It’s not often enough when Zeus accompanies the Divas to dinner but when he does, it’s always a fun night. If Zeus is there we know that were will be copious amounts of food, cocktails and a constant flow of shots that he has even named after us. Midday at work, after looking at Grinder’s menu online, Zeus was in a playful mood and suggested that we try the entire raw menu at dinner. We like raw so we were all for his idea! The Divas decided that Sweet Pea would be excited as well; she doesn’t work with us so she often gets decisions made for her.
Arriving at Grinder in the Southwest borough of Montreal on Notre-Dame, the Divas, Zeus and Sweet Pea were led to their table at the back of the restaurant. We were sure this was the best table in the house, despite not being near any of the large windows. We sat across the centered bar, right in front of the open kitchen, complete with surgical lights, and a hunk of meat just sitting there on a plate, tempting us! Diva #1 had to control Diva #2 who was going to reach over and take a bite, she loves her meat.
We had a helpful male waiter, which was much to Zeus’ chagrin since he prefers lady waitresses… Zeus is a womanizing Greek! But the waiter won him over later in the night with a complimentary shot. Zeus had his usual glass of Scotch while we opted for a mojito, which was great, The Last Word, made with gin, chartreuse, Maraschino Luxardo and lime, a drink which definitely packs a punch, and the Capri, made with Limoncello, gin, orange, soda, citron and bitters, very refreshing. We were soon drinking multiple cocktails and getting chatty. Poor Zeus, he is always surrounded by frisky women…some with roaming hands.
Following Zeus’ suggestion, we ordered the entire raw menu, save for one item; we didn’t want to look overly gluttonous! We are ladies of course. The waiter looked surprised, saying it’s not often that people walk in and are willing to try one side of the menu. He told us he would bring out the food in groups; carpaccios, tatakis, and tartares. He later brought over the manager and we were told “so you’re the group who ordered the entire raw menu.” We just always manage to draw attention to ourselves and are horrible at being discrete bloggers.
Our first plates arrived and we dug in as soon as our waiter was done explaining each one. The Beef Carpaccio was an interesting combination. Chefs use sage less often then they should so we were glad to see this spice on a carpaccio. It is a delicious spice that in this case really complimented the beef. Diva #1 loves béarnaise sauce so this was a winner from the beginning. Hard to go wrong with those combined flavours.
The bison carpaccio was very good. It was thinly sliced and melted in your mouth. The harissa mayo was a tad overpowering and the potato straw fries were a little too salty but an overall interesting combination.
We love tuna tartare so the tuna tataki was a must. Deliciously combined with the sweet red peppers, this is a dish that must be ordered if you are planning to go to Grinder.
The tuna was amazing! The tomato sauce, red peppers and the Espelette pepper powder give it a nice Basque flare! Like its sister restaurant Le Hachoir, Grinder slices their carpaccios and tatakis, and grinds their tartare very well. Staying true to its name each raw dish was meaty and tender without being too chunky.
The beef tataki had an original combination of flavours with Manchego cheese, arugula mousse and pickled carrots. The carrots added a nice crunch to the soft meat which had a good thickness to it. Sometimes, when there are too many ingredients on one dish, some will get lost, which was the case with the arugula mousse. Though a strong flavour, we don’t remember it being integral and we did not really taste the juniper oils. Sometimes menu descriptions are too wordy and you are waiting for tastes that you never get.
More plates arrived and this time, we tried the sea bream carpaccio, a first for us, and we were left happy. Unfortunately the mandarin sorbet didn’t really stand out. But the green olives were a great touch and it was very light! We had our first of two scallop tartare dishes and they were delicious, even though we prefer cooked scallops. They were peppery and meaty-tasting and the homemade bacon bits added some nice texture to the silky scallops that were topped with hummus.
Now that we were done with half the raw menu, the second half was next, the tartares, a Diva favourite!
As you know, we like to think of ourselves as experienced in the realm of tartare. And we can honestly say that the selection is definitely interesting and near the top of our list but so far no one has beaten our favourite Montreal tartare restaurant on Prince Arthur. Served on a wooden board complete with rice crackers and crispy pieces of baguette, the tartares were full of flavour and provided new and interesting combinations. At Grinder, you also have the option of ordering most of the tartares as appetizers or main meals.
The beef tartare was not our favourite, though the fried capers and Parmesan were interesting. And if you’re not feeling adventurous, go ahead and order this as it was well-balanced and a classic way of serving beef tartare.
There were two salmon tartares on the board, the G and the H. Both were good, however, we preferred the salmon H since the G didn’t really have that much of a salmon flavour, though it was very creamy on the palate. We only wish the marrow had stood out more since we love bone marrow! The salmon H had an avocado purée, cilantro and lime, with a kick from the Tabasco. It was a seafood guacamole that was delightful.
The bison tartare had a lot of promise and tasted great, especially with the caramelized onions, but the promise of figs and mushrooms left us wondering where these flavours were. The duck tartare was one of our favourites, tossed in a roasted walnut oil which was amazing and the ginger was thankfully not too strong.
The scallops were very refreshing and a nice change from the meats we are used to having as a tartare. The avocado and citrus was an amazing combination that we have had elsewhere and always loved. We are usually critical of scallop tartares that are easily overpowered with what they are tossed with but Grinder did them well.
For some reason we drew the line at the striped bass tartare; that’s right, we ordered the entire raw menu except one dish.
After all that, we did order a couple of side dishes. The French fries with mayo were mysteriously addictive and the Potatoes Aligot is something you must order. Those mashed potatoes were addictive. We devoured the plate and are almost certain that Zeus never got a forkful!
Of course, since we only ate the raw side of the menu, there was room for dessert. But before trying the decadent sounding ‘Chocolat, Chocolat, Chocolat’, our waiter brought us a round of coffee shots. Our last shots out of the way, we were eager to try the dessert that is similar to that of Le Hachoir, its sister restaurant. The brownie was very dense and was nicely offset by the ice cream, which was missing the marshmallow elements of the ice cream at Le Hachour. The truffle of 70% dark chocolate was rich and satisfying and the crème brulée was to die for. We had had this dessert made with a different ice cream at Le Hachoir and we liked it better there but either way it was delicious and the perfect end to our meal.
This restaurant has a great vibe, great cocktails and great food. Associated with Le Hachoir, which the Divas also loved, it’s definitely a good trendy night out. And the Divas already have plans to go back and this time around, we’ll be ordering the cooked dishes that looked great like the Waygu burger, the beef short ribs and the beef onglet. We just hope Zeus comes more often in his playful mood.
Our Rating: Splendid
Tagged: 1708 Notre-Dame, Beef Onglet, Beef Short Ribs, Bison, Bison Tartare, Burger Wagyu, Carpaccio, Cocktails, Duck Tartare, Griffintown, Griffintown Restaurants, Grinder, Grinder Montreal, Grinder Notre-Dame, Grinder Viandes & Vins, H3J 1M3, Le Hachoir, Little Burgundy, Mashed Potatoes, Meat, Montreal, Montreal Food, Montreal RestaurantBar, Notre-Dame, Raw, Salmon G, Salmon H, Scallops, Scallops Tartare, Sea Bream, Sea Bream Carpaccio, Splendid, Stripped Bass, Tartares, Tatakis, Veal Chop, Viandes et Vin, Waygu Burger, wine, Wine Bar