Notre-Dame’s L’Assommoir is a casual-chic spot that fits right in with the Old Montreal environment. The second, smaller location, is in the Plateau on Bernard street, if you happen to be in the area. Montreal is great because there are a lot of places where you can roam around the city and still grab something very decent to eat late at night.L’Assomoire is perfect for a late night bite, however, there is one little caveat. The L’Assommoir on Bernard only lets you drink if you order food which is not necessarily a bad thing (we’ll get to some of their food items soon). But the restaurant would definitely fall into the category of a place you would go to just for a drink if you’re not in the mood to eat. That being said, they do have a great late night menu in which the prices are reduced on some items. It’s also worth mentioning that there is a section on their cocktail list which essentially gives you one and a half cocktails. Let’s explain. Your drink comes with an extra goblet with the rest of your drink.
We went out for Diva #1′s birthday and we opted to go for just appetizers and to skip the main dishes. We started with the artichoke and four cheese dip, which included Gouda, cream cheese, old cheddar and parmigiano. It was served with tortillas but there was nothing special about the presentation. And it was definitely not enough dip for four people either.
We chose 3 types of tartare and one ceviche. First, the crab tartare which can best be described as a crab cake before it gets deep fried. It had avocado and herbs and was a bit spicy and the sweetness of the crab really came through.
Next we had the duck tartare with foie gras and a duck confit topping it off. It was not too strong tasting and even if you’re not crazy about duck, which, is crazy in and of itself, you will like this dish and go back for multiple forkfuls! It is also served with French Fries which is a nice touch.
The spicy beef tartare was served with a quail egg. It was a classic French presentation and the egg added a level of richness to the dish. It was heavily marinated but it did not mask the taste of the beef itself. The one complaint about the tartare dishes is the crackers – they were hit and miss in terms of being fresh.
The salmon ceviche rounded out our choices and came with mango and plantain chips. Out of all the dishes, this was so-so. The mango was overpowering so the taste of the salmon didn’t really come through as much which was a disappointment. The plantain chips, however, were great. And if you like plantain chips, you should try their tasty bruschetta appetizer which comes with plantain chips.
And if you’re feeling up to it, try out their quesadillas, which is made with duck confit! This is a delicious dish and a perfect French and Mexican fusion. The prices are fair and their portions are well-sized so if you’re looking for a trendy place to grab drinks that are out of the ordinary and maybe a little snack on the side, this is the place for you, regardless of which location you choose.
We came back……
Diva#1 got hungry and returned to Assommoir with a few of her girlfriends in August. We started off with a table d’hôte soup, meaning that you will not find it on their typical menu but it is worth returning to the restaurant in hopes that it is there. The soup was a light cucumber melon soup served with a dollop of yogurt with mint. The mint was not too heavy or overpowering and the soup had just enough melon and cucumber. It was the perfect cold summer soup. The dish arrived with a prosciutto crisp which was difficult to break apart but delicious and not overcooked.
Four tartares were then ordered but two were the duck tartares and the spicy beef tartare that are discussed above. We also ordered a delicious tuna tartare served with grapefruit and avocado. This was a real treat! The grapefruit added sourness to the tuna tartare and the avocado a soft texture and sweetness. One complaint was that the grapefruit pieces were too big so you either enjoyed a huge piece of grapefruit or no grapefruit at all. Ideally the grapefruit should be cut in the same size as the tuna pieces. It was a delicious and light tartare that fused great flavors.
Our second tartare was the salmon tartare with green apples, mangos, coriander, pineapple and ginger. This tartare was much better than the salmon ceviche that we had at our last visit. I would have expected that this many flavours in one tartare dish would overpower the salmon making it OK at best. The taste of the salmon was still present and it made for a nice light summer tartare.
Then one of our friends decided to try something other than tartare and ordered the cooked salmon covered in two types of sesame seeds. It was a delicious plate and the divas tend to be picky about their cooked fish….although we tend to eat everything raw. But Assommoir tends to wow you with its tartare so we recommend ordering from that part of the menu when venturing to this restaurant.
Try a truly a fun night out, better yet, make it a Thursday.
Our Rating: Splendid