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Val’s Bites

by Archives January 20, 2009

Patati Patata
4177 St-Laurent, 514- 844-1206. Cash only.

If I told you that you could get great tasting food prepared almost instantaneously right in front of your eyes would you believe me? Probably. But what if I told you that you could get all that at McDonald’s prices, would you believe me then? Well you better believe it, because that’s exactly what you’ll get at Patati Patata.
As you’ve probably guessed by now, Patati Patata is famous for their French fries and poutines, and let me just say that as a Montrealer who has tried her fair share of poutines, this place is in a league of its own. Not only are the fries thin and crispy, and the sauce ultra-light, but the cheese actually tastes like real cheese, and not like the rubbery chunks we’ve sadly grown so accustomed to.
Also on the menu are burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, soups, salads, eggs and crepes. I had the fish burger and loved it, but take my advice and order two if you’re feeling particularly hungry as the portions are quite small. You can thank me later.
The entire restaurant is no bigger than a bedroom, so be prepared to get close and personal with your neighbour if you decide to come during lunch time. When the food is this good, and the prices that low, word gets out, so go fast before your friends beat you to it.
Mains: $1.75-6.50 plus tax.

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Reservoir
9 Duluth East. 514-849-7779.
Major cards accepted.

I happened to spot Réservoir while on my way to Patati Patata. I’d heard rave reviews from various sources, so I decided to take a detour and see what all the fuss is about. Little did I know this modern day bistro is also a microbrewery, serving six homemade brews daily.
I won’t pretend to be a beer expert, but I can tell you that beer aficionados love Réservoir; and who can blame them? Apart from the beer, Réservoir succeeds in accomplishing the rare feat of being a neighbourhood bistro and a trendy night spot all at once.
Their lunch menu changes daily, and is heavy on fish and meat dishes. Picky eaters and vegetarians: consider yourself warned. I opted for the lasagna with tofu sauce, eggplant and homemade ricotta cheese. Despite being a tad overpriced, I have to give them credit for their delicious ricotta and their light-as-air dough.
After lunch, however, is when the real party starts. As of 5:00 p.m., Réservoir starts serving snack foods like calamari and miniature grilled cheese sandwiches, which of course go perfectly with their beer selection. Personally, I would skip the lunch and opt for the after 5:00 p.m. snack menu. It’s better priced, and who doesn’t enjoy a little people watching? Another option is going Saturday or Sunday for brunch. I have yet to try it, but I hear it’s something else.
Mains: $10.00-16.00 plus tax. Snacks: $6.50-11.00 plus tax.

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Wilensky’s
34 Fairmount, 514-271-0247. Cash only.

Founded in 1932 by Moe Wilensky and immortalized in Mordecai Richler’s 1959 novel, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, Wilensky’s is one of those rare Montreal gems that has managed to remain virtually unchanged over the decades. Everything from the newspaper-lined walls and squeaky barstools, to the fountain sodas and Wilensky’s special have withstood the test of time.
What is the Wilensky special you might ask? Well, aside from being one of the best tasting foods on the planet, it’s a sandwich made with slices of all-beef salami, all-beef bologna and mustard on a roll pressed flat from the grill. Apart from a chopped egg sandwich and a hot dog, it’s the only item on Wilensky’s menu, and trust me, it’s all you need. Order it with a side of pickles and cherry coke, and you’ll be in heaven.
But before you go there are two important rules to remember: 1) The special is always served with mustard. 2) It’s never cut in half.
On the off chance you forget one of these rules, they are written on a large yellow poster on the wall. Also, Wilensky’s is not the place to linger. There are only nine seats, and the unwritten policy is to eat it and beat it.
Opening hours are from 9-4 Monday through Friday. Enjoy!
Wilensky’s special: $4.00- $4.50 (with cheese).

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