Diva #1, Bellatrix, Sweet Pea and Vegan Vixen were invited to Bier Markt for Whitey’s hubby’s birthday. Diva #1 was intrigued to try it out, although she has to confess, she is not a fan of beer or what they call, bier. That being said, she was interested in the food, which was described as upscale brasserie food. The restaurant is a chain which made us all apprehensive but it had a decent reputation. Their shtick is that they match their menu items with beer from all over the world, so each food item has a little number next to it that corresponds to their beer menu. Interesting concept, but sadly since the Divas don’t like beer, we didn’t try out this feature of the restaurant. But we won’t be back anyway…
We went all lady-like and stuck to wine and then Bloody Caesars when we felt like something stronger later in the night. Bellatrix chose a bottle from the Côtes-du-Rhône that she was familiar with and it was decent. We were a group of twelve; the restaurant is fairly large, but it was not packed, so this was not an issue. Bier Markt had some interesting items that we were intrigued to try including a lager cheese fondue, but we had been forewarned by a friend of Whitey’s that we should avoid it. Another option was the variety of different mussels made in different ways, but we ordered too much food to add in the mussels.
We started with the cheese platter; they offer a different number of cheeses for different prices. Their variety wasn’t too bad but lacking in some soft cheeses. We ordered the Stilton that was delicious, a four year old aged cheddar that wasn’t too bad but lacked some punch, the paillot de chèvre that was very enjoyable, La Sauvagine and Bleubry. The Bleubry was decent but it didn’t wow us, we were a bit aggravated because we were assured that we only had one blue cheese on our platter but when the cheese plate arrived we had two. We aren’t sure where the error was made but Whitey doesn’t like blue cheese so we didn’t want her to avoid 2 out of the 5 cheeses. We aren’t sure if the kitchen gave us the wrong cheese or our waitress made an error but Whitey said she didn’t mind so we didn’t tell our waitress. The cheese came on a large wooden cutting board with an apricot compote and grilled bread, and we enjoyed it, although one of the blue cheeses wasn’t a favourite.
We also ordered the charcuterie plate; once again, depending on the size of the platter, you could choose how many types of cured meat you wanted We opted for the flavoursome rosette de lyon, saucisson sec which was delicious, Serrano ham which was good, capiccola au poivre which was Diva #1’s favourite, and the tasty Scotstown Maple Pancetta which wasn’t too sweet. This platter was supposed to come with Markt pickles but we never got any; in terms of house mustards we got one mustard and none of the compotes du jour. Unless the compotes were steamed tasteless vegetables that were more of a punishment than a side dish, they came to our table and after one bite we looked at each other aghast. The Divas hate it when a menu lists items in a dish that are either unapparent in flavour or are never added at all. More grilled bread was served and though the cured meats were good and plentiful, they should have added some interesting adornments, especially because what was listed in their menu was different than what we got.
We also ordered the Brasserie Burger Bites which are the same as sliders. Three chargrilled sliders with gruyère cheese, a Granny Smith apple compote which was yummy and should have been served with the charcuterie plate, and smoked bacon. Though we didn’t taste the bacon, these sliders were good and a nice addition to our night of appetizers. At this point things began to go downhill because they made the horrible mistake of bringing out all the appetizers at the same time. If a table only orders appetizers, chances are we would like them gradually.
At this point we were on the edge because of the very screechy cover band with a singer whose voice can only be compared to a cat in heat. We did our best to ignore it but after awhile we all started going outside for cigarette breaks, and only one of us smokes…
But let’s not even discuss the fact that we would LIKE to have received our appetizers slowly so that we don’t have to scarf everything down before it gets cold, BUT more importantly there was no room on the table. Sweet Pea at one point was holding a dish while we ate from it because there was no room to put it down. We tried emptying dishes into each other to make room, for example, dumping the cheese with the charcuterie but then our waitress never returned to take away the empty dishes that we were holding in the air for her. It was awful!
The smoked meat poutine was standard. The smoked meat itself was really good but the poutine underneath was nothing special and we had expected better than your run of the mill fast food poutine, maybe with a tastier gravy or more curds? Vegan Vixen was on her way so that made everyone cheerful, but sadly she arrived at the end of the night when Diva #1 was unstable because of the service at Bier Markt.
The Kusshi oysters arrived, top grade BC oysters, but Diva #1 right away noticed something that aggravated her deeply. The oysters had none of their delicious sea water in their half shell surrounding the meaty plump center. They were bone dry; this can be attributed to an inexperienced oyster shucker who either spilt the liquid while trying to open these delightful little creatures or simply discarded the salty liquid. This left the oysters a bit dry and lacking in luster. Diva #1 is not a professional oyster shucker but this never happens when she shucks oysters!
