Bus: STL 144, 151, 902, STM 16, 17, 64, 70, 72, 117, 121, 128, 170, 171, 174, 177, 196, 213, 215, 216, 225, 468, 470, 475
Visit: December 19, 2012
We all have our own neighbourhood places. Ville Saint-Laurent is a vast territory, but there is one thing that doesn’t quite sit well with a lot of us, the lack of significant places to eat. In this part of town, there are a litany of fast food options and chain restaurants, but none of those are really worth talking about. What is worth talking about is a place that I couldn’t leave 2012 without trying, Décarie Hot Dog.
Earlier in the week, with the fact that I haven’t really thought about which burger would be the last one of 2012, I decided to throw out a question to Facebook and Twitter. It was a simple question, Décarie Hot Dog or Montreal Pool Room? The results surprised me. All of the people on my personal Facebook account chose the latter, while the tweets that came in all were a resounding Décarie Hot Dog. Before asking the question, I was unsure of what I wanted to do, but the outpouring of support for Décarie Hot Dog was one that I had to investigate.
This is the point that I have to be honest. Early in the Burger Search, I was strongly thinking of coming here. Much like with every location that gets covered, I spend some time doing my research to ensure that I know what I’m getting myself into. What I read about this place didn’t quite sit well with me. I’m going to keep the reasoning to myself, but that made me extremely hesitant.
In the midst of a very nice Wednesday afternoon, I made my way into Décarie Hot Dog. When you enter the restaurant, you’ll notice just how very small it is. It may be located on a very scenic part of the street, but the lack of space will hit you right away. From a quick count, I noticed that there were about 7 stools along the counter area. To the right of the room, there is another counter, where you would have to stand to eat. At this point in the afternoon, there was a bit of space and I took the first stool right next to the cash.
The restaurant is manned by only two individuals, who both cook and prepare orders. They were responsible for assuring that all orders are put out quickly. So, within seconds of me assuming my seat at the counter, I had to make my order. Without seeing a menu, I listed out what I wanted and sure enough, within seconds, half of my order was sitting right in front of me. As I was beginning to eat the hot dogs that I ordered, the burger was getting prepped and ready to go. The only thing that I have to note is that you have to be very clear about what you’re ordering. I actually had to ask for my poutine a second time to make sure that I got it.
The slight miscommunication is not something that I would really blame anyone for. As I said previously, the whole operation was kept afloat by two people. These were two, middle-aged Greek individuals, who work because they really need to. So, if you’re armed with enough patience, you’ll be able to get through an experience here without much trouble. Despite any problems with communication you might have, you’ll notice something else that’s really special.
With small places like this, there is something that you can’t help but witness. The service and interaction is extremely special. Throughout my interactions with the more vocal cook, I was dubbed ‘boss’ more than once. They didn’t really deliver really long, eloquent phrases, but ‘you got it,’ was more than enough to serve all the dears and bosses that entered.
My experience at Décarie Hot Dog lasted a very short period of time, but I got to see how this was an important pillar of Ville Saint-Laurent. With the students of Vanier constantly streaming in and out the doors, there is a lasting relationship there. The prices are extremely reasonable, as I managed to order a heck of a lot for under 15 dollars.
All-Dressed Hot Dogs
With a visit here, I couldn’t dare set foot inside without ordering the staple and signature item, the steamie. I can’t tell you how many of these steamies I’ve had in the last 30 years. I grew up with my South Shore variety and I was wondering how these ones would stack up against my beloved home version. These were the first ones to show up and I just had to put down my 20 dollar bill just to properly show these hot dogs respect.
In Quebec, an all-dressed hot dog contains mustard and either sauerkraut or coleslaw. This is the only way that I take my hot dogs. The buns are steamed and that’s the only way it should be, though you can get them toasted here. With each bite, I can say that they were comparable to my favorite ones from my local casse-croute, which I’ll say is high praise.
The next item I just had to try was the poutine. With each review I read online, the fries were always something that received positive feedback. The first thing you’ll notice the sheer portion size. With the hot dogs and the burger, adding a poutine is just asking for it. But, when you come here, you should forget any diet. I should note that a lot of people were fussing and fretting over the supposed end of the world on this particular day. With that in mind, why should anyone play it safe when it comes to eating if the world was to end? If anyone is wondering, I’m glad the world didn’t end, not that I really believed in that. All that matters is that there is a long future of more unhealthy food ahead of us.
Back to the poutine and off that tangent, there are a few things to be said. The fries were just as good as I read about. On their own, they are the perfect accompaniment to the hot dogs. As a part of the poutine, they get overwhelmed by the sauce, which can be described as sweet. The cheese curds didn’t really do it for me. To be clear, it wasn’t anywhere near the worst poutine ever, but it wasn’t a mind-blowing one either.
This all-dressed burger contains cheese and bacon.
Originally, when I ordered, all I asked for was a cheeseburger. Then, I started thinking and remembered that I read that there was a bacon cheeseburger. Seeing that the burger wasn’t close to completion, I inquired if bacon could be added to the burger. With a clear, “you got it, boss,” we were on our way, though it was necessary to add that it would take a few extra moments.
The burger itself was something I wasn’t expecting. When I think of the casse-croute burger, I think of something that’s squished beyond recognition. This burger was by far the opposite of that. It actually looked like a burger with life in it.
The simplicity of the ingredients is also something that made this burger one that I enjoyed. With a lack of things that don’t belong in a burger, the main components of the burger can stand out. This fact allowed the cheese and bacon shine bright.
With the restaurant offering a vast breakfast menu and also a sandwich roster which all have bacon, there was no excuse in that. With my first bite of the bacon portion of the burger, I noted that it was cooked just enough allowing the taste of the bacon to come right through.
The overall burger was sized just right. The meat may have been a bit thin, but the cheese and bacon make sure that it isn’t an impediment. In all, it was a really strong effort and a nice way to wrap up a survey of the main stars of the Décarie Hot Dog menu.
If you’re in Ville Saint-Laurent and looking for something quick that won’t empty your wallet, Décarie Hot Dog is the place that you should definitely check out. They have amassed a reputation that has endured into the 21st Century. Whether it be the hot dogs or the French fries, you can’t go wrong.