A whole lot of flavour in one succulent bite.
Le Gros Jambon is not what you’d expect. Do not be fooled by its nondescript exterior and shabby interior, where its attempt at a pastoral ambiance is rather poor. The gloomy, dimly-lit room is tight and narrow; backless stools are lined along the far right side, facing a white wall of colourful photographs of small children playing and eating sweets.
Our party of four was forced to sit along the counter facing the open kitchen due to the lack of seating options. Evidently, the place was not a spot to sit and enjoy dinner with friends. Yet, with the combination of classic oldies playing in the background, friendly staff, and charismatic chef Ryan Dixon, the old diner vibe started to grow on me.
The menu had an array of original choices and creative combinations. Some of the diners’ favourites include their smoked meat pizza, fish tacos, and their hot dogs—a Gros Jambon creation of buns stuffed with the choice of either bacon and cucumber, chili, smoked meat or one of their specialties, like fried shrimp. Other tasteful options are their sandwiches of pulled pork, rib or the lobster roll. If you’re in for something a little different, I would suggest trying their duck or lobster macaroni and cheese. Their grilled cheese sandwiches also come with a choice of four cheeses, bacon, duck, smoked meat or lobster.
The shrimp hot dog had a great blend of flavours. A reasonable portion of miniature breaded shrimp were jammed into a steamy bun coated with ranch sauce and topped with fresh coleslaw. It was enjoyable and spiced just right.
Le Gros Jambon offers a number of burgers such as the ham and cheese, crab, vegetarian, and their famous Coca-Cola burger—a burger that should automatically be added to your bucket list!
The lobster macaroni and cheese alone is a good enough reason to return. The noodles and chunks of lobster were covered in a creamy lobster sauce and sprinkled with breadcrumbs. It was a tough platter to beat.
Unfortunately, the lobster grilled cheese was disappointing, for it was too rich with butter and cheese.
The food is reasonably priced however, considering its location in Montreal’s Old Port. The platters range from $8-18 per person; though the cost of extra sides and toppings could have been better.
Open since last November, the diner also shares owners with French restaurant L’Orignal, located on the corner of Notre-Dame and St. Alexis.
“We get a lot of business people during the lunch rush,” said Vincent Koronkiewicz, one of the diner’s regular workers. “Breakfast and brunch on weekends are also very busy. We have a whole different menu with specialty dishes, […] but it’s not the best place for large groups since we don’t hold seats or make reservations,” he said.
To those who enjoy a good casual dining experience, Le Gros Jambon makes for a great pit stop.
Le Gros Jambon is located on 286 Notre-Dame St. W.