The dawning of the food truck era in Montreal exposed me to a kick ass paella courtesy of Lucille’s. I swore at the time that I needed to get to their restaurant in NDG ASAP. Alas, life moves quickly with two young kids so fast-forward 8 months and I’ve finally managed to make my way there with legendary food crammer and ferociously famished fiendish friend, Shawn. It works out well since I love me some fresh springtime seafood anyhow.
They call it an oyster dive bar and I get it as soon as we walk in. A small, chill place with good tunes and little room to maneuver, it’s immediately welcoming as is the hostess who greets us. I am a barfly at heart and I’m perfectly happy when she offers us seats at the bar. A happy surprise is seeing the long metal bins overflowing with a variety of oysters. So tempting but today we are tight for time and if I start on oysters I can’t stop. But don’t worry little shelled beauties I’ll be back for you another day soon. For now I’m just pumped to be watching an efficient shucker man popping those babies open with ease. Far too often have I seen proclaimed shucker men and women struggle immensely with the task.
It sucks the bag that we are in a hurry again tonight. I’m quickly falling for the place and it feels like a good spot to let loose and party a little. What’s the rush with everything? Why are we always running to do? Why can’t we just be sometimes? Ok woah, half a pint and I’m already talking like a hippie. Simmer down Phatman. Rare are the times that I look at a menu and immediately know what I want but when I have a gravlax salmon salad calling out to me how can I not accept the charges? Shawn starts with some sexy sounding fish tacos that I hadn’t even noticed on the menu damn it! He’s a tricksy food crammer that one. I’ll have to pilfer a sample of those when he isn’t looking.
Our starters come out promptly and are sexily presented. Shawn’s tacos look ridiculously delicious, or as cool kids would say ridic delish. Thank God I’m not cool. The gravlax salad is even better than I expected. Usually I’ve been served gravlax in thin slices but this is cubed which I find represents the bold flavor so much better. It’s like a fancied up sashimi. A beautiful part of this plate is a breaded soft boiled egg. Oozy yolk makes everything better. I tried to sneak a bite of the tacos but Shawn forked me good right on the back of the hand. That smarts like hell. When I ask if they’re at least good he says “Mmmmmfpphhhh get….away….from….plate” So I’ll take that to mean they were quite satisfying.
Betwixt starters and main dishes our server and the shucker man check on us a few times to make sure all is well without making us feel rushed or bothered. Honestly I’m digging the service here. Seems like a well run joint that has everything rolling along smoothly and everyone seems genuinely friendly. Something I noticed is that there’s a high number of regulars coming in that are recognized by the staff. You can’t get much more of a better sign than that.
Ok seriously, having these oysters just staring at me the whole time is cruel. I’m close to shucking a few with my knife on the down low when our main plates arrive. That bastard Shawn has got another zazzy looking plate in front of him: a sunflower seed encrusted halibut on a cucumber salad. I will ask extremely politely from a safe distance if I can try this dish. I went with a surf and turf that included a half rack of ribs, a lobster roll and some fries. The ribs were cooked how I like them, tender enough to pull away from the bone but with still a little resistance to them. Pull way from the bone…just think of the amazing jokes I could make if I was a pervert. The fries were pretty solid and since they were served under the ribs they soaked up some smokey porky goodness. At this point I got a taste of the halibut and was impressed by how it was cooked with a nice crunchy crust but was still moist and flaky. Not easily done with such a thick cut of fish. Shawn wasn’t crazy about the cucumber salad underneath but was a big fan of everything else. He didn’t even try to stab me with anything this time around.
And now we come to the lobster roll. Hot damn this is the star of the show right here. Sweet, juicy lobster with a nice tangy mayo sauce. I added a few drops of hot sauce for some zip and it worked well with the sweetness of the lobster. I might just get oysters and lobster rolls next time I’m here. It’s too bad we weren’t a few more peeps. It would have been cool to order some giant seafood platters to share. I would have liked some more time in here too so I could sample a few more things,maybe get some dessert and ask a few more questions but I know I’m going to come back. Maybe they’ll even let me become a regular. I think it’s the type of joint my lady friend would really dig. A must try if you’re a seafood fan and if you aren’t? Well I would say that I find that suspicious and that I mistrust you but the staff here would tell you they’ve got some killer steaks here too. Great spot in a great corner of town and led by chef Mark Gaffney, Lucille’s also offers a catering service. But seriously, if you don’t like great seafood you got problems.