This is a revisited post for Nouveau Palais. Click HERE for the original post.
281 Bernard O.
Bus: STM 46, 80, 160, 435, 935
Visit: August 28, 2012
My sit-down Burger 2 Burger interview with Na’eem Adam was held at Nouveau Palais. At that particular time, I wasn’t thinking about doing much more than the interview post. In the days that followed, I got to thinking about what the Nouveau Palais meant to the Burger Search and how the original post needed to be touched up a bit. As a cornerstone to the Fave 5, it was the first time that I had one of the burgers for a second time. Would it be as good as it was the first time or would I have to rethink my decisions?
As I mentioned in my interview post, it was a beautiful August afternoon. I took some time walking around the immediate neighborhood to check out some of the places that I might make the Burger Search future. It wasn’t until the time for the meeting I was about to have, where I approached the entrance. Just as I was about to go in, behind me, someone got my attention. It was one of the owners, Jacques.
My memory wasn’t quite jolted immediately, since I do have to remember literally hundreds of faces each day in my daily life. Once I remembered, I was able to greet him properly. I actually met both of the main faces, Jacques and Gita Seaton, at Place Emilie-Gamelin on August 10th. Food Network Canada’s Eat St. was in town filming their Montreal episode. The Nouveau Palais creation known as Winneburger was the first one to be subject to the episode’s taping. On that day, before and after my part in the proceedings, I had the chance to meet and talk to both of them. So, I have to be quite honored that they chose me to represent them for their appearance on television.
The Nouveau Palais is unlike most restaurants in 2012. Its decor is a throwback to its heyday. It could have easily been renovated and changed beyond recognition, but it wasn’t. Booths take up most of the space on the dining floor, outside a bar right at the entrance. It might not be made for comfort, but you shouldn’t be caring since the food is what brought you here.
In 2011, it was more of a hidden gem. In the months that followed, we actual premise was featured on Anthony Bourdain’s Layover. With appearances like that and on Eat St., the team at the Nouveau Palais have become synonymous with the city of Montreal. Their association with the folks over at Grumman’78 is also another vital part to their role in the city’s ever more prominent role as global food destination.
My visit in March of 2011 was something that didn’t quite resonate with me immediately. At that time, it was just another burger place to visit. As time passed, I started to understand just how much this place is important to Montreal. Once I tried their burger, it was clear, it had a place in my Fave 5. I haven’t had many burgers that had the same lasting effect as this one. Even before I met anyone from the restaurant, I never hesitated in recommending their burger, even if it isn’t their signature dish.
The service on this evening was pretty good. The server was able to answer all the questions we had for them. There were some times where we were a bit indecisive with what we wanted to order. The server gave us our space, which is something that I look for, as others would try to rush you in taking your order.
Hot Beef Sandwich
This was Na’eem’s selection for this evening. This is a hot beef sandwich which happened to be a special for the evening. I personally can’t say much about its attributes, but I’ll say that it disappeared fast, leaving the eater quite satisfied.
This burger contains lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese, and bacon.
I knew that I was coming to the Nouveaus Palais for a few days and I wasn’t really intending on having a burger. It was when I was sitting at the table when I was thinking about whether I should try to see if it still stood up. Then again, maybe not ordering it wouldn’t tarnish how I already felt about it. Technically, this was the fourth time I was having this burger, since I had the Winneburger twice. But, for the first time in 17 months, I would be having the same exact burger that made my Fave 5.
Right off the bat, there were a few differences that could easily be ascertained. The last time I had this burger, there wasn’t any coleslaw or pickle to be had. That was another refreshing surprise. The burger also looked different. This time, you could easily see some of the ingredients. In a way, I waited a bit before actually picking this thing up and taking a bite. I was really hesitating.
With my first bite, all my fears dissipated. This was truly the same burger I had back in March of 2011. The burger was cooked perfectly and was extremely easy to eat. All of the ingredients meshed rather well and created something quite special. I actually took my time with this one, because I didn’t really know when I would ever be returning. The one thing that had me worried for a second was whether the bacon was in the burger, but that thought quickly disappeared when I saw it for myself.
The tell-tale signs of having a good burger is just how much evidence is left after eating one. If your hands are full of grease, you had a good burger. If each bite is one that pulls you in to the next bite, you’re having a good burger. Messiness should never dissuade you from enjoying a burger. It’s about how much you enjoy making love to that burger. Yes, I just used that line twice in one month.
If some of you are wondering, there is a little bit of bias in this. The burger was arguably better this time around. Rest assured, I did pay for this burger and all others I had under the Nouveau Palais banner. The sole purpose of this post was to just mostly remind myself that I made the right pick off the get-go. If anyone ever asks me, I will never hesitate recommending this burger.