Burger 136: Nouveau Felix | Mr. Lew's Great Burger Search

2525 de Salaberry
Montreal, Quebec

Bus:  STM 164, 180

Visit:  March 21, 2012

Do you ever have those days where you’re 100% sure of exactly what will happen?  Well, on this day, I thought it would be a day like any other.  I brought my normal lunch to my place of employment and enjoyed it like I normally do.  It was about an hour after that where I was about to be shown that the Great Burger Search can happen at any time during my normal hum drum day.

So, I’m sitting in our wonderful staffroom in the midst of my 4 hour break, listening to a song I recently started enjoying from YouTube, when Burger Search regular Steakman walks in and makes the all important “you want in?” request.  Well, if anyone knows me by now, I always want in, always.  Steakman already corralled a special guest star, who I’ll call P.G., and no, it’s not that well-known person who’s ruining something I hold so dear.

The plan wasn’t really to come here, but if you were awake on this “beautiful” day (I’m putting the quotes because it’s a matter of opinion that I don’t particularly share because I’m an Autumn person), you’ll know that people were outside.  The plan was to go to Paulo et Suzanne, a place that we frequent because we know it’s really good, so good that it is in my Fave 5.  Well, with the surprisingly warm weather for March playing its role, there was no parking around the intended restaurant.  We were also pretty sure that there was no room in the restaurant itself either.  With that being said, it was time for Plan B.

I’m always of the mindset where I want to go to a place that I’ve never been to before.  That isn’t so easy when you have a limited amount of time to work with.  We all had a time when we needed to be back, so going all the way to the east end of the island was far out of the question.  When you think of places nearby, especially where we work, there are slim pickings.  We’ve been to Paulo et Suzanne countless times.  My colleagues have been to the nearby Nouilles Orientales too many times for me to have respect for their choices in Chinese cuisine.  I’ve been there once and it wasn’t that memorable.  In our outing, there was always one place I wondered about, having passed by and never really getting to go in.

The Nouveau Felix is located in a rather plain looking strip mall.  It’s surrounded by places I would probably never walk in.  Pulling into the parking lot, we had the same problem, there was no parking.  We actually had to park across the street at the shopping center where there was plenty of room.  After we hoofed it across the street, we noticed the large abundance of room in the restaurant.  We got the “largest” table in the corner of the dining room.  For a split second, that dining room reminded me a bit of the Nouveau Palais.  It’s of a certain vintage, which makes it a place to sit, reminisce, and obviously eat.

This restaurant is more or less a take-out place that claims to have “une vraie pizza depuis 1964.”  If you take that for what it’s worth, the decision as to what to order should be simple, it should be pizza.  My mindset, though, was a little different when looking at the menu.  I’m on a search for burgers big and small, no matter how good or real they claim to be.  I wasn’t sure when or even if I would ever be back in this establishment.  Ordering the burger, with the nicely written bacon option, was paramount.  I was tempted to go for a bacon bambino pizza, but I knew I’d be committing a crime by not going to obvious burger route.

The service in the restaurant was assured by 2 servers.  Even though I was deep in a conversation that lasted almost 2 hours, my eye was kept on the staff.  Our order was taken with simplicity.  It was when the food came to the table where I started to worry a bit.  My food was the last to come and the server made it a point to tell me that it wasn’t going to be long.  It was in such a tone where it seemed like I didn’t believe her.  Over 200 restaurants later, I think I can understand how the game works.  I honestly don’t care and I didn’t say anything at all.  What made up for that was the fact that we weren’t hassled or rushed at the end of the meal.  They allowed us to keep our very slow pace.  Our bills were sitting on the table for at least an hour.

Smoked Meat Platter

This was Steakman’s choice.  He actually came here a few times and tried various items from the menu.  He even got up early one morning to have their breakfast, which is rare for him.  I took a look at the platter and thought to myself how normal it looked.  These days, when I think of smoked meat, I think about one of the iconic places that serve Montreal.  I made sure to ask him about his opinion of that said iconic place that was recently bought out.  He made sure to mention how overrated it was and how it was too salty.  We’re doing a new smoked meat place soon and I’ll see how he feels about that.

This is the bread that goes with the platter above.

Submarine

This was P.G.’s choice.  I’m not going to comment on this dish, other than saying how he mentioned that the sauce overshadowed the rest of the meal.  All I’ll say is that his choice of meal brought me back to last May when P.G. and I went to Le Petit Quebec.  There, we both enjoyed a smoked meat submarine.  It’s funny how the first two dish selections just brought me back to that moment.  By the way, I think about that smoked meat sub from time to time, it was that epic.

French Fries

This was P.G.’s side dish, which came at the same time as my late burger.  I got a chance to pick at it a bit, while we were telling stories of our teaching methods.  In my opinion, the fries weren’t any different than anything you can get at similar restaurants.

Onion Rings

Since I knew that I wasn’t going to get over the top fries, I went for something that I don’t get as often as I would like.  The onion rings arrived at the table well before my burger did, which honestly, wasn’t such a big deal like the server made it out to be.  Like the fries from above, they weren’t out of the ordinary.  I had a bit of trouble making out any real unique taste, so they were your normal onion rings, more or less.

Bacon Cheeseburger

This burger contains coleslaw, pickles, mustard, cheese, and bacon.

In the past, I’ve mentioned the term ‘casse-croute’ burger over and over again.  Before I get to this actual burger, I’ll take a moment to give you two examples.  The first example was Burger 71 at Gerry’s Delicatessen.  It was more or less your normal size casse-croute burger.  The inclusion of coleslaw and mustard, to me, makes it just that.  I call it that because my local casse-croute does their burgers exactly the same way.  I singled out Burger 71 because it was an example of one done right.

The second example of that type of method was Burger 107 at Gringo.  Much like the other casse-croute burgers, it was comprised of your usual suspects.  However, there was one bold difference between the rest of them and this burger.  This burger was genetically engineered or put on steroids, it nearly killed me, it was so big.

Now that I’ve taken you to the past, let’s take you to the present.  The components are exactly what defines my casse-croute burgers.  Like the most of them, it wasn’t that incredibly special, but it had to be tried for the sake of keeping my Search realistic and pure.

What bothered me about this particular one was that it fell short in the three most important components of my ideal burger.  First of all, the cheese was just slapped on, telling me that it was just taken out of its packaging and not given any heat whatsoever.  Secondly, the meat was on par with a casse-croute, as it was thin.  Finally, the bacon was there, only because I saw it with my eyes and the fact that it was Steakman’s first question to me when I got the burger.

In the end, it is what it is.  The goal I have is to dry as many different burgers from many different places.  They’re not all going to be Fave 5 candidates.  It’s the kind of burger you get when you need something quick.

Final Verdict

Nouveau Felix is the kind of place where you’d come by to pick up food to go.  The food is much like every other delivery restaurant on the island.  The menu is vast and the choices aren’t easy to make.  It’s the kind of place where you can sit and enjoy the company of others when you’re on a lunch break.  It may not be winning awards, but for the 2 hours we were there, it was the forum for a decent time.

Nouveau Felix Pizza and Deli on Urbanspoon

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