701 Mont-Royal Est
Bus: STM 11, 30, 97, 427
Visit: December 20, 2011
Before I start by telling you about Burger 125, I have to admit that 2011 has been another great year for Mr. Lew’s Great Burger Search. This is the year where the actual GBS blog opened, the Twitter numbers increased, and yours truly was asked to be on the radio. For all those things and the constant support, I humbly thank you all. 2011 was only the beginning.
I wanted to end off 2011 on a high note. I was originally planning on having Burger 125 outside of the Greater Montreal Area, but with all plans, they change and I was forced to adapt. That was no worry to me since I have millions of back-up plans. This led me to Les Folies, a restaurant that has been on my radar for months. The big thing that attracted me here was their nice, simply-designed website that includes a clear, simple menu. Also, their variety of burger options made my visit here on this day a no-brainer. Also, I would be accompanied by another fellow burger fan for this 2011 concluding outing.
The first thing about this restaurant I’d like to note is the rather nice proximity of its location to the Mont-Royal metro station. The second you reach the street, when exiting the station, you should be able to easily spot the restaurant if you’re looking towards the direction that the Olympic Stadium is in. I’ve mentioned, from time to time, that location is one of the more important factors in burger and restaurant success. If you’re in the middle of nowhere, no one will go that extra mile to visit you, unless you’re that good. Of course, if you’re too far for me, you better be worth the visit. The short distance from the metro station to the restaurant only makes it so much easier to attract crowds of people who shop on one of the most important streets in Montreal.
On this very day, it being cold and all, it’s understandable to see the terrace all packed up for the winter. If you take a look at the Google street-view of the restaurant, you’ll notice the exterior was brimming with people. This was indeed the case inside the restaurant during my visit. I made a clear and conscious decision to show up after 1:00 p.m., just so that I could have a chance to eat without a crowd. To my surprise, the place was still rather full. Even though the interior is quite small for your average restaurant, every seat was filled during my stay. As we approached 2:00 p.m., there were still people waiting at the door. That is always a good sign in my books. I never normally see anyone wanting to start eating lunch at that time.
As I mentioned before, the restaurant is quite small. You enter the restaurant through a narrow walkway and pass through rather thick red curtains. I believe that this was only the second time I’ve seen such curtains at the door of an establishment. The first time was at L’Anecdote on Rachel for Burger 11 back in 2009. While this is a considerably understandable practise, it made it a little awkward to come in and out of the restaurant. I always tend to get worried when I have to make entrances and exits. That’s my over-analytical mind coming into play there.
The size of the restaurant also played a factor in the distance between tables. Since we were only 2 people, we were kind of lucky to get a table destined for twice our compliment. Soon after, a party of 3 showed up and took the table right behind me. When I’m talking about right behind, I mean so close that I probably could’ve gone and leaned back into their food if I wanted to. But, I don’t think I’d want to do that for the fear of getting a few ounces of Mr. Lew liquid drained from me after getting tossed around. I like cozy restaurants, but I still prefer a little space between tables. We were fortunate that the scarce distance between dining parties wasn’t a real factor in the end, like I feared.
One of the nicer features of the restaurant was the fact that you could see into the kitchen. I would say that this is a feature that you could see in about a quarter of restaurants on the island. I was the unlucky one as my back was turned to the kitchen, so my cohort got a better view of the working area. I actually would have loved a chance to observe the staff working for a bit, but that would’ve looked awkward with me turned around and trying to have a conversation at the same time.
The service was adequate. There was a moment where I believed that there was only one person serving clients. It wasn’t until halfway into the meal that I saw a second server tending to duties. For a full restaurant, like what we were watching, having only one person would not be such a good thing. So, there were times were service lagged a bit. I actually stared at our plates sitting on a ledge at the kitchen counter area. I gasped as a kitchen member walked by twice. I almost was thinking of pulling a Larry David and getting up to get our own food. Luckily, I’m not like Larry David, though I try to be sometimes. Even luckier is that I only had the thought of doing that as I’m writing this little piece. Even though the service was nice and cordial, I felt that it could have been sped up at times.
This salad contains mixed greens, cucumbers, onions, dressing, and 2, count them, pieces of baby tomatoes.
Normally, I wouldn’t dedicate so much time to a salad, but I want to point out a few things that I feel should be mentioned. First of all, I want to say that the salad was real good, according to my own personal tastes. The things I want to point out are things that irk me in general when it comes to salad.
You’ll notice the arugula in this salad. This salad doesn’t overdo it so much and uses a varied amount of various greens to compensate. The presence of actual lettuce makes it fine. In other salads and even some burgers I tried, arugula is what they use by itself. I might be wrong on this, because I’m no salad expert, not that I would like to be, but eating a leaf is something that I don’t really want to do. If I wanted to eat a leaf that badly, I’d go to a plant store and buy myself a plant. Come to think of it, that’s probably not a safe idea.
