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Bits and Bites

Bits and Bites

Kouign Amann: Home of pastries so buttery they leak
Photo: Joseph Yarmush

L’Anecdote
(801 Rachel E., 514-526-7967)

My most recent burger at this please-all Plateau institution was a #4, a slightly gamey deer patty topped with goat cheese. But if you eschew fancy burgers of veal with curry sauce, or lamb with blue cheese, just go for the ever – and rightly – popular classic: beef with emmentallettucetomatomushrooms. Fries are good too, and it’s worth getting some flavoured mayo. For a side of virtue, their nicely dressed regular salads will do, as the chèvre chaud is too-sweetly drizzled with honey. And the chocolate cake to finish? Truly a great – decadent and smooth, with a dollop of whipped cream on the side. 4/5 (Maeve Haldane)

Kouign Amann
(322 Mont-Royal E., 514-845-8813)

The newish owners at this nook of a Plateau bakery concoct two kinds of the eponymous Kouign Amann, a Breton pastry that might as well be called "Just how much butter can we load between layers of dough anyway?" The answer: So much that it’s downright juicy. They also do a beautiful flaky buttery croissant, among the best in town, as well as a very decent almond croissant. If you’re seeking a lunch pick-me-up, try the ham and cheese version, a bit sweet with savoury ham slices, or a chorizo-zucchini mini pizza. Or go healthier with simple but robust panini, hearty slabs of quiche, and raspberry juice. Just go. Eat. Enjoy Montreal at its simplest and finest. 4/5 (Maeve Haldane)

Nouveau Palais
(281 Bernard W., 514-273-1180)

Sometimes when you’re just plain hungry, nothing hits the spot like gentrified North American grub: big gooey pizza, cheeseburgers and poutines, perhaps a BLT, or maybe a club sandwich. No soy-infused balsamic-foamed fennel-mustard curry reduction at this New Palace, no siree Bob! This is one of the few holdouts serving trend-free greasy breakfast specials. They have a liquor licence, and they’re open 24 hours a day, seven days a week – it’s a wonder they even have a lock on the door! The only thing holding back their fourth star is the owners’ avoidance of bottled ketchup – everyone hates those pesky ketchup packets. 3/5 (Peter Horowitz)

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  14 comments

  • by Charles Montpetit - April 12, 2007, 10:13 am

    Praising cheeseburgers and fries, salads that are “too-sweetly drizzled with honey,” “decadent” chocolate cakes with whipped cream, pastries that are so loaded with butter they’re “downright juicy,” a “big gooey pizza” and poutines? Then capping it off with a slam of soy curries and a call for ketchup bottles? Jeez, the anti-nutrition agenda of this column is really getting out of hand, and entrusting a food section to such critics is starting to sound like having Don Imus host a racial sensitivity forum. No wonder North Americans are woefully obese when these are the only choices that supposedly-progressive publications keep proffering. Thanks a lot, guys.

  • by Alison Naimar - April 12, 2007, 11:06 am

    L’anecdote is one of my favorite restaurants in the plateau. It has a nice laid back and playful atmosphere. It has reasonably priced and interesting fare, and is nice just for a light snack too. Very veggie friendly with its tofu dogs and salads.

  • by Reuven De Souza - April 13, 2007, 11:34 am

    I would humbly disagree with Mr. Montpetit here. While I am concerned that many of my favorite haunts have been advertised in the Bits and Bits column, I look forward to this section of the Food column. While there will always be room for reviews of those restaurants with the likes of David Macmillan, Martin Picard or Laurent Godbout, there ought to be for restaurants for those of us without a lot a money to blow on great cuisine. While I can certainly see the point about the diverting adjectives used in the review, they do their job. And well. I was reminded as to why I love the grub at L’Anecdote and Nouveau Palais. Comfort food and very reasonable prices for the masses. Sure it may not be all that healthy but then again who eats out bore than a couple of times a week anyhow. The last time I checked you can pretty much eat anything you want so long as it is moderation! As for the Mme. Haldane, I like her good reviews. Succinct and to the point…I mean that scoop of whipped cream on the side of the moist chocolate cake at L’Anecdote is so very true. Just like the no frills good eats at Nouveau Palais!

  • by Corie Jordan - April 13, 2007, 8:25 pm

    Though the Charles makes a good point, I feel the need to play devil’s advocate here. I must say that the sound of “big gooey pizza”, personally, makes my stomach turn. But again this is just my personal opinion. That doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t enjoy a good pizza every now and then. Yes, the reality is, too much indulgence in these foods has been the leading cause in obesity. The truth of the matter is we need to learn to practice moderation. Practicing moderation doesn’t take away the flavours or style of our favorite snacks, but the frequency in which we eat them. And that, to me, makes all the difference. Oh and sorry, but I must agree that packaged ketchup is annoying.

