It’s Saturday morning. After a relatively tame night, in my groggy state, I’ve got one thing on my mind: where am I going to eat this late morning/early afternoon. Do I want breakfast? There’s plenty of places for good breakfast. Do I want lunch? There’s plenty of places for good lunch. Nah. I want both. Teetering on the edge of both meals, brunch is that happy medium Montrealers in my contemplative situation look forward to on the weekend. It’s a simple solution though. The delicious combination of the two meals allows chefs to exhibit their creative chops through dishes that are borderline both. There are many many restaurants these days offering brunch menus. Some who’s bread and butter is dinner, some who’s main thing is actual brunch, and some who do both really well. Maison Publique is one of those places.
Regarded as one of the top restaurants in the city, Maison Publique serves up a mean brunch. Head chef and owner, Derek Dammann doesn’t pull any punches when serving up his style of this glorious meal. Chef Dammann’s style seems simple, but every dish is very well thought out. So well, in fact, that when you’re eating you wonder how he did it and why you can’t.
Case and point with the first dish: the Welsh rarebit, which he described as “cheese toast”. A thick slice of white bread covered in melted cheese, then a light drowning of Guinness. Fine. A simple dish, but it’s not as simple as it sounds. The bread is amazing, the sharp cheese is perfect, and the dark beer makes it complete.
The zampini and remoulade is a perfect example of a dish that rides the brunch line. A curled up sausage so flavorful it could pass as an appetizer at lunch or even dinner, but topped with a fried egg and a celeriac remoulade brought it back to the breakfast zone. The happy medium is achieved. Our friendly, and very knowledgeable waitress suggested without hesitation, the PDT fromage. Much like the “cheese toast” this is another simple description for a well conceived dish of potatoes and cheese. The fried breakfast potatoes, nicely crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, had a wonderful cheese melted between each morsel, then drizzled with a little sour cream for good measure. Very often, a good sign of a good “breakfast” place is to see how the potatoes measure up. It’s hard to find better ones than these, no matter the type of restaurant.
Finally, the pancakes. Ohhh man, those pancakes. Here they are, round delicious pillows of goodness “garnished” with thick-cut bacon and whipped butter, then drizzled with the real deal maple syrup. I could eat that bacon for eternity, but the butter made it all come together. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, whatever. Who cares. Gimme those pancakes and bacon for 3, 4, or 5 meals a day and I’d be a happy
Maison Publique really is that good. It deserves to be at the top of everyone’s list, if you never been. If you’re going for brunch don’t skip on the wonderful coffee provided by Anthony Benda of Cafe Myriade. It’s nice to have friends like that to help out in that domain. The simple names of the dishes may fool you; however, as I mentioned above, everything is well thought out and executed with precision. Can’t wait for my next meal at Maison Publique, and to see what delicious surprises Derek Dammann will come up with next
Maison Publique: 4720 Rue Marquette, Montréal, QC H2J 3Y6; (514) 507-0555
Reservations only taken for dinner.