The Divas have been meaning to go to Gaspar for some time. When we decided to have a little gathering on the Thursday before Christmas we ended up at Gaspar Tavern in Old Montreal. Calvin had recommended Gaspar as a great burger place and we had recently found out that they had a blues-rock night on Thursday nights, and the Divas absolutely love blues music. Combine that with their advertised 2$ oysters on Thursdays and it made for the perfect recipe of fun. So the Divas, Bellatrix, Zeus, Vegan Vixen and a new Thursday night victim, our friend the Artist, made our way to Gaspar.
Gaspar is loud, more tavern-like than other restaurants that we frequent but it is still quiet enough to have a conversation in a relaxed atmosphere. It boasts a large bar, friendly staff and a great cocktail menu heavy on the whiskeys and scotches. On Thursdays (our favourite day of the week), they even have a cocktail menu of specialty drinks made with Jack Daniels, 6$ pints of house beer, 7$ cocktails and a special 29$ three course table d’hôte meal.
The Artist had been to Gaspar before and she can often be found roaming around Old Montreal drinking and eating. She walked into Gaspar and knew right away that she wanted the cod fritters as an appetizer. Crunchy and delicious, this appetizer is perfect to enjoy with a drink and we were soon stealing the Artist’s fritters.
Diva #2 ordered the lobster sliders, another Gaspar specialty. The mini lobster rolls were filled with delicious lemony lobster but the bread was a little tough. Thankfully the lobster was tender, and was not slathered in mayonnaise. We hate a lousy lobster roll soaked in mayonnaise with no flavour. The appetizer was filling and served with homemade chips which were a great addition to the lobster sliders.
Diva #1 loves a good piece of bone marrow and could not resist the tempting combination of an onion soup with bone marrow. Many people had recommended Gaspar’s onion soup and the Divas were not disappointed. The onions were sweet, the cheese flavourful and plentiful, and the bread croutons were not soggy and they soaked up the delicious broth. This wonderful soup topped with a generous piece of bone marrow was scrumptious. I mean there is never enough bone marrow, we always want more, but it was a generous amount.
At Gaspar Tavern the beef tartare has a twist; it is served with a poached quail egg as opposed to the usual raw egg. This added extra flavour and it made a classic like the beef tartare a little more interesting. Lately the Divas have been avoiding beef tartare at restaurants that are not French. I mean, why disappoint ourselves with mediocrity? When Bellatrix ordered the tartare we were skeptical, but we were not dissatisfied when it arrived at the table and we tasted it with the addition of the poached quail egg.
Of course Vegan Vixen had to continue her exhausting façade and order a vegetarian dish. Had the Divas been paying attention, we would have chastised her but she was safely nestled next to the Artist who is much more accommodating of her dietary habits. That being said, the Divas love truffle oil, we would bathe in it if we could, and the dish provided a tasty amount. Often, when menus do not specify the type of mushroom, you end up with the old button mushroom, and the Divas are well versed in the art of menu writing. Even though the mushrooms were not of the wild variety, it was a tasty dish that Vegan Vixen enjoyed with its generous shards of Parmigiano.
We knew that we wanted the popcorn sweetbreads when we saw it on the menu. Deep fried but still flavourful, the Divas and Zeus devoured this appetizer that most of our friends simply scoffed at. Well, to be honest, Diva #2 never got any because the appetizer was between Diva #1 and Zeus and every time Zeus handed Diva #1 a forkful for Diva #2, she ate it. More people need to try sweetbreads; they don’t know what they are missing.
Since Gaspar Tavern has a special Thursday menu of 2$ oysters, it only made sense that we order them. They were served with the usual lemon wedges and onion vinaigrette, and we were soon ordering another dozen. Unfortunately, the menu did not specify which oysters were available, and our waiter did not know but they were delicious nonetheless. The Divas are proud to say that Vegan Vixen lost her oyster virginity that night! The Divas love destroying a few virgins on Thursday nights.
Diva #2 ordered the pan-seared scallops with pork belly and lentils as a main. It was an original combination but the scallops did not particularly stand out, especially compared to other places that we have visited. Nonetheless, it was an original dish that had a certain flair to it. The scallops were cooked well, the dish presented itself nicely and the lentils were not overcooked and served with thin French green beans.
Diva #1 rarely opts for the burger on a Thursday night when she is all dolled up. Somehow, licking BBQ sauce off of your fingers is not the embodiment of class. Unfortunately, once she saw the BBQ Bourbon Bacon Burger and all of its condiments, she couldn’t pretend to be a lady, it was just out of the question. She was soon licking her fingers and enjoying the bourbon sauce and the crispy onion ring in the center of the burger. We didn’t know what Dro Blando cheese was but it was some great cheese that complimented the char-grilled flavour of the burger. Our only complaint was that the fries were too salty, almost inedible.
Bellatrix ordered the mac n’ cheese with smoked bacon and sweet peas. She generally loves mac n’ cheese and coupled with the smokey taste of bacon she just could not resist. The peas added a different taste to the delicious dish. It was not one of the best mac n’ cheeses that the Divas have tried (we are sort-of experts in the field of mac n’ cheese) but it was cheesy and rich. Bellatrix was content; therefore, no one at Gaspar suffered at her hands.
Vegan Vixen continued her usual trend and chose to respect the animals in the world and ordered the mussels with white wine and herbs. They were excellent, as expected, and the sauce was divine. Even the fries they were served with were less salty than the burger’s fries and she enjoyed her animal friendly meal. Hopefully scientists do not discover that mussels have feelings or she will be further limited much to the Divas’ chagrin.
Full from our meal, and the many cocktails and shots, we were trying to relax until it was time to go home. We were too full for dessert but we unfortunately saw pudding chomeur on the menu and we never stood a chance. This was one of the best pudding chomeur’s that we had ever had, it was good and creamy, and served with lovely vanilla ice cream. Calvin had warned us that it was delicious and he was right and appropriately smug about it when we told him.
The Divas were happy, the music was wonderful, the atmosphere festive and the drinks just kept on flowing. We must return for the summer where they have a big terrace overlooking the water on de la Commune. Gaspar Tavern is the perfect place to enjoy a fun meal, some cocktails, listen to music and have a wonderful night. And they respect the sanctity of Thursdays
Tagged: Amuse Bouches, Bar, BBQ, Blues, Bone Marrow, Bourbon, Burger, Cocktails, de la Commune, Gaspar, Hamburger, Lobster Sliders, Mac n' Cheese, Montreal, Mussels, Old Montreal, Onion Soup, oysters, Pudding Chômeur, Splendid, Sweetbreads, Tartare, Tavern, terrace, Thursday, Whiskey