The last thing that I really need to talk about was the tomato count. As you read above, there were only 2 pieces of the smaller tomato variety. I might of felt better if there was a third piece in the salad. This might be me getting a little too nit-picky, but if I can count the amount of something, there’s too little. I guess that’s fat Mr. Lew talking there. Forget I said or wrote anything about the tomatoes. Seriously, the tomatoes were probably the best part of the already above average side salad.
If you’re interested in poutine, it is a $4.50 upgrade that you can easily take if you so choose. That was actually one thing I didn’t notice when looking at the website. For me, the choice was between having a dessert or now having the poutine. So, the poutine won out, much to my own detriment. For your information, I was hoping to get the chocolate mousse cake that was featured on the menu. But, after having poutine, a salad and the burger, I don’t think my chances of living to 2012 would’ve been that good. That was a tough choice to make since my experience at Le Jardin de Panos and their version of the cake was so good.
The poutine itself was quite interesting. The fries were quite acceptable. It was one of the things that my cohort was ranting and raving about. He was so into the fries that he wolfed them down in record time. So, the fries were a welcome addition to the poutine. Though most of the bites had mostly fries, it wasn’t so bad because the fries were good.
The sauce was a little different than anything I ever had. For one, it was a thicker sauce than I’m used to. I find that the really thicker sauces get in the way of really enjoying the combination of cheese curds, fries, and sauce. I don’t think that one should really overpower the other, much like in a burger. Though nothing wrong with the taste, I felt the sauce was too strong for the power of the remaining elements. That was so much so that I can’t even tell you much about the cheese, which is normally the best part.
My last point regarding this poutine has to do with something that was bothering me a bit during consumption. I would like someone to tell me the purpose of what I’m guessing is parsley on the poutine. I didn’t get any resounding taste from the green element, so that’s why I’m asking. I really could’ve done without it.
Overall, the poutine was decent. It was a proper side dish to the burger I was having. The portions were appropriate and I didn’t have that normal over-bloated feeling I would normally get from having the poutine/salad combo. In this case, since the side dish accompanies, rather than overshadowed the main product, it did its job properly.
This burger contains lettuce, tomatoes, mayo, pesto, soft wine sautéed mushrooms, maple caramelized onions, goat cheese, and bacon.
When I was researching burger choices, I was up in the air between two burgers. One burger was more like your normal selections and the other one was a little different. Guess which one I picked? If you chose the latter, you are correct and very wise, maybe too wise for your own good. I got a little gutsy and chose the one with the stuff I never tried before. It wasn’t so much the mushrooms or the onions, but the cheese. I never had goat cheese in a burger before and was looking to see if it was a serious candidate for future burger choices. I really had my fingers crossed.
Since I started by mentioning how I chose this burger based on cheese selection, I guess I’m going to start by saying that I was so wrong. As a lot of you know, goat cheese can be rather strong and this was no different. In this particular case, the taste was a little overwhelming at first. When you don’t really mentally prepare yourself for goat cheese, it can hit you like a ton of bricks. Now, to be clear, I’ve had goat cheese in the past and semi-expected the results. I would equivocate this to my experiences or mistakes in the territory of blue cheese. The only difference is that, in this case, the goat cheese’s power lessened with time and with each bite.
The real shining feature of this burger was the bun. I had a chance to take a bite of only bun and was really surprised to see how easy to chew it was. The black seeds really added a little more taste to it all as well. The bun stayed intact the entire time and wasn’t much of an issue. The issue could’ve came due to the fact that I did have a chance to bite bun only, mostly because you could say that the bun was too big for the meat. However, the bun was a highlight in my own opinion.
The overall taste of the burger was probably not a taste of mine. When you combine the power of goat cheese with the things like the mushrooms, onions, and the meat, you’ll get something you’re not used to. The taste was so distracting that I can’t really describe to you the impact of the meat or bacon. All I can say right now is that the bacon was a little crispy and had sufficient taste. That would all be nice if it wasn’t for the fact that I was more focused on trying to identify the elements that led to the strong taste of the burger.
For what it is, I can’t tell you that it’s bad. For the combinations of the various tastes, it wasn’t half bad. For people who like goat cheese and the other various stronger elements in the burger, they would probably enjoy the burger. For my own personal and hard to please taste, it’s not really my cup of tea. In the end, I’m just glad that I had the opportunity to try this burger so that I could refine what it is I like and dislike in a burger. To each his own and here’s hoping you all know what is your own.
The atmosphere of this restaurant is one where you can be relaxed and comfortable while enjoying a meal with whomever you’re with. It’s a place where you can sit around for a while after finishing a decent lunch. With its good location and varied menu, there is something for everyone, especially the lowly vegetarian crowd (sorry, just had to). For a burger, there is a good selection of choices to be made, as long as you know what you want.