Everyone knows that Montreal is a hockey city, and not just any hockey team, but les Canadiens; the fans bleed red, white and blue! Les Canadiens’ logo is Montreal’s own rendition of the star-spangled banner. It seems appropriate that the largest restaurant in Canada, with a capacity for 1400 seats, would open near the Bell Centre, with a heavy emphasis on Les Canadiens. If you can’t make it to the game playing right next door, you watch it at 1909 Taverne Moderne. And if you’re lucky enough to be at a Bell Center game, then you grab a bite and beer at 1909 Taverme Moderne right before or after.
Located on Ave des Canadiens, 1909 Taverne Moderne has three floors filled with custom artwork, 65 TV screens; their largest TV screen measuring at 46ft x 20ft! They offer access to the Bell Centre on game nights and during other events through a side door connected to the venue, they boast a mussel bar, and a Nespresso coffee take-out window open from 7am to 1pm on weekdays.
Enough about the impressive space, let’s talk about the food! We started our media night with cocktails and small bites before sitting down to a plentiful tasting of their menu. The mini lobster and shrimp rolls were fresh and filled with plenty of sweet lobster and shrimp. They were lightly dressed, with a few slices of thin radish, and cucumber for crunch.
We sat down for our dinner which consisted of 10 dishes plus dessert! We started with the smoked salmon, served with a mint crème fraiche. The salmon had a great smoky flavour but it was a bit too fishy for our liking. The dill crème fraiche brightened it up, and the candied shallots added a little sweetness which was well balanced with the fried breadcrumbs.
We love a caprese salad but it’s a seasonal item that is perfection in the summer, but always disappointing in the winter. This was the case with the mozzarella and tomato salad at 1909 Taverne. The tomatoes had no flavour, as they are not in season, and for some reason, the cheese was grainy. The only thing we liked on the plate was the fried breadcrumbs which were salty and delicious. Fried food is always in season! LOL
The arancini was huge and could easily be enjoyed amongst 2 to 3 people sharing an appetizer. We loved the tomato sauce, it was full of flavour and not overly acidic. We broke open the arancini to reveal gooey, melted cheese and Bolognese sauce inside. Yes, it’s called an arancini à la Bolognese but we found there was too much of the bolognese sauce and not enough of the rice. And don’t get us started with the basil flavoured mayo on top of the arancini. Mayonnaise and tomato sauce do NOT belong together.
Everyone’s game time favourite appetizer is sure to please at 1909 Taverne. Their chicken wings are served with three different kinds of sauces: honey, buffalo, and Asian. We tried two of the three, the honey and the Asian. The honey wings were obviously on the sweeter side, and the skin was perfectly crispy. The Asian wings had a bit of a vinegary kick to them which we enjoyed. Buffalo wings are a classic and we’re sad that we missed out on them!
The ribs are massive so if you order this dish, be prepared for a lot of meat! The ribs are glazed in a BBQ sauce that is a little on the sweet side. The meat falls right off the bone, but don’t be afraid to get messy while eating these, it’s game night after all! 1909 Taverne also gives you wipes to clean your hands, we’re messy Divas we surely needed them.
The cavatelli were served simply in a tomato sauce. The cavatelli themselves were okay, though some were overcooked, nothing special stood out for us. We would choose to satisfy our pasta craving at an Italian restaurant and not on game night, game night is for wings and beer! This isn’t a dish that we would order again.
The lamb shank was served with creamy mashed potatoes that were surrounded by a delicious au jus sauce that included Dijon mustard. The lamb was cooked a little well done, we would have liked it a little pinker, but it was juicy and it pulled apart from the bone easily. It was served with a side of crisp green beans.
Maybe it was an off night but the mac n cheese fell short! It was tasteless and missing salt, there wasn’t very much cheese, and too much truffle oil. The best part of th emac n cheese was the breadcrumb topping. We’ll leave it at that! As always, the way to our heart is through oysters, and we tried both the Rockefeller oysters and raw oysters at 1909 Taverne Moderne.
We were served a whole rotisserie chicken which made up for the mac n cheese. The chicken skin was crispy and salty, we couldn’t get enough of it. The meat was still juicy and we loved that familiar rotisserie taste. The chicken was topped with onion rings which were a little too oily, and the batter was too thick. But they did pass the onion ring test because when we bit into one, the onion stayed in the ring!
We were served several desserts, the most popular being the giant cookie. This cookie was fudgy inside with crisp edges. It was served with marshmallows on top which had been slightly torched and drizzled with chocolate, which added more decadence.
1909 Taverne Moderne is definitely something to experience. If you’re a sports fan, you’ll love watching the Habs on the big screen and getting together with friends to watch the football games on Sundays. It will be interesting to see how this tavern fares once hockey season is over, but the restaurant does have specials in conjunction with other sports, as well as events at the Bell Centre. Their plans for the upcoming summer include a food truck and terrace. So, gather your friends, and head over for a bite and one of their 40 beers on tap!
Our Rating: As Expected
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