Annex 77: Café Pavé | Mr. Lew's Great Burger Search

243 Notre-Dame O.
Montreal, Quebec

Metro:  Square-Victoria, Place d’Armes
Bus:  STM 36, 55, 61, 75, 129, 168, 715

Visit:  July 5, 2012

This summer, I have a list of 4 non-burger places I have to try.  Café Pavé is one of those places.  Located in a very crowded culinary part of Montreal, it’s a relatively new presence in the city.  Boasting a wide variety of sandwiches on its menu, it creates a new option for those busy workers on the go in the midst of the financial district.

I first heard of Café Pavé from the most unlikely sources, Urbanspoon.  It’s not that I looked it up or just saw it in the new restaurants listing, it’s the fact that I was contacted by someone through the site telling me about the opening of the restaurant.  This was back in the month of January.  Since I’m not too keen on jumping on brand new restaurants, I had to put it on the back burner.  I sat by watching the tremendous use of its Twitter account and some glowing reviews throughout the interwebs.

Upon entering the restaurant, I was greeted by the only server working the floor.  Me, not knowing what the procedure was, sat down at an empty table.  I sat there for a few moments and just waited.  This was not the way to go apparently.  This is where I got up and went to the counter.  There was another customer ahead of me and I followed their lead in the ordering process, which in the end, was simpler than I made it out to be.

As mentioned above, the menu is vast when it comes to your choices of sandwiches.  From chicken, to steak, to pulled pork, you should have a hard time choosing what you want.  For those coming in during the lunch hour, you can get a starter, sandwich, and beverage for a very reasonable price.  Since I always go for the one with the bacon, the choice was quite easy here.

The place was still quite busy when I got there.  It might not have been jam packed, but it had enough to qualify it as doing well enough.  I think it was pretty split on how many ate in and how many took it out.  If you take a look directly across the street, there is an empty space where people were busy having lunch.  At that point, it was kind of sad to see the McDonald’s bags when there were other options like Café Pavé around.

Once you’re done ordering, you are handed a nifty little bucket.  In it, you’ll find all you’ll need to properly eat here.  I think that’s quite the neat little idea that a lot of people can learn from.

Vegetable Soup

The meal stared off with a vegetable soup, where the focus was on the pieces of potatoes in the bowl.  There was something that didn’t sit well with me when I saw the liquid.  But, once you take a spoonful of soup, that uneasy feeling fades away.  The liquid, in combination with the generous size of the potatoes, turns out to be a satisfying soup for a quick lunch.

Iced Tea

One of the first things I found out when doing what I’m doing now is that iced tea will come in any form you can think of.  From measuring cups to mason jars, I’ve seen it all, or so I thought.  When the soup came to the table, it was accompanies by a closed jar of brownish liquid.  The first thing that went in my mind was whether or not I made some sort of mistake.  Apparently, I didn’t.  Here’s everyone else drinking out of cans or bottles, and special me, getting a look at another special iced tea container.

As with the beginning of my visit, I usually make things harder for myself than they need to be.  I go to open the jar and the outer rim of the lid comes off.  I’m then left with the inner lid.  Let me just say that it took me a few moments to figure how to open it.  For the record, you have to lift it off by putting your finger under the edge.  Once you’re successful, you pour the iced tea into the provided glass.

A that point, I noticed something else, the actual ice.  I’m not one to waste words commenting on ice, but this made me wonder if it was really ice.  To show you how my mind works, my first guess was that it was ice.  Then, I took a closer look and decided that since I couldn’t see through the ice, I change my guess to something else.  I wasn’t until I saw the ice melt that I clued in.  This is how I think.  You may now judge me.

The ice tea is not one of those store-bought, out of the can variety that you can get anywhere else.  The proof is in the fact that the it actually tastes like a normal tea with actual ice in it.  That differs from the Brisks of the world because the commercial product has an inordinate amount of sugar.  Now that I’ve done four paragraphs on iced tea, we can move on to the main event, the sandwich.


This sandwich contains  chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, rouille sauce, and braised bacon.

I can’t really remember the last time I ordered a sandwich from a restaurant.  I’m not really a big fan of doing that.  So, having a sandwich anywhere is in a way, a tough sell.  The choice of bacon is one that was an easy one, after seeing tweets from the Twitter account of the restaurant.    Even though it’s a tough sell, I was really looking forward to try my first real sandwich outside of that chain restaurant.

The first thing you notice is that the portion sizes are quite reasonable.  What you get is basically two sandwiches.  Along with the soup, it makes for a quick lunch.  The presentation is neat and is seems like all the ingredients are nicely packed in.  That shows that a great deal of care is put into each and every individual sandwich.

The bread was something that really surprised me.  Here I was, thinking that it would be a little hard to eat, because that’s the way it looked.  But after one bite, I knew it was soft enough, which made each bite a pleasure and not a fight.

The one thing that I wasn’t happy with was the presence of the tomato.  It’s not that I dislike tomatoes, it’s actually the contrary in this case.  It seemed like the tomato disliked me.  For each portion, the tomato made a run for it.  Regardless of whether or not it’s a burger or a sandwich, I like my ingredients to stay in place.

I’m quite new to rouille, so I can’t really tell you much about it.  Though, for this sandwich, it went really well with the chicken and the bacon.  I might be completely off with this, but it reminded me of a different kind of mayonnaise.

When I eat anything, the items I usually dread the most is chicken.  I don’t know what it is, but my relationship with chicken isn’t that good.  This chicken was a whole lot different, there was taste!  It wasn’t too dry either.  I’ve had my share of dry chicken and it’s enough to turn you off from what you’re eating.  This chicken, in this sandwich, was just right.

The last component was the braised bacon.  The thing that strikes me about this bacon is the thickness.  The taste is almost entirely there and easy to identify from the rest of the ingredients.  At the beginning of the consumption, a thick piece of it, as you can see on the right of the sandwich, fell off from the rest of the Louisville.  It was unlike anything I’ve ever had, bacon-wise, before.  You have the right amount of saltiness, which went well with all the other components of the sandwich.

Final Verdict

What you have here is a nice little shop that sells a great variety of sandwiches.  A place like this does well because it can offer its customers a different sandwich every day.  It’s not variety for the sake of having it, it’s there because what goes behind each of them is the result of careful planning.  The specials and prices are quite reasonable, which helps attract all kinds of curious folks.  For me, it’s enough to convince me to try other sandwiches in a restaurant setting. 

Café Pavé on Urbanspoon


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  1. mrlewburger posted this