Dishcrawl Invades Montreal with a Bang!

September 6, 2010 · 3 comments

in General Food

Last Wednesday, Sept. 1st, 30 lucky food lovers were united to experience the first ever dishcrawl in Montreal. Before diving into the juicy details, allow me to explain the concept, which is quite brilliant if you ask me. A dishcrawl involves a group of people who visit 4 restaurants in one night, feasting on one dish per establishment. Essentially, a 4 course meal in 4 different restaurants. If you are familiar what a pubcrawl is, it’s the same thing but with food.

The launch of dishcrawl Montreal started at Salute on Laurier. As soon as I arrived I was greeted by Marcella, aka Eatalian Girl, who graciously organized this event along side San Fransisco food lover (that is an understatement) and creator of dishcrawl, Tracy Lee. The crowd mixed of French and English ranging from many age groups allowed us to interact through the one reason why were all here: the food. When all the guests took their seats, the gracious and full-of-personality chef Angelo Baggio, made a short speech welcoming us and introducing the dish we about feast upon. We indulged on a mushroom risotto that was to die for. It was poured into and served from a wheel of Bagoss cheese that chef Baggio ensured us that he was practically the only one to own it in North America.  The risotto had sweet pieces of porcini and other wild mushrooms floating around. Topped with shavings of the Bagoss cheese, this dish was exceptional.  It was light, creamy, silky, and rich. Clearly the best one of the night. After, I sneaked in a piece of the cheese that the chef broke off for me to taste on it’s own. I have never had a cheese like it. Bagoss is infused with saffron and has a similar texture to Parmigiano Reggiano but a bit softer and creamier. Simply bliss.

Next, we walked over to Lustucru. This time instead of having our own plates, we were instructed to share 2 platters. The first consisted of swordfish carpaccio with sliced Quebec strawberries, and salmon tartar with a hint of lime and avocado. I was pleasantly surprised by the swordfish. I would have never thought that strawberries would go well with the fish, but it did! It became vibrant and quite delicious. The salmon was also very good. Well seasoned and fresh, this part was the winner of this platter. The second platter consisted of beef tartar and duck carpaccio. The beef tartar was pretty standard. Mixed with a bit of dijon mustard and green onions, it was tasty. At first I wasn’t so keen on eating raw duck since it’s something you don’t normally think with eating raw. I was also pretty surprised by this. It came with a yogurt based sauce with nuts and diced fresh blueberries with Quebec strawberries. I guess this place likes to pair fruit with their dishes. It was good though. Another unusual flavor that seemed to work.

The third stop on our dishcrawl was at L’Atlier. I really liked the decor of this resto. Notes from customers held up by paperclips hang from the ceiling while slate tables, black and white pictures, and a blackboard menu make this place comfortable and fun. Oh, and our dish was pretty amazing. On one side was a sweet galette with small chunks of foie gras and red onion marmalade. Although the marmalade cut the richness of the foie gras, I found it to be unusually rich to the point that the end of it simply didn’t taste as good as it did at the beginning. The other side of dish was a cube of lamb, breaded in panko bread crumbs then deep fried. The crust was light and crispy, and the shredded lamb was very tender. It also paired very well with the pineapple chutney, which was sweet and delicious.

The final restaurant we visited on our dishcrawl was Macaroni Bar. I have never eaten here before, but I was aware of their signature dish, gnocchi poutine, so I was pretty happy when I found out that’s what we were eating. Chef Sergio Mattoscio escaped from the kitchen and explained the two dishes we were about to indulge upon. First, the gnocchi is hand made, then deep fried just like french fries. The texture of the fried gnocchi was just crispy on the the edges, but was still soft and pillowy. The gravy was a veal demi-glaze and the cheese were traditional curds. Overall, it was a very good and it would be something I would order there. Also, we were served crispy pulled pork lollipops with a sticky Asian dipping sauce. The pops had a very thin crust that broke away with the first bite of the tender pork in the sweet sauce. I actually liked this one better.

The dishcrawl was a truly incredible experience. I spoke to so many people and learned so much about their backgrounds, what food they like/don’t like, their hobbies, and much more. Dishcrawl is much more than just a 4 course meal in 4 restaurants. It is a social gathering where people connect through food. I can honestly say that we are only seeing the beginning of this. A big thank you goes out to Tracy Lee, the creator of dishcrawl, and Marcella for organizing this. I can understand how much a logistical nightmare this could have been, but it went off without a hitch. Can’t wait to find out where the next dishcrawl will be.

Marcella writes for her blog, Eatalian Girl, and will be organizing this once a month. Follow her on Twitter to find out more.

Follow Tracy Lee and Dishcrawl on Twitter for more updates.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

tracy @ladyleet September 7, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Thank you for the awesome writeup of the inaugural dishcrawl! It was so wonderful meeting you and we’re happy to have you as a dishcrawl matchmaker for Montreal! 🙂


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