Every time I visit my birthplace, Montreal, I discover some new delicious food source. Of course, I try to re-visit favourite spots (Schwartz’s and L’Express top that list, depending on my mood.
A couple of weeks ago, my brother Eric and I – he lives in the city’s Francophone, blue-collar east-end ‘nabe of Hochelaga Maisonneuve – made a return pilgrimage to wondrous Portuguese eatery Doval located at 150 Marie-Anne Est not far from the former Jewish ghetto where our dad grew up. This noisy, always-packed, inexpensive eatery with the giant portions and great prices has another attraction: it’s a block away from Leonard Cohen’s house that faces a small park not far from Bagels Etc. on Boulevard St Laurent where there have been sightings of Lenny by my trusty bro.
So far, I’ve sampled the Seafood Casserole (huge and delicious), Portuguese Steak that comes crowned with a fried egg and heaps of french fries, and the superb grilled squid accompanied by lots of steamed veggies. Most entrees are well under $20. Dinner for two is about $60 for two with wine.
My discovery on this occasion was the hugely popular Lebanese pizza joint called Altaib Boulangerie at 2125 Rue Guy between Sherbrooke and St. Catherine.
It’s not often that a menu sports items I’ve never tried – I’ve been in the food biz for a good 30 years – but here I was forced to point at what I wanted, having no idea of what to call the assorted pizzas, wraps and other aromatic goodies that were served up at breakneck speed as take-out or being carried on trays to a small dining area upstairs.
I wound up with a zaatar: a gyro-type pizza wrap redolent with herbs and filled with grilled meat, something that looked red cabbage but wasn’t, chick peas and a tangy mayo-ish hot sauce.
Next time, I plan to try to the crispy chicken, rice and various salads on a self-serve buffet crammed into the tiny take-out room.
You heard it here first.