For some reason most of Diva #1’s friends and family are Taurus: Whitey, Sweet Pea, Vegan Vixen, Mr. Sheffield, Diva #1’s dad and her paternal grandparents. Whitey and Sweet Pea are even born on the same miraculous day. Whitey planned a 5 à 7 which of course always starts at seven and never ends before ten-ish… and we are being generous. It was a Tuesday night so we did our best to be contained; there are only so many days of the week that you can walk into work hung over, until people begin slyly suggesting AA. Lucky for us, the Divas work with so many of our friends that we are like a group of tumultuous alcoholics that have taken the concept of having drinks with coworkers to a whole new level.
It was pouring rain, the Habs playoff game was playing and it was a Tuesday night; Rufus Rockhead did not have a chance to fill up. We were seated at one of two tables that were taken but the game was on in the background and we compensated by being our usual loud selves. Rufus Rockhead is named after the area’s first legal bar owner, post prohibition, and is owned by Jeff Stinco of Simple Plan, who also owns Mangiafoco. A lot of people couldn’t come because of school, their jobs and other prior commitments but a bunch of Whitey’s friends came out to celebrate the wondrous day that she was born, amongst them was Diva #1, Bellatrix and White’s hubby. Who would have thought that Diva #1’s friend who fears committing to plans the most, is the only one who is married out of the gang!
We began with cocktails and later switched to wine. Diva #1 had a craving for Chartreuse so she ordered the Last Word and stuck to it for most of the night; it was delicious. This prohibition-era cocktail is gin based, which is the Divas’ favourite alcohol, and mixed with Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur and lime juice to make it sour. It is a pungent cocktail that was made well at Rufus Rockhead.
Rufus Rockhead is not predominantly a restaurant but a bar, or club on weekends, with pub comfort food bar snacks that are gourmet. Options that we didn’t order included a squash and smoked herring spaghetti, salmon gravlax salad, a potato salad and a goat cheese salad.
The chicken & waffles had received a lot of hype and it was happily delish! Pieces of fried chicken that weren’t too greasy sat on top of pieces of waffle. The waffle was lovely, not soggy and there was just enough sweet and sour chilli sauce to act like a syrup and soften it. The sweet and sour chilli sauce was the perfect topping to the chicken and it sat on a creamy bed of another sour cream-like sauce. Chives topped this dish and made it a very decadent southern comfort treat. Whitey loves deep fried chicken and pulled pork, she lived in the south for a few years and spends most of her time going through the Montreal restaurants that have the best deep fried chicken. She was pleased and for one of the pickiest eaters that we know, that says something!
It has been said many times that Diva #1 loves a good pogo, reminiscent of a pogo-filled childhood. They rarely show up on a menu but when they do, Diva #1 has to have one! Both Whitey’s Hubby and Diva #1 ordered the pogos, and because the waitress saw that Diva #1 and Bellatrix were sharing, she kindly had it cut up in the kitchen. The corn dog came with a whiskey and yellow mustard sauce which tasted sweet and, once again, chives topped this dish. It was not overly fried but it was just as it should be, junky and delicious. Now in their twenties/early thirties, pogos remind the Divas of many drunken nights spent at junky late night eateries like the Orange Julep, where hung over, we indulge in a few pogos in the hopes of coating our gin filled bellies and being less ill in the morning. What futile attempts!
The crab cake burger sounded interesting, deep fried crab cake with apple coleslaw in a bun. The bun was soft and grilled, the crab cake was not too greasy and the red cabbage coleslaw was still crunchy and only a little creamy, which is what we like. We didn’t really taste the apple or any sweetness at all but we enjoyed this crispy little crab cake burger. It doesn’t come with any sides, but this is a small plates establishment and this was not meant to be a meal. The tangy cream sauce in the burger was not overpowering either and we enjoyed it more than we had thought. Diva #1 was weary to order it but Bellatrix insisted and we had no regrets. There were a lot of deep fried treats at Rufus Rockhead but they were not too greasy and the small plates were perfect for sharing.
Whitey’s friends shared a bunch of appetizers; a favourite amongst them was the roasted cauliflower with a black garlic sauce and sesame. Sadly we were chatting too much to take a picture of what they ate but they were impressed. At this point Whitey’s Hubby and Bellatrix began discussing restaurant investments; he is in construction and Bellatrix wants to open a bistro or café. Diva #1 and Whitey grew fearful of that potentially very odd business relationship, and as more drinks were ordered, the conversation grew intense. Drinks were flowing, we were talking, Diva #1 was intensely amused by Whitey’s old friends who called Whitey out on a few harsh comments that she had made to them over the years. It was nice to see that she isn’t as nice as she sometimes pretends! Diva #1 discovered that she had some mutual friends with some of those girls, but let’s not discuss that… and we generally kept the mood light and well behaved, trust us, it could have been worse. But it was a Tuesday after all…
Bellatrix and Diva #1 wondered if they should try the dessert, which was a brownie with eggnog ice cream, but the creamy polenta with a mushroom stew intrigued us more. So for “dessert” we had this delectable polenta and mushroom dish. It arrived in a measuring cup, the mushrooms were delectable, they were cooked to perfection and were of the mixed variety. The creamy polenta melted within the mushroom stew and created an intense flavour. We were soon licking the little pot clean, green onions topped this dish which added another dimension of savoury.
In the end we had a great time at Rufus Rockhead, we would be intrigued to return on a Friday or Saturday night for cocktails and partying, apparently it is a very happening place. We ended up going on a low key night but we still enjoyed ourselves. It isn’t a place that you go to for dinner, but it is the perfect place to enjoy high end bar snacks and fun cocktails. Griffintown needed a more upscale drinking establishment, and they definitely got that with Rufus Rockhead.
Our Review: Average
Tagged: 1726 Notre-Dame St West, Bar, Bar Food, Cocktails, Comfort Food, DJ, Griffintown restaurant, H3J 1M3, Jeff Stinco, Late Night, Little Burgundy, Little Burgundy Bar, Montreal, Montreal Food, Montreal Restaurant, MTL, Reservations Needed, Rufus Rockhead, Rufus Rockhead Bar, Rufus Rockhead Griffintown, Rufus Rockhead Little Burgundy, Rufus Rockhead Montreal, Simple Plan, wine