[Montreal] Joe Beef

I figured that I’d tack this post onto an already existing thread on Joe Beef because… why wouldn’t there be a Joe Beef thread?! Well, I couldn’t find one. At any rate, friends have been going here for years, I’ve been watching the “adventures” of yet another set of chefs/owners who were excessive & are now cutting back and estufarian stated (in another thread) that the food he had during his last visit was not as exciting as the menu & he wanted other opinions. Time for me to review my meal here 5 nights ago, n’est pas? Let me start by saying that we’ve reserved for another dinner later this month, so I guess that sums it up.
We drank good wines. Started with white, ended with red, all by the glass. I dont remember the specifics, only that they werent pet/nat so I was happy (more about that some other time). My wife started with escargots and they were large, plump, tasty and in a very rich, use the bread to mop up sauce. She loved them & I didnt get one. But I did get a piece of bread with lots of sauce. I had the quenelle & this was also in a very rich, dark sauce. It was great. A little small for the price, but more than enough to begin a dinner. I’ve eaten lots of quenelle (in Lyon, in NYC at Le CouCou & in Paris) — this might’ve been my favorite of all. Seriously. An incredibly well composed dish. As her main, my wife got the duck from the daily blackboard list and topped it with the optional foie. I’m always happy when she orders what I think will be too much, as that means I get some. I got a mere forkful. It was really good. I had the pork loin (from the blackboard as well) and it was also a perfect dish. And the fries were good too, although we left over some so as to finish the other dishes and leave room for a shared dessert.
As an aside, I just want to mention that we gave up our table to sit at the bar and that this was a great choice. Of course, coming from Brooklyn, it occurred to me that I should’ve sublet the table to finance our dinner but, hey, this is Montreal & they dont do crass here (I dont think). The bar seats gave us a chance to talk food with several long time energetic, loyal staff who were fun.
Yeah, we liked the place. Total bill was CA$270. While not inexpensive, it was way below what it would cost for a similar meal (if one could be had) at home (Le CouCou would easily be double).


Thank you for the write-up. Wish you have tag on some food photos?!
We ate at ’ Dreyfus, Toronto ’ ( opened by a Joe Beef Alumni, a former sous chef ) the other day. The food were excellent especially the crispy potato croquette sticks paired with Foie and the Flounder in creamy shellfish broth! Yummm! :yum: :yum:


I’d be more than happy to post photos of the food if I had any. However, I dont take them. Sorry.


Thanks for the review (sorry for the delay; been travelling and my ancient tablet uses a browser that can’t load HO - nor an updated browser as insufficient storage). I suspect my experience was slanted by the COVID difficulties in 2021 - will put it back on my radar if we can get back this summer.
And, I wasn’t impressed with Le Coucou (at any price); thought they ‘cheated’ on the chicken by removing the wings before cooking.

And a slight aside to reply to ‘The Charles’: I found Dreyfus as disappointing as my meal at Joe Beef. Haven’t been back there either - but a possibility that both have improved!

Good to know! I like quenelles, too.

I haven’t been to Joe Beef since 2013. I liked the meal back then. Hoping to visit Montréal this year.

I have yet to try Dreyfus (in TO). Hopefully, this month or next.

Just as an aside, menus offering quenelles are rare but not non-existant in Montreal. We recently dined at Chez Leveque & I had quenelle as my main. It was a perfectly acceptable dish &, if it were the only possible one in Montreal, I would be ok with repeating the experience. However, like the rest of the food there, it didn’t rise to the level at which I’d recommend going. As I don’t usually write up places that I don’t really like (especially in these times where we’re (hopefully) barely past the industry’s COVID recovery) unless there’s a reason to warn folks away, it may never be mentioned by me elsewhere.


I’m the same way about places I don’t enjoy, or that I find okay. I tend to say the restaurant and/or food is fair , decent, meh or mediocre. Or I might mention I wouldn’t go out of my way for this particular restaurant, but it’s fine if you happen to be nearby.

I don’t bother mentioning places I wouldn’t return to, if they are in the 5/10- 7/10 zone. I would be likely to mention a place I’d consider to be a 3/10.

I don’t tend to write negative reviews. It’s already hard enough to be a restaurateur these days.

I might send a friend or acquaintance a warning about specific dishes I did not enjoy, or a place I wouldn’t bother with, through a direct message.

I will say, I’m not as fussy as some restaurant goers who post online. I am completely okay with takeout Chinese food and chain food. I can’t think of many meals in Montréal that I would call disappointing. Mediocre, a few. On my last trip in Nov 2019, everything was a 7/10 or better in my books. Same with my trip in May 2019. I suppose I change my expectations depending on the price point and style of the restaurant. I also don’t put much faith in other people’s recommendations because mileage varies so much.

I was more of a food snob 20 years ago than I am now.

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