This is upsetting because for 36$ a dozen, those better be damn good oysters and they were clearly shucked by someone who didn’t know what they were doing. The red wine and shallot vinaigrette was missing shallots, it was simply red wine, and the sweet yellow pepper vinaigrette was bland. The spicy red pepper vinaigrette was the best of their vinaigrettes, but good ol’ Tabasco is still better. They horrifically forgot to bring us lemon wedges and when we asked our waitress, she never returned with them. Oysters without lemon… ummmm…NEVER. The fresh horseradish was the best topping, simple and uncomplicated, but without lemon this too was just decent.
Whitey ordered the smoked meat Belgian flatbread which was really tasty and a huge portion for the price. House smoked beef brisket with a sweet and smoky mustard, slaw, Emmental cheese and garlic topped this flatbread. It was better than we had thought and that was a plus in a night that was slightly disappointing and soon became awful. At this point it was midnight, and as we have said many times, the Divas don’t usually comment on service unless it is exceptionally wonderful or unusually atrocious. We had been at Bier Markt since 8, we had to beg and chase our waitress to pickup our plates, go to the bar to order more cocktails because she never came to see us at our table, and though one guy asked for part of his food to go, it was tossed and he never got it back in a doggy bag.
Though we were testy, we smiled and sang Happy Birthday when the chocolate mousse cake arrived for Whitey’s Hubby’s birthday. Valrhona chocolate cake, espresso cream that was very potent and lots of chocolate mousse made for a tasty dessert. People started leaving and we asked for our bills… Bellatrix, Sweet Pea and Diva #1 were splitting a bill, with Whitey coming in on the Charcuterie and Cheese platters. We had already asked for the bill at 12 but when everyone started leaving we reminded our dear waitress that we were still waiting. First they charged Whitey just for her flatbread and cocktails, forgetting to count her in on the charcuterie and cheese platters until they brought us a separate bill for her later; fine, she randomly had two bills but we dealt with that. What we couldn’t deal with was how we asked for the bills at midnight and only left Bier Markt at 1:00am. Some restaurants don’t like splitting bills, that’s fine, but tell us beforehand because we had told our waitress from when we ordered that we wanted to split our bill.
At one point we threatened to leave without paying if we didn’t get our bills. And when they finally came, though they were not equally split, we all had different denominations and by large amounts. Our waitress got the manager because she said that she was confused. We waited some more, until no one was left at this party except us. The manager just apologized that it was busy, although we had been there from 8 pm to 1 am and the restaurant started at three quarters full and was only half full at this point. Not only that, but we explained to the manager that we were ignored all night and we had to beg to order drinks, and the food had come all at once with no room at our table. We could have sighed and ignored all that but waiting for one hour for the bill when no one was left at the party and then being given incorrect bills… come on? None of us left a tip and it was a shame since the bill was high because we had drank a lot, but the manager didn’t even seem apologetic nor did he try to offer us something.
WE HAVE NEVER NOT LEFT A TIP IN OUR LIVES! To make matters worse, Diva #1 still ended up paying more than everyone but she was too fed up to care and just left. Only the girl in the front was very sympathetic and saw us searching for our waitress multiple times throughout the night. Without a doubt, it could have been rated as a Meh! but Bier Markt’s service brought it over the edge and without question, it is a Never on Thursdays. And in almost two years of blogging, we have only given this esteemed rating once before.
Our Rating: Never on Thursdays
Tagged: 1221 Boul. Rene Levesque Ouest, Bar, Bavarian Pretzels, Beer, Belgian Flatbread, Bier Makt Montreal, Bier Markt, Bier Markt Boul. Rene Levesque Ouest, Bier Markt Downtown Montreal, Bier Markt Golden Square Mile, Brasserie, Burger, Burger Bites, Charcuterie, Charcuterie & Cheese, Cheese, Cheese & Lager Fondue, Chicken Liver Potted Mousse, Chicken Wings, Cocktails, Dessert, Downtown, Downtown Montreal, Eastern European, Flammekueches, Fondue, golden square mile, H3G 1T1, Kusshi Oysters, Markt Wings, Michael Cipollo, Montreal, Montreal Restaurant, Mussels, Never on Thursdays, oysters, Pork Shanks, Réné Levesque, Reservations Needed, Rib Steak, Rosette de Lyon, Sausage, Schnitzel, Sliders, Smoked Meat Poutine, Sports Bar, Whole Roasted Pig, wine