Eating is a pretty amazing activity regardless of where it takes place. But, when you can eat and experience the genius food conceptions of a widely acclaimed Food Network chef and restaurateur it’s a whole different story.
Garde Manger, located in the beautiful area of Old Montreal, is owned and operated by Chef Chuck Hughes. As a television personality starring on Food Network shows such as Chuck’s Day Off, Chuck’s Eat Street, a resident judge on Chopped Canada, and a champion on Iron Chef, this dude definitely knows his stuff.
His restaurant is packed on any given day with eager foodies raring to try his amazing food and restaurant experience. It’s a hot spot, with reservations required to be booked a month in advance.
Sharing style comfort food elevated times a thousand. That’s what Garde Manger does. They embrace decadent and rich flavours that will blow your taste buds out of the water. The menu changes daily, listed in both French and English on chalkboards.
Nestled in the historic area of Old Montreal, this famous spot might be challenging to find as it doesn’t even have a sign. Once you walk in there is a distinct rustic feel, with large wooden beams, and exposed brick. There are a few tables throughout the space dressed with white table clothes and then an array of bar seating (which provides a really unique dining experience- you get to chat with the bartenders and servers who are extremely friendly and helpful). The space feels casual and cozy but refined at the same time.
We needed to review the chalkboard for quite some time before actually deciding what to order. Here’s what we ended up choosing:
To start, a basket of fresh assorted bread with a delicious cream cheese and roasted red pepper dip (bread is and always will be my weakness).
Poutine is a quintessential Montreal food. This , however was not your average run of the mill poutine. Generous chucks of perfectly cooked lobster, sit on top of a mixture of crunchy fries and melty cheese curds. Then topped with a gravy made from a reduction of lobster stock which gives it a deep rich flavour.
Gnocchi, braised beef cheeks, aspiration, hazelnut mushroom crackers
House-made gnocchi with a hearty robust braised beef sauce, fresh zingy pops from the aspiration (also known as brocolini), and an interesting crunch from the hazelnut mushroom crackers- this dish sang together perfectly.
Hanger steak, smashed celery root, radicchio and bone marrow sauce
A whirlwind of flavours coming together atop perfectly cooked pieces of steak. There was a sweetness from the chipolini onions, bitterness from the radicchio and, body and texture from the celery root which all came together as a very composed plate.
Ice Cream Sandwiches with Salted Caramel Sauce
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that dessert might have been my favourite part. These are not the typical ice cream sandwiches you think of getting from an ice cream truck in the summer- they’re quite the opposite actually.
House-made vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two perfectly rectangular brownie squares accompanied by a warm salted caramel sauce. Dunking in each bite was a heavenly moment to savour.
Next time you’re in Montreal Chuck Hughes’ Garde Manger is a must try!
More pretty (i.e delicious) pictures: