What’s your favorite restaurant?
That’s the question I’m most often asked as a restaurant-obsessed writer. The answer to that question is far from simple, as I don’t have just one particular favorite place I like to go. When I’m out and about on a night off from openings and launches, there are a few places that whet my appetite for good food and fun and Hachoir (on the corner of St. Denis and Rachel) is high on my list of not to miss restaurants. They have some of the best food in the city, a great atmosphere and wonderful service, all the key ingredients in making a restaurant great.
A little over a month ago I popped by Hachoir for a drink and a quick bite with a couple of friends who were visiting Montreal from Newfoundland. We were seated at the bar (as usual) and Alain, one of the owners who always drops over to say hi, scooted over with a little scoop for me. Hachoir was adding a few new items to the menu and I was going to have first dibs on getting a taste.
Early in December, we went back to Hachoir and pulled up the bar; ready to dig into a few of the new features they recently added to the menu. Before even taking the menus into our hands we were offered a couple of cocktails to get the night rolling. I tried the unbeatably spicy Old Fashioned while my partner sipped on Hachoir’s refreshing take on the G&T. Fred makes a damn good cocktail. Never too sweet and always perfectly balanced. After ordering our food he had us try his bourbon lemonade. It was a perfect balance of bourbon and just-sweet-enough lemonade; the kind of cocktail that you seem to drink without any consequence until you try to get up from your seat. It was fantastic.
For appetizers, I went with the onion soup while my partner chose a small plate of fried halibut accras and a freshly made tartar sauce. This item isn’t new but it’s hard to pass it up when it’s so good. They were lightly fried, warm and crispy, a great choice for the person who doesn’t want to eat too much before the main course. My soup was piping hot and deliciously smoky with large croutons and a slice of cheese melting at the top, the perfect start for a meal late in the fall and winter.
The most intriguing new additions to the menu are a collection of “sloppy joes” that are nothing like those joes we had growing up as kids. These open-faced sloppy joes come served in a hot iron skillet with generous heaps of meat packed between two pieces of artisanal bread. I chose the beef bourguignon sloppy joe that came served with delicious fries and a small salad. The meat was savoury, slow cooked and tender with pearl onions and button mushrooms cooked into the meat. The dish was beautifully presented and caught the eye of a few onlookers who had menus in their hands (and eventually ordered one as well). My partner chose the New York steak, a perfectly cut piece of meat, seared to perfection by the kitchen. Hachoir’s reputation for some of the best cuts of meat in the city is built on not just providing great meats, but also knowing how to cook it properly.
Heading into our dessert we were served up a final beverage, a frothy bourbon milkshake that was sweet and delicious enough to be dessert on its own. Shortly after we polished that off, Alain proudly presented our dessert. He seemed as giddy and excited as we were, to try the tarte Tatin. A traditional upside-down tart, the crust was crisp and buttery, covered with caramelized pears and served with a dollop of ice cream. It wasn’t on the menu yet when we tried it but when you book your next table at Hachoir, be sure to leave room for this dessert.
The new additions to the menu at Hachoir gives us yet another reason to keep coming back to the restaurant. They have kept all the client favorites (like the burgers that I love), which will only means making the decision between old favorites and new choices that much harder.
As one of the most reputable restaurants in the city, Hachoir remains on the top of my favorite places to slowly enjoy a good meal, delicious cocktails in a great nightlife setting.
Photo credit: David Major-Lapierre