Bus: STM 15, 24, 30, 125, 427, 715, 747
Visit: October 30, 2012
In 2012, it takes rather unique restaurant concepts to keep you afloat in the ever so growing competitive landscape that is our culinary scene. While many restaurants have opened in this calendar year, most have already thrown in the towel. The ones who are left are the few that find some hook to keep themselves alive. When it comes to a restaurant known as Mâche!, does the comfort cuisine have enough to warrant a place long term?
Mâche! is located on a crowded stretch of Saint-Denis just north of De Maisonneuve. In that area, you have a rather high concentration of university students at your disposal. Not only is it a central hub for education studies, we cannot forget the fact that transportation converges here as well. With that in mind, there is no lack of potential customers around.
In the past few weeks, while I was on other food related missions, I had a chance to observe this restaurant in action. What I saw were some quiet nights. The terrasse was quiet and the dining area inside wasn’t that much different. While this location was one that I was looking forward to, those facts didn’t comfort me at all.
On the day before Halloween, I needed a last minute burger idea and I couldn’t think of any other place than this one. It was a bit of a shock to see that the outdoor terrasse was jam packed with people. Even more surprising was that the dining room had also its fair share of people. The flow of people coming in to eat at Mâche! was constant and the other people coming in for take-out was just as much.
Upon entering, the first thing I was confronted with was this really awkward looking chair. I swear I almost fell trying to sit down. In all, I was able to figure out a better sitting position to keep myself in tow during the entire meal.
The floor and terrasse were being served by two servers, both in flannel-like garb on. The server who was assigned to me was something. This individual worked their tail off the entire time I was there. From getting drinks, bringing out dishes, and clearing out tables, there wasn’t a moment where this person wasn’t doing anything. I was actually quite impressed by the work ethic of the staff on this evening.
Mâche! has your quaint selection of everything that you can identify with this province when it comes to eating. Not only do you have a fine selection of sandwiches and poutine, you also can select from a generous list of paté chinois. Those are the kinds of options that attract people to relative unknowns and what sets some places apart.
My mission for the evening was to try the burger. There is only one burger on the menu and it didn’t quite have all the ingredients I wanted. So, after perusing the rest of the menu to make sure all my items were found, I set forth to ask for my additions. It didn’t take much convincing, but the cheddar cheese was an easy addition. It was when It came time to ask for bacon where the challenge got a bit harder. The server was a bit hesitant, but they soon caved for that insatiable desire to make sure that all aspects of life need bacon in them.
Burger “GROS BEEF”
This burger contains onions rings, lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, Mâche! mayo, cheddar cheese, and braised bacon.
This burger was really the tale of two burgers. What I’m talking about was the bulge that is created by the inclusion on an onion ring. On top of that, that was the precise location where the ketchup was concentrated. Each time you took a bite from the middle of the burger, you got one very distinct taste, that of store-bought meat pie. That’s the first thing that hit me. It had literally the same consistency and the same taste if you eat that stuff with ketchup.
The outer ring of the burger was a more traditional burger to try. You take a first bite and you feel like you’re eating a proper burger. The meat, at first, is most acceptable. Though, as the meal progresses, you find yourself struggling to get a kick out of it. If the burger stuck to a more traditional route, it would have probably been a slam dunk.
The inclusion of the cheddar and braised bacon was something that was completely necessary. On its own, the burger didn’t really do much for me. With the cheese added, it takes the focus off the onion ring center that is drowning in ketchup. The braised bacon, on the other hand, is just a thick, masterfully done piece of art that just meshed well with the rest of the burger.
In all, the burger had its strong suits. If you can get past some of the things that really didn’t belong there, you’ll enjoy your burger. The addition of some necessary elements for all burgers, mostly the cheese, are things that should have been there to begin with.
Mâche! is a type of place where you can get comfort food and take advantage of the laid back atmosphere. The service will treat you kindly as you try some creative dishes that you probably can’t find anywhere else.