  • by Dimitri Spektor - April 13, 2007, 10:00 pm

    I was delighted to read about all that greasy and obesing meals. While everybody seems to care exponentially about their flourishing body parts, those places seem to be the perfect getaways for my ex-girlfriend and me. And no, we don’t look anything like guys you see sometimes in fast-food bistro near you, withholding from eating when you’re full, makes the trick for me. I wouldn’t mind trying some Hellman’s mayonnaise-chocolate cake in L’Anecdote as well…

  • by Martin Dansky - April 14, 2007, 3:33 pm

    Kouign has always meant butter for me from their variety of pastries to their savory quiches. They occasionally have a special on day old stuff that is still fresh and you would always appreciate seeing them work their almond dipped dough in the background. Their mini pizzas and hard-crusted breads would also go well with me. Anecdote can be appreciated for their lamb and and cheese toppings. There is a variety of vegi as well as meat meals.

  • by Genia Chepurniy - April 14, 2007, 4:43 pm

    le nouveau palais might look like a greasy dive, but really it’s not… it serves up great hardy breakfasts, the service is always attentive and quick, and where else can you get your poutine fix in the wee hours of the morning when everything else is closed??… besides, it’s absolutely reasonable in price… l’anecdote on the other hand, sounds a world apart from the nouveau palais …the menu sounds decadent indeed and highly tempting… shall definatley check it out…

  • by Stephanie Ein - April 14, 2007, 11:38 pm

    Though I never knew until now what “Kouign Amann” meant (I thought it might be a Middle-Eastern term) I know this delightful patisserie by its seductive aroma. On sunny days, winter or summer, while strolling along boulevard Mont-Royal, its tantalizing aura has often enticed me from afar. Let the Bad Carb Police whine all they like– Kouign’s apricot pastries are for fainting, and worth every last sticky calorie!

  • by Pedro Eggers - April 15, 2007, 4:38 pm

    Hey, notice that none of these reviews include a price tag attached? Just a rating but nothing to really indicate how much it’ll all end up costing you. Here’s a rule of thumb for you to keep in mind–a restaurant’s prices are often proportional to the neighborhood. This is the Plateau. You do the math, then bring a huge wad of cash because the only thing you’ll get for free here is the proverbial snooty attitude.

  • by Daudi Saidi - April 15, 2007, 4:46 pm

    Nice selections of bits and bites. I appreciate including opening hours in the review. I am glad to know that Nouveau Palais is open 24/7. There are so many nights (or mornings) afterhours when a list of 24hours eateries in Montreal could come handy. It would be nice to have such a list in your review in future.

  • by Meghna Patel - April 16, 2007, 11:50 am

    OK, so thanks to Hour, and after reading the review on le nouveau palais, i’m craving some greasy food right about now. I try to stay away from eating burgers and fries and all that greasy stuff, but this review, for some reason made me envision a juicy, fat burger with a load of fries on the side, and a big pickle. I’m glad to see this place is open 24/7 cause at 3am, when you’re dying for something that will hit the spot, a burger will definitely do.
    Guess I’m gonna have to head out this wknd and get that 3am craving as the perfect excuse for me to hit this spot.

  • by Joyce Stemkowsky - April 17, 2007, 10:14 am

    Maeve’s Bits and Bites is always a good read. Since I don’t get around the city too much to discover new eateries, this is a welcome column. I try to eat pretty healthy choices, but I still like to indulge in a greasy burger and fries from time to time. The first restaurant mentioned,
    L’Anedote seems to have quite a choice of gourmet burgers. My taste would lean more towards
    Nouveau Palais, which is conveniently open 24/7 to satisfy the hungry cravings of Montrealers at all hours of the day. I notice, however, there are no prices mentioned in any of these reviews. A ball park figure would have been nice to know what to expect.

  • by Jennifer Carriere - April 17, 2007, 1:51 pm

    I used to work near Nouveau Palais and the outside always scared me off from going in. This was a few years ago, mind you, but the dank and dingy exterior put me off from finding out what the inside held. It’s a shame really, but now that I know better, I’ll try to check it out when I’m in the area again.

  • by Ellen Reid - April 24, 2007, 11:35 pm

    The best place to get a morning snack on your way to work or wherever in the a.m. – they are a friendly bunch and their pastries are delicious! I can never decide between my staples: chausson aux pommes or a roulé aux raisins… The masterpiece Kouign Amann is too sweet for me in the morning, though I got through jackhammering a floor out with them last year. They have tasty sandwiches, breads and quiches too… dribble

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