39 Saint-Paul E.
Metro: Place d’Armes, Champ-de-Mars
Bus: STM 14, 55, 129, 715
Visit: January 10, 2013
Sometimes, when you least expect it, you’ll find something that you’re looking for without even realizing it. In life, that’s sometimes the best way to run into something worthwhile. Just under a year ago, I was introduced to the Vieux-Port Steakhouse. As promised in the post from last year, I did indeed make a return visit. However, best laid plans were completely blown to bits when a random menu discovery was made.
As a lot of you might know, Happening Gourmand 2013 is now underway. Happening Gourmand is a month long event where a group of restaurants offers a special menu. For a very reasonable amount of money, you can get an appetizer, main dish, and a dessert. In reality, you are saving a whole great deal of money if you choose just right.
Last year, while still a Happening Gourmand rookie, I had the chance to visit 2 restaurants. While Vieux-Port Steakhouse was the second visit, the first place I chose was home to a burger and some shady dealings on my behalf. With the past being the past, it’s time to look at the future. This year, I’m hoping to set foot in at least 4 restaurants, some that I’m really looking forward to.
The idea to come to Vieux-Port Steakhouse was clearly that of my loyal eating teammate, Steakman. His visit last year left him in awe and he spent the next few months reminding me that we had to come back. Each part of his visit was something that really impressed him, from the decor all the way to the service. I’ll be honest, I was quite happy there as well and despite wanting to try new places, I obliged his request.
Our entry into the restaurant that evening took us right back to January of 2012. Literally nothing had changed during the nearly 12 months it took for us to return. I’m not really going to go over all the minute details of the restaurant. For that, you can take a gander at the previous post, which goes into the minute and monotonous details about those things. The purpose of our visit was to feast and have the things that make us happy, meat.
Going into this evening, I had a game plan in mind and I knew pretty much what I wanted to order. When I picked up the menu, my eyes honed in directly on the special Happening Gourmand section and that’s where it stayed for a while. It wasn’t until Steakman left to use the facilities that I started looking at the menu a little more closely. In my mind, I started to wonder if anything changed in the menu. As I’m scanning, there it was and I couldn’t believe it. It’s kind of like a self-fulfilling prophecy coming true. You think about it and then poof, there it is. For anyone who’s wondering, I tried that the next night at my favorite Chinese restaurant, it didn’t work.
With my amazement causing my jaw to drop, I made that split decision to go off of the special menu and into more expensive regular menu territory. Let me tell you, it was probably worth every penny, no matter how costly it was.
The rest of the story pretty much writes itself. Our server was on par with the one from last year. Each question, request, and inquiry were met with the utmost courtesy. When we entered, near the restaurant’s evening opening, it was still a tad bit empty. As time passed, things started heating up and the room was jam packed.
This was the Happening Gourmand appetizer that Steakman chose. With my main dish, I had a smaller version of this. Having had the chance to try this, there’s really not much you can say. For you mesclun fans, it really is a nice combination, though I prefer regular lettuce.
From the regular menu, I had the Caesar salad. The rather large pieces of lettuce were topped with cheese and generous amounts of crouton pieces. Outside the rather large pieces of lettuce, I quite enjoyed having this salad. In all, it’s akin to starting off with a huge bang and the salad did just that.
Tenderloin Beef Medallion with Bacon
If this dish looks familiar, it was the same one I had last year during my first visit to VP Steakhouse. Based off of my first glimpse of this year’s version, it doesn’t all that much different. This differed from Steakman’s impression when he asked me if it looked smaller. But, that all dissipated when he took his first bite. When I asked for his thoughts, he made sure to mention that it was a complete slam dunk and he’s already planning his next visit.
This burger contains house aioli, Swiss cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomatoes, and bacon.
In Burger Search history, this will be only the second Kobe burger to ever be tried. For something that comes right out of left field, it was something that pleasantly surprised me. It’s basically the first question I asked of the majority of restaurants I enter, whether or not there is a burger. My curiosity piqued and I was ready to go.
Before I get to the closed burger, I have to comment on the copious amount of bacon that’s on top of the burger. When you take a look at it melded with the onions, it looks pretty good. That amount of bacon shows that the burger means business. Then again, looking at something isn’t quite enough to make judgement. This was one of the few cases where I wasn’t able to really size up the burger without taking a bite.
When you take a bite, the first thing you get is that all the right components are there. The mix of ingredients, like the bacon and the onions really make for an interesting taste. It shows that some thought was put into the creation of this burger. It’s not like someone just thought of throwing something on a menu just for the sake of attracting people like me.
While the choice of ingredients worked well for the most part, there were two things that didn’t quite live up to my expectations. The first one was the Swiss cheese. When you have something strong like bacon or onions, the cheese needs to be able to keep up. Swiss cheese tends to just be there and not much past that.
The second thing that didn’t work well in my expectations was the actual meat. I don’t have much Kobe beef experience to compare it to, but I have to go off of my regular beef experience to make a judgement. The crux of any burger is the meat. Without that, you have something I wouldn’t hope to call a burger. In this case, the meat tasted good enough, but it was a tad bit too overdone. With that, it brought the burger down a few notches.
If I have to think about my second try at a Kobe beef burger, it would be something that I hope to have other attempts at. Outside two slight issues, the burger at the Vieux-Port Steakhouse is worth trying. All the elements are there and it comes from a place that really works on making their customers happy.
Much like last year, this was Steakman’s dessert. This was something that he thoroughly enjoyed.
Chocolate Mousse Cake
With that fact that I ordered off of the special menu this year, I had the chance to peruse what other dessert options were available. Last year, I mistakenly called what I ordered a chocolate mousse cake, but in fact, this year’s dessert is the real deal and just the way I like it.
I had high hopes for this cake and they really paid off. Each bite was just as good as any other chocolate mousse cake I ever had in the last year. No parts of the cake were rough as it was all smooth, all the while going down easy.
I came into Vieux-Port Steakhouse with a mind that was ready for grilled shrimp and a soup. But, when I found the information that rocked my world, it was something that made my night. In a new Burger Search record of 50 dollars, taxes and tips included, I was able to have three items that were worth each and every penny. I may have not ordered from the special menu, but it was indeed a special night.