something warm to hit the spot. Thanks for including the vegetarian friendly options.

  • by Helga Ganguly - December 7, 2006, 3:38 pm

    For those of us who REALLY know Indian food-and that would be me,all I can tell from this review is that the menu provides all the starches a starving person could want. Basmati rice -was it a pulao or plain? Naan-the usual leather or was it gently made with egg and yogurt? Chappatti? Ok-way too much bread for most people but were these good quality? Fresh? Great and fully puffed with no burn spots? Come on. A little more detail. Are puris and parathai available? As for the thali selections,you named,for the most part,ingredients,not dishes. Chick peas. Hmmm. Did you mean Kabli Channa? or was it chole-in which case,I have to ask,any bathura on the menu? Lentils. By this,I suppose you mean dal. There are literally 100′s of dal and 1,000′s of preparations. Now I can’t imagine anyone serving chole and dal on the same thali. It’s just not done. Butter chicken is some British Raj concoction ,fine. But paneer? That’s home made cheese. You bring a gallon of milk to boil ,add a cutting agent,strain the result and let hang for a few hours. Then you mix this lovely creamy white result with sugar for a desert like the Bengali sandesh,or you cut it into cubes and deep fry it and add it to peas or spinach for Mattar Paneer or palak paneer. I cook Indian food on a daily basis. Never have I served a thali with chole,dal,chicken,and paneer. The typical thali would include some dal,rice or pulao, 2 breads if you desire (more a north Indian inclination) a vegetable dish or sabzi, some pickle, chutney,maybe some pakoras (vegetables in a chick pea batter,deep fried),and a sweet. In most restaurants of ordinary standards,that would be Gulab Jamon or kheer.
    In the restaurant where I last dined,the lunch buffet was $7.99. It included,pulau,plain rice,chicken curry,fish curry,sabzi,lamb,pakoras,okra,tandoori chicken,sweetened yogurt,and fresh melon.
    If you were trying to drum up business for this place- please do them the favor of giving the correct details.

  • by Selena Lobo - December 7, 2006, 9:15 pm

    If you are looking for steak, Moishe’s is one place you can’t go wrong. The food is excellent and the portions are massive but the only thing is it can break the bank. On the other hand, if you are looking for cheap eats that are delicious and well priced, head over to Maison Indian Curry to sample a variety of Indian dishes. At these prices how can you go wrong.

  • by Ronny Pangia - December 8, 2006, 1:36 am

    When it comes down to some of the most well-known restaurants, Moishe’s ranks up there amongst the most popular eateries alongside Schwartz’s and Café Santropol. It’s one of those old school institutitions where jacket is required and time is at a standstill. Whether it’s 1938 or 2006, the quality of their steaks is synonymous with their name. There’s also lots of history as well as the coat check guy Jonas Tekie who was known for never giving a receipt knowing by identifying the coat with a person’s face. Now that’s service…

  • by Rob Postuma - December 9, 2006, 12:02 am

    Me & my girlfriend always went to this other indian restaurant in the area, and never gave Maison Indian Curry a try, somehow it didn’t look “exotic” enough to be truly good. One night, for whatever reason, we decided to give it a try, and we got hooked. Don’t be fooled by the fairly non-descript look to the place, what it lacks in decor, it makes up for in tasty food. The selection is quite large, particularily for what seems a small restaurant, and is not only very tasty & good quality, but also quite inexpensive. The owners & staff, are friendly and take great joy in helping the un-initiated, get into the experience of ordering & enjoying a really good indian dinner. Several times I have seen, people of indian descent, telling the owners that the meal they ate, was the best of that dish that they ever had. I highly recommend it.

  • by Reuven De Souza - December 11, 2006, 12:38 pm

    I could not agree more with Helgas comments on the review. while i undersatnd that it was all too brief to really provide details it seems as though unlike a well known establishment like moishes that the reviewer is doing the public a disservice by not getting into greater detail. Although that said it was enough to get me to go and try the restaurant. By the way the food is actually quite good and worth the effort of going out of your way.

  • by Mark St Pierre - December 11, 2006, 10:17 pm

    I always used to wonder why so many ice-cream joints would just board up for winter and hibernate until the following summer. I mean aren’t they still paying the rent while the premises lay idle? I think it’s admirable that Plus que Parfait decided to buck this trend by re-inventing themselves during these frigid winter months by offering hearty, tummy-warming lunch fare…just wondering if they’re still willing to indulge my gelato craving in the dead of winter?

  • by Manuel Urbanski - December 12, 2006, 4:31 am

    Wow, I’m thinking food critics’s only goal in their reviews is to make you salivate and hungry all while describing the current restaurant as the greatest thing to entice you to go over there. The whole act of describing restaurants, the ambiance and the food really contributes to that, and it’s just sometimes completely irrelevent of how the restauranct actually is.
    Moishe’s definitely is great, I’ve been there a few times, but whether it warrants it’s expensive prices I’m not sure. And although I can’t speak for Plus que Parfait’s soups, they have some amazing gelato in the summer.

  • by Meghna Patel - December 19, 2006, 7:11 pm

    I was just at this restaurant yesterday for the first time. Luckily, I was in the area, and looking for a place to eat, and all the regular Indian resto spots are closed on Mondays. I wouldn’t have checked this place out if my usual dining areas were open. Overall, the butter chicken was surprisingly well (better than 1 of the 2 spots I frequent), the naan was surprisingly soft, and the shrimps in the biryani were a large amount.
    I think this will actually replace one of my 2 regular Indian restaurants in Parc Ex. I was pleased overall by the service, the amount of napkins (always great to have loads of napkins when having Indian), and the soft, fluffy naan. Cheap food too, and a nice place to eat. I did notice the dosas on the menu, as well as the idli sambhar, and I think I will try that the next time around.

  • by Michael Levine - January 29, 2007, 6:28 pm

    Moishe’s Montreal’s premiere steakhouse since 1938 with out a doubt a Montreal institution the Steaks are mouth watering and their potato verenkes with fried onions or their chopped liver with fried onions are by far the best you can find so if fine dining or a business dinner is what you crave Moishe’s is always a true blue choice with everything served to perfection. 5/5

  • by Martin Dansky - March 24, 2007, 6:51 pm

    What do I care what people think of eating an ice cream in the winter? I’ve just been conditioned like millions of others but go to Gioloittis in Rome or Plus Que Parfait in December will still satisfy those chocolate addicted taste buds. But here you can order a delicious plate of soup and take the ice cream for desert! Now Moshe’s is a bit pricy but with the servings and the way they treat clientelle, you’ll want to return for some more of their originally baked potatoes.

  • by Pedro Eggers - May 14, 2007, 12:58 pm

    Okay, seriously, why would you put anything next to Moishe’s in a food review? Might as well put in a bunch of scabs in there because Moishe’s just naturally going to grab the bulk of everyone’s attention. Not only is the place a proven commodity in this city but it has huge nostalgic value going for it. In a city that keeps losing landmark spots to gentrification Moishe’s is a natural go to place for one and all.

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