It’s been some time since Beerism’s own belligerent beer bastard, Noah and I had talked about working on a piece together. Initially we thought about getting a big meal set up where I would cook and he would pair the courses with beer. We’re still gonna do that at some point but when he told me about the concept behind Prohibition Montreal it seemed like the perfect opportunity to smash our blog worlds together and suck on some suds and get some grub. The menu at Prohibition is cajun influenced which is right up my alley but what makes this especially interesting to both of us is that all beer they carry is from the quickly becoming legendary microbrewery Dieu du Ciel. The flavor profiles of these beers vary tremendously so it should be a ton of fun to match them with food.
We had some time to kill before our 19h reservation so I suggested we grab a few pints to, you know, stretch out our stomachs and warm up before the big sprint later. What? Runners do it too! We don’t want to hurt ourselves. Noah, being the hardcore beer guy he is, mocks me openly for thinking any old pints would do and counters with bringing some sexy microbrews to nearby NDG park since it’s a nice day. Fine but I’m buying nice pint glasses so the cops don’t mistake me for street people…again. As I get close to our meeting spot I slam into a sea of people. Holy sweet merciful crap! They’ve closed Monkland street for Grand Prix weekend. Neither of us knew about this and this could throw a serious wrench into our plans since there are literally a billion people out and about.
Finally seated comfortably in the park I ask what we’ll be drinking and Noah tells me to close my eyes and open my mouth. Nice try buddy but The Phatman only falls for that trick once! Having some cold ones in the park, yes I brought ice packs, on a spectacular Montreal spring evening is tough to beat, especially when Captain Beerism (he makes me call him that) brings along some top notch ale. My main fear with dinner tonight is that due to the festivities all around that the place will be jammed and our table won’t be ready. The host greets us streetside, it’s a cozy, warm looking basement spot with some sweet terrace space, and shows us to a terrace table with exactly zero delay. The dude even brings us some blackened grilled shrimp as we’re going over the menu. I think I might like this place muchly.
Ask any friend of mine the agony I go through when I look at menus and struggle to order. It’s painful to watch so I’m told. Tonight is easy though, almost too easy…Cheesy corn fritters? someone try to stop me. For my main it doesn’t even take a second thought: blackened catfish on creamy polenta with rapini. That’s a perfectly constructed plate right there. I would be a dirtbag if I didn’t order it. Captain Beerism goes with a salmon tartare to start and some classic fried chicken served with some fried challah bread. They Quebec it up a bit by serving it with some maple syrup. You may have noticed by now I haven’t gone into beer details at this point. Have no fear, Captain Beerism is on the case and will be posting a piece all about our liquid assets that night and when he does I’ll link it here. I will say this however: it’s a bold step they take here to go all microbrew and I applaud them for it. I hope other spots around the city follow suit. Dynamic food flavors deserve dynamic drink flavors.
Now what the hell was I talking about? Ah yes! Food time! I’ve got a good glow on from the park drinking so the food shows up at the perfect time cause my stomach was right about to start eating itself. I sample Captain Beerism’s tartare and from first look it’s well prepared and the fish looks like good quality, fresh stuff. With the rising popularity of tartare you can find some real hacked shit out there. It’s a solid dish if not maybe a little underseasoned. A little lime zest in here would zazz it up nicely. Alright, onto the corn fritters. Does anything beat fried stuff with cheese? No, it doesn’t. Hot damn I could eat a mountain of these things! The dipping sauce has a nice little zip to it and the balance of sweet and salty in the fritters is flat out awesome.
Main dishes show up and I’m kinda jealous a little of Captain Beerism’s plate cause that challah bread looks and smells like fried French toast. I take sample of his plate and I really like the combo of maple syrup on the crispy chicken batter. As I thought, that bread is ridiculously addictive. Onto my plate we go! First I test out is the polenta. A poorly done polenta can be pretty much inedible or uneatable if you will but no worries here. It’s creamy, nicely seasoned and works great with the bitterly awesome, or awesomely bitter rapini. The catfish is blackened just right. Still moist and flavors but with a nice, spiced black crust.
Portion size was perfect but I’m still hankering for a little more grub so I order some bread pudding for dessert and Captain Beerism gets some kinda crazy brownie concoction. We went through a bit of a delay for dessert but with the madness around us that is Grand Prix weekend it is a minor price to pay for a killer bread pudding. It’s easy for a restaurant to provide great service (at least it should be!) when things go smoothly. A testament to truly great service is how the team handles a curveball. So ya, we waited for dessert a little but the staff was top notch about it and were incredible all night.
I dig the vibe of the place too. Laid back with a simple, sleek decor. By the bar all night was a dude cranking out some great jazz on a slick little white piano too. I always like coming to this part of town and now I’ve got an extra reason to head back. Captain Beerism is a little stumbly now but he is happily rubbing his belly and once again telling me to close my eyes and open my mouth even though he has no beer left.