701 Cote de la Place D’Armes
Metro: Place d’Armes
Bus: STM 14, 55, 129, 715
Visit: February 1, 2013
With the sixth edition of Happening Gourmand now a thing of the past, it’s time to take a look at the fourth and final place on my itinerary for this year. Located right next to the Palais des Congres, Suite 701 has the distinction of being the place I was looking the most forward to. As I think of my other 3 restaurant visits during the event, I could only wonder if Suite 701 would live up.
In my preparation for Happening Gourmand this year, I was definitely sure that I wanted to make Suite 701 one of my must visit locations. Last year, I was disappointed that I didn’t get the chance to come here. With 2013 being another opportunity, I couldn’t have left the realm of this event without coming here for the burger. I wasn’t the only one who held this restaurant in high regards, my sisters and regular eating accompanier, Steakman, were more than willing to go on this journey with me.
Suite 701 is quite a unique destination. Attached to the Place D’Armes Hotel, Suite 701 has the distinction of sharing a kitchen with one of its many partner restaurants. For that reason, both restaurants have a very similar menu, though one focuses more on being a lounge atmosphere.
Entering the dimly lit room, you can tell that this was a place to be seen. The bar is massive and stretches on for ages. If you click on the website, you’ll see our table in the first picture that pops up. It’s a very nice and elegant place to eat, definitely one of the nicest I’ve ever been in.
In a rare group outing moment, we actually all arrived quite quickly and on time. We were seated immediately and left to our own devices for a little bit while waiting for out group to be complete. The person responsible for serving us was kind and cordial. They made sure to answer all our questions, all the while supplying us with some vital ordering information that we might of not thought of.
Though the service was cordial, it was a tad bit too slow. At times, there were large gaps where we just had to wait. I can understand that the place was busy, but we would have appreciated being checked on when we were all sitting there twiddling our thumbs. At the beginning, we weren’t given enough menus for the entire table. When another menu arrived, it was a piece of paper. I know that’s not major, but I found that a bit odd, or maybe that’s just me.
It seems that when I go out to eat with a group, there’s always a number of things that happen which we find interesting. Every time I’m in the vicinity of Chinatown, which happens to be really close by, there seems to be the need for a emergency fire truck run. Well, the fire truck was climbing the street next to Suite 701 and then, it stopped. Here we are, using our imaginations and someone just had to say that the firefighters were coming inside. I didn’t want to believe it was true. It was at that moment where a see one of the firefighters walking by in the entrance way. Luckily, there wasn’t anything to worry about.
At the tail end of the meal, I was looking around to get a sense of the atmosphere and decor. It was at this point where I started to look towards the ceiling. Suite 701 has quite a tall ceiling and the architecture is something to see. But, it wasn’t the architecture that had me mesmerized. There was this tiny object floating in the air. I wasn’t the only one gazing in that direction as it got the attention of my entire table and some of the staff. Perhaps, Suite 701 is the first magic orientated restaurant in Montreal and no one knows it yet.
This bread is unusual.
A closer look at very interesting bread.
This poutine contains polenta fries, leeks, caramelized onions, pepper sauce, and cheese curds.
About half our table ordered the vegetarian poutine and it was a pretty unanimous feeling of satisfaction.
This bison carpaccio includes Padano shavings mustard emulsions, apple chutney, and homemade chips.
The only person who ordered this appetizer from our table was my ex-colleague friend, Heizenberg, who was fresh off of a sushi outing.
Carpaccio has a special meaning in 2013 for me. I’ve been using this as a recurring joke with one of my colleagues. This particular colleague had the misfortune of trying horse carpaccio a few weeks back. Ever since, I’ve been taking my jabs. I can understand how someone would feel uneasy about eating this, but Heizenberg was happy with this.
Smoked Bacon Parmentier
This soup includes a smoky bacon flavour, spinach, and l’Iles-aux-Grues cheese.
This soup caused a lot of controversy at our table. Before the ordering was underway, a lot of our group were ready to go for this bacon parmentier. But, when the server informed us that this was really a soup, you should’ve seen how many people immediately changed their mind. I, on the other hand, could not go away from ordering something with my favorite word in it.
