Tuck Shop has been on our radar for awhile now, and has been referred to us time and time again as a place that we must try. The Divas, Vegan Vixen and Sweet Pea finally made a reservation and understood why this Notre-Dame street restaurant is constantly showered in love.
Tuck Shop has a chalkboard menu which changes often and the restaurant announces it on their Twitter feed, @TuckShopMTL. This is a nice twist to the traditional chalkboard menu because though you won’t know what you’re eating in advance, you can check out the menu on the day of.
We ordered some cocktails before our wine, and our oysters were soon in front of us. The Standish Shore oysters were served with the usual lemon and tabasco accompaniments as well as three different mignonettes: the jalapeno and cucumber, and their homemade cocktail sauce are the ones that stood out. Diva #2 had had these oysters at B & G Oysters in Boston, and had fallen in love so she wasn’t surprised when everyone exclaimed that these were the best that we had ever had. And for once we were making that exclamation about food and not about men
Just as our appetizers were placed in front of us and our waitress opened our bottle of wine, Whitey arrived for a drink and a visit. She likes to pop in every now and then and grab a glass of wine before going off.
We started with the Middle Eastern influenced grilled octopus served with baba ganoush, hummus and labneh. Though there were many elements on the plate, none were lost and they all complimented each other. The octopus had a seasoning of Zatar spice, a blend of herbs, sumac and sesame seeds, which went beautifully with the cool labneh, smooth hummus and fresh tabbouleh on the plate. The addition of the pomegranate seeds added bits of crunch and sweetness.
We heard the pork belly was a must-try dish so we ordered it. The chunk of piggy-goodness sat in a pool of melted Gouda with plenty of delicate oyster mushrooms. Too often, you’ll find this cut of meat overcooked but not here. It had a very crispy top and the meat was moist and tender. It was topped with pickled root vegetables which just added to the experience.
The roughly chopped beef tartare was topped with a remoulade that created the perfect bite when coupled together. The chips that were served alongside the porcini aioli were not crispy at all and lent nothing to the dish, although the aioli was delicious. It was served with one large crostini, but we would have preferred to have more.
Our last appetizer was the burrata, a food that we can never seem to resist. With dressed greens on top, served on a brioche, the creamy burratta stretched and pulled apart easily. The brioche was not soggy at all, and added the perfect element of sweetness. The wild mushrooms were salty which paired well with the smoky tomatillo sauce. An excellent dish overall that offered a unique combination of flavours that truly enhanced the cheese.
Happy with our appetizers, we knew the mains would be just as good, especially when our waitress told us that she was jealous and wanted to eat with us.
We started with the homemade pasta of the night which, lucky for us, was lobster ravioli. The great thing about this dish is that it was not drowning in a sauce, but oh what a creamy and decadent sauce. We were able to taste the sweet lobster filling in each bite that was complimented by the scattered green peas. The mushrooms were plentiful and meaty, and the dish was topped off with sprouts.
Though Diva #1 loves to joke that Diva #2 loves Jerusalem artichokes, up until this night, it was the first time that either of them had tried them. And it seemed Vegan Vixen was much more well versed in her knowledge of artichokes than we were…big surprise that the vegetarian knows her vegetables. The caramelized scallops sat on a purée of Jerusalem artichokes, with leeks, brussel sprouts and roasted king oyster mushrooms on top. The grenobloise sauce really brightened up the flavours of the scallops and kept the dish light. It was a great way to eat scallops and once again Tuck Shop really impresses you with their combination of ingredients and how certain flavours are enhanced by partnering them with various spices, vegetables, etc.
A friend texted Diva #1 to say that he was on his way to join us because his date had stood him up. Many of Diva #1 friends see her tag herself in restaurants on Twitter and Facebook and often pass by for a drink or dinner, often without even telling her beforehand. Our friend arrived, a little sad, and we offered to beat up the bitch, but he settled for being fed instead. In the end he was the winner because he ended up on a date with four women…but alas no one put out in the end.
A special of the night was the guinea fowl which was reminiscent of something you would find in a Southern kitchen. It was fried and lathered in a sticky sweet and tangy sauce. The skin was still crisp and the meat was moist inside. It was served with grits and collard greens with garlic, and a red chili which gave it just enough heat. The dish was a treat, not what we were expecting and a very nice surprise.
The duck dish was simply amazing. The duck was cooked perfectly, still rare in the center, sliced and draped over a mess of squash, braised cabbage, pomegranate seeds and pearl onions. This was all combined with spaetzle, a German dumpling, which would have been delicious on its own but mixed with the vegetables and the pomegranate sauce, completely over the top. This was definitely a new way to eat duck, never mind the usual duck magret found in French restaurants or the confit style of preparation, Tuck Shop won many points for originality.
The menu at Tuck Shop is full of options too good to pass up, so it was safe to say that we were happily stuffed. However, this did stop us from ordering dessert after hearing what they had to offer.
We started with the pecan pie, still warm when it hit our table. Full of crunchy pecans, the filling was smooth and the crust very flaky. We also had the carrot cake which was from Rustique Pies just across the street. Rustique Pies is earning quite a reputation and the Divas have yet to go there, we are happy to have had a taste of their baked goods at Tuck Shop. Made with walnuts, the carrot cake was moist and though Diva #2 is not really a fan of frosting in general, this cream cheese frosting was just right, very cheesy and not overly sweet.
Would we go back to Tuck Shop? In a heartbeat. Message us, we will come with you tonight It’s a quaint restaurant with little touches like tulips on the table or the Laguiole steak knives that make it complete, the staff is great and the food is fresh and delicious. Next time you’re looking for a great restaurant, deviate from the usual restaurants in Old Montreal or the Plateau and reserve a table at Tuck Shop, a gem in the Sud-Ouest, you won’t be disappointed.
Our Rating: Always on Thursdays
Tagged: 4662 Rue Notre-Dame O, Beef Tartare, Braised Short Ribs Pecan Pie, Burrata, Carrot Cake, Cocktails, Duck, Fish Tacos, Fusion, Guinea Fowl, H4C 1S7, Homemade Brioche, Homemade Pasta, Jerusalem Artichoke, Lobster Ravioli, Montreal, Montreal Restaurant, Notre-Dame, Octopus, oysters, Pecan Pie, Pork Belly, Quebec cheese, Ravioli, Reservations Needed, Rustique Pies, Scallops, Seafood, Short Rib, St-Henri, Standish Shore Oysters, Sud-Ouest, Tartare, Tuck Shop, Tuck Shop Montreal, Tuck Shop Notre-Dame, wine