3900 de Verdun
Metro: De L’Eglise
Bus: STM 37, 58, 61, 107, 108
Visit: March 22, 2013
Time and time again, the best types of places to visit for nearly any kind of quick fix are your local neighborhood haunts. These tiny places are full of history and personality, which makes things all the more interesting. The borough of Verdun has one of those places tucked in an out of the way part. That place is known as Pierrette Patates.
Over the course of the last 184 burgers, the most unique places were the ones where you knew it wasn’t such a large operation. You don’t quite get that charm from a place that can seat hundreds of people. Also, when you have a menu that’s chock full of pretentious items, you immediately feel disconnected to what you’re eating. There are those places that still offer the nice, simple items that we all grew up with, all included with a slice of charisma.
Pierrette Patates was always a place on my list, but it wasn’t really at the front. A few weeks ago, while reading an online post about Montreal burgers, I came across a picture that cemented my need to seek it out. If you really think about it, that’s how most things happen, based off the whims of one simple picture. That picture alone made me want to try the special offering named after Pierrette.
I entered the restaurant in the middle of a Friday afternoon and almost immediately, I could tell just how small the place was. There were just 3 booths and about half a dozen stools set up at the counter. All of the booths were taken and I decided to place myself at the counter. It took me a few moments, but I managed to spot what I wanted and we were on our way.
The tiny restaurant is staffed by two cooks and 1 server. It isn’t a very large operation, but it seems to work. When I was ready to order, it was the main cook who took my order. What I really noticed was their proficiency in both official languages. As per normal, I completed my transaction in French and that was done without any issues.
It was when my order was placed that I noticed that some of the booths were clearing up. The cook, being quite considerate, asked me if I wanted to move there. Normally, something like that would never have been thought of. So, that particular courtesy earned a great deal of points for me.
Perhaps one of the reasons I love going to these smaller places is the fact that I get to observe things that normally wouldn’t be seen in bigger restaurants. The first of a series of observations came from the customers. With the place picking up business, the steady stream of people gave a lot of fodder to spin out. The first notable conversation was between the first regular and the cook. They went back and forth on being cars or pick-up trucks. Right then and there, I knew what kind of place I was dealing with.
The second regular comes in and it just happened to be at the same time as a song by House of Pain was playing on the radio. The discussion about whether or not ‘Jump Around’ and its release date was something quite interesting to listen to. Then again, the song is now over 20 years old and that makes me feel old.
There are even younger regulars at the restaurant. There was this one adolescent waiting for a take-out order. To wait, they sat down at the booth in front of me. Let me just say that it was interesting trying to do my photographing duties while being stared at by this person, but that’s life. It was more interesting to see the cook come by and ask about this person’s brother.
The interaction between the staff was also something of note. A few burgers back, I noted how some staff members were too busy bickering with each other to take care of service. Here, it was the total opposite. You could see just how well the various staff members got along with each other. The place is so tiny that I heard literally everything that was said, but it was enough to know that this would be a place that I would return to regularly if I was a resident of the neighborhood.
The observations don’t really limit themselves to staff or people waiting for take-out, but to the other tables. The booth behind me consisted of a small family with children. At a point, I noticed that they ordered 4 pogos (corn dogs) and that’s where I wondered if that’s all they were eating. Plus, I find it unusual to see people go out to order them at a restaurant, when you can make it much better at home. Then again, there was relief when the multiple plates of poutine made their way to the booth minutes later.
The menu at Pierrette Patates is your litany of what you’ll expect at your local casse-croute. They have everything from pizza to submarines. It’s the kind of place that can keep you busy for a while if you wanted to try everything. The thing that I really liked was the fact that it’s quite easy on the budget. I managed to order all that I wanted with a drink for under 10 dollars, something that I haven’t done in months.
This burger contains lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mustard, relish, cheese, and bacon.
Casse-croute burgers aren’t normally what you’d put up as the best burgers on the planet. Also, you wouldn’t normally start your search in places like these, but you really need to turn over every single stone. Needless to say, I was looking forward to this one.
What you see before you is the amalgamation of all your classic burger fixings. I wasn’t really expecting something mind-blowing and this is the right way to start. The burger is simple and it doesn’t really require much else to make it better.
The first thing I noticed was the size of the patty. It was considerably smaller than the buns. I really didn’t think of it as a major issue, but I would regret that thought a little later on in the consumption period. When you pick up the burger, you have something considerable in size and that’s a good thing.
Perhaps the one thing that puzzled me was the placement of ingredients. As you can see in this picture, the tomatoes and the bacon looked quite awkward. I even tried the switch them around a bit to make things more stable, but that wasn’t an easy task either. I think it all goes back to the way the bacon was cooked here. A stable burger makes thing so much easier to deal with.
Taking a bite out of this burger was quite the pleasure. The only thing I might have done without was the mustard, but that was a small price to pay. The ingredients were all thought out rather well. The cheese and the bacon did their job well leading to no regrets in that department.
I was feeling quite good at this point, that is, until part of the meat fell out of the burger. I was thinking that it was only part of the patty, but I was wrong. It turned out that it was the rest of the patty that I didn’t finish. I picked it up and ate it without really thinking. I picked up the rest of the burger and there was no meat left. In reality, it wasn’t such a big deal since I had enough of the burger to judge it. The bonus was that I got to finish with a really nice BLT. That’s looking on the bright side for you. You may now judge me.
For a casse-croute burger, it’s a pretty good attempt. I wouldn’t really hesitate recommending it to anyone, just making sure to mention that advanced burger eating skills are required here. For the price and the simplicity, you can’t really go wrong here.
Pierrette Patates is the kind of place that a neighborhood is based around. The wide variety of simple menu items makes it a place that will go easy on the budget. But, if you have the time to sit down and enjoy a meal over there, I’m pretty sure you’ll witness a real slice of Montreal.