To start off my meal at Suite 701, I have to say that this soup really hit the spot. You could easily tell that there was that smoky bacon flavour. The soup is not too heavy and there’s nothing that overwhelms you. Outside the taste of bacon, what sets this soup over the top was the inclusion of cheese. I’ve never had cheese in a soup before and I was blown away by this. I was ready to stop right there and call it a night, but there was more to be had.
This beer marinated chicken supreme includes a potato pancake with garlic flower, sauteed beets, and truffle jus.
Half of our group ordered this dish. For all three of the people who had this, they were disappointed. The chicken was too dry in all of their cases. Steakman, at one point, saw the beef that the next table was having and found out it was alright. This dish, in a way, sank our group’s experience.
Cream of Fish Soup
This soup includes rouille, lobster salsa, scallops, and a warm fennel salad.
This was ordered by one of my sisters. We were all wondering if she went off the deep end when she chose this. But, in the end, she was quite happy with the results. It made the rest of us look foolish with our missed opportunities.
This burger contains house pickles, crispy onions, Delices des Appalaches cheese, and bacon.
After a year of waiting to try this burger, the time was finally here. The presentation of the burger is quite unique. There were 2 of us who decided to go the burger route and we were pleasantly surprised by the cutting board approach. Before I get to the actual burger, I want to say that the fries were top notch and I finished them with pleasure.
You’ll see that the pickles came separately outside the burger. I chose to have them by themselves.
Probably the most unique factor of this burger was the fact that it’s a selection of veal. This would be the first burger in the search that would be made of veal. For me, in trying to keep this search going, finding a veal burger is a huge selling point.
Outward appearance is usually the first thing that I pay attention to when I look at my burgers. For this burger, it looks pretty good. The lack of a variety of ingredients makes it a tad bit plain in that respect, but the sheer size of the meat makes up for that.
I want to say that the rest of the burger was wonderful, but I can’t lie. The 2 of us who ordered the burger were quite disappointed. The veal burger has a different consistency that you don’t quite get with beef and this fact caused the burger to lack the most important quality, taste. The meat was rather fine in the way it was grounded. When you combine that with the fact that you didn’t get much punch, you’re left relying on the other components to pick up the slack.
I want to say that the cheese and the onions did a lot for me, but it wasn’t the case. My disappointment for the burger itself caused something that I never felt before in 178 burgers. For the first time, there was another ingredient in the burger that I didn’t notice until more than halfway in and that was the bacon. Now, unless my eyes are failing me, this looks like bacon. We came to the conclusion that it was smoked bacon. There is no mention of it in the special menu, so that leads me to think of something else I won’t ever mention. But, the bacon didn’t leave much of an impact, especially since there was nothing wrong with it.
In the end, the burger is a matter of taste. I really didn’t like this particular burger. I’m not sure if it’s a veal thing or if it’s another reason, but I left disappointed.
For dessert, we were given two choices of verrines created by the pastry chef. Our server then went on to explain that the alternative choice wasn’t so good and that we should all get the chocolate mousse. That actually disappointed one member of our table who wanted to see the other version. For me, chocolate mousse is chocolate mousse.
Chocolate Mousse Verrine
Upon first inspection, it looks like a small dessert. The decorative chocolate placed on top of the glass is a little misleading, especially for simple eaters like yours truly.
Each spoonful of this verrine was actually quite satisfying. For a person who loves his chocolate related desserts, this was a home run. Everyone at the table was quite happy with this.
The fun didn’t quite end just there. If you dug down a bit, you will find a bit of a tougher level of a caramel like element. That just made the verrine all the better.
Suite 701 is a classy looking place where you’d get your drinks after a long day at work. The appetizers and desserts, in a way, book-ended a disappointing main course. If I was going on those two elements, I would be thrilled, but that’s not the case. I was really hoping for the best, but those expectations weren’t fully met.
That wraps up my 2013 Happening Gourmand trek. Overall, I visited 4 different places this year and I found a lot to be happy about. Despite any disappointments I may of had, each location had an element or two that’s worth a revisit. In 2014, I intend on making my third Happening Gourmand visit to complete the places that I haven’t seen yet.