The setting for Boris Bistro in Old Montreal at 465 Rue McGill is a bit unconventional in that their terrace is between two office buildings, with the façade of the building still in place for a store front look. Behind the façade the terrace is open to the sky! A large awning and a number of umbrellas provide protection to the tables and planters arranged across the paving stones.
On Tuesday evening it was stinking hot. Although we had a 3 day old reservation, we still didn’t get placed on the terrace. Our table was however just inside the restaurant looking out over the open space as they use only a collapsible wall to divide inside from out. I have seen one review refer to Boris Bistro as spare, chic and trendy. I am not too sure I would have found better words myself. So as the night humidity permeated us as we sat on the outer edge of inside, we still felt like we were part of a scene.
The menu provided appetizers and mains. Two of us did a tapas approach and took two appetizers and then dessert as our dinner plan. I didn’t manage to catch pictures of all the dishes but I will try to talk to them anyway. The cozy mood lighting did nothing for my picture taking.
Endives, beets, walnuts and blue cheese salad $8.00. This was one of my dishes. It was bursting with the strong flavours of the beets, blue cheese and walnuts (really, really fresh walnuts). They didn’t say what the dressing was but it had zing. Raspberry? Something citrus?
Chilled yellow and red beet soup $6.75. I didn’t sneak a taste but I did marvel at the steady hand that delivered this dish with the yellow beet soup still in a nice circle.
Two other appetizers ordered were: Tapenade trio (olives, red peppers, artichokes) $9 and Mushroom cappuccino topped with rosemary cream $6.75. I did have a good taste of the tapenade trio as there were ample portions of the 3. When the toasts ran out, people used the excellent french baguettes as tapenade ‘vessels’. The artichoke was a particular standout. And who doesn’t love the saltiness of olives.
Caponata on mild goat cheese with tomato coulis and virgin oil $11. I decided to try a dish I had never had before. And I was feeling on the vegetarian side this night. For those of you who have never had caponata before, here are few things you might like to know about this Sicilian inspired aubergine dish. It is a cooked vegetable salad with eggplant, celery, pine nuts, tomatoes and onions seasoned with a sweetened vinegar. The pickled taste was pretty puckery! I felt so righteous eating this dish but who really knows what calories may have been lurking in each bite.
Creamy sage ravioli with pine nut emulsion $8.50. I did manage to do a ‘neighbour tax’ when this dish landed on the spot beside me. This is the appetizer portion and is a pretty rich but ‘oh so good’ dish. I couldn’t imagine eating it as a main, considering that creamy richness.
Everyone else had mains: Duck risotto with oyster mushrooms, sage and orange cream sauce $20 or the Grilled salmon and caramelized walnuts on baby spinach salad $17.75. The diner having the risotto felt that the rice was undercooked. I like to think I know my risotto so I went in for a dive. I do like an ‘al dente’ but I would say I would agree that there were too many pockets of ‘crunchy’ in this particular preparation. The waiter said that this was how they made it. The diner ate her way around the rice (if there is such a technique!) and went after just the duck and mushroom morsels.
French fries (in duck fat) with Boris’ mayonnaise $4.50. I ordered a serving of the famous fries for the table to taste. Kudos all around. It was a big serving so I am glad it was a team effort.
Chocolate marquise, salted butter, caramel $3 for taster; $8 for regular. I went for the taster. The chocolate marquise was wanting for nothing. I had plenty of caramel to enjoy drowning my chocolate nugget in each bite.
Maple crème brûlée $8. More ‘neighbour taxing’ took place here. In fact the whole table got into the spirit. Although I like to see a more evenly broiled top, it was tasty and cracked as it should. The custard had a velvety cream to it.
Our server treated us well. And whenever I am in a group of more than 4, I know patience needs to rank high. We seemed a bit flitty but he took it all in stride. And we went a bit crazy on the bread. He would have done us a favour if he had said ‘stop’. I know, I for one, had too much of a good thing.
Other than the disappointment with the risotto, the evening flowed seamlessly. I know there is nothing they could do about the 99% humidity. Our skin never looked so supple. I would consider going back to Boris Bistro on a future trip to Montreal. I would love to enjoy the terrace on a sunny day in the mid-afternoon. Being in Old Montreal is a plus and I appreciated that it didn’t feel touristy. The problem with Montreal though is that there is just too many good food establishments to try. But I will figure all that out next time.
465 Rue McGill
Mon to Fri: 11:30 am – 11 pm
Sat to Sun: Noon – 11 pm
Mon: 11:30 am – 2 pm
Tues to Fri: 11:30 am – 2 pm; 5 – 9 pm
Sat: 6 pm – 9 pm