Industria Brasserie Italienne
100 Peel St. (at Wellington St. in the Alt Hotel)
Chef Hats: 3.5
Sometimes one must venture out of their territory to find good and adventurous things. This was the case this time when our craving set in for a slice of good pizza and not much was to be found in the Grand Island of wasteland called the West Island. What is happening people!
While every neighborhood in this city is booming with new restaurants opening daily, the West Island has become stagnant. On top of that, the long list of restaurants cited for unclean conditions on one street alone is enough to make you hurl. Do West Islanders have no imagination; all one can find is a list of franchise type restaurants that can be found all over the city and the ones that are independently run are mediocre at best. I returned lately to my beloved Mozza Enoteca and their pizza fell flat, Del Friscos is pathetic, Le Vieux Four needs a whole rehab of their staff and menu and then we are left with the generic pizzeria, but who wants those. The crust is too thick, the tomato sauce is stale and the cheese looks plasticized. Not fit for human consumption, I wouldn’t even serve it to my dog. So for now till someone wakes up and realizes that some of us humans in the West Island do have discriminating palates and good taste buds, I will be eating elsewhere in our vast city.
Enter Industria Brasserie Italienne in Griffintown, situated in the new hip Alt Hotel (Le Germain Group) at the base of Peel Street. Industria has its soft launch on July 11th 2014, along with GEMA in Little Italy that day serving pizza for $ 5.00 a slice. Competing head to head with Stefano Faita may seem a little pretentious, but hey, if you think you have got it flaunt it. Industria is run by chef is Sergio Mattoscia of the now defunct Macaroni Bar on St Laurent. Mattoscio made his name as a contestant on Top Chef Canada and his claim to fame has got to be his famous gnocchi poutine.
Industria is located on the second floor of the hotel in an industrial looking space. The restaurant can be a pleasure or a disturbance on the senses. Depending on what type of person you are, let me extrapolate. The place is vast and can be a little cold. Not cold in the sense of decor as the red hues of the plush red lounge chairs add a vibrant color to the room, but cold in terms of heating. With its high ceilings, metal chairs, black leather banquettes and floor to ceiling glass wine cellar the feeling is cold especially if the heat is not turned up.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking the place. I loved the decor as soon as I walked in. A little Las Vegesque, I found the ambiance to be very hip young urbanite. The music was cool, the lounge area relaxing and the bar area fun. It’s a great place for all age groups, no matter where you sit. The space is immense and we got to sit in an area between both that was very private. I was in a good mood and looking forward to some decent food.
We decided to start of our meal by warming up with two glasses of red Santa Christina from the region of Tuscany, Italy at $ 10.00 each. Our waiter Marc, very hipster looking was very accommodating and efficient, not your average serious Italian waiter, he fit perfectly with the look and feel of the restaurant.
We ordered our usual, a plain Margherita pizza at $ 15.00 for Frenchie and a Pizza Freschezza -$ 19 for me which consisted of Prosciutto, arugula, cherry tomatoes, and parmesan cheese and truffle oil. A reasonable price to start with. We were brought a little bowl of red chili pepper paste as recommended by our waiter to enhance the pizza and a pair of scissors.
Our pizza arrived shortly thereafter on two separate wooden butcher blocks. Two slabs of thick square shaped pizzas with generous amounts of fresh cheese. The Margherita had one sliver of sardine on it, but could have done with a little more fresh basil. The Freschezza had a generous portion of prosciutto and not much arugula which suited me fine as I always feel some places top it with too much salad anyways.
What I found super different was the scissors and I made a comment to the waiter that I felt right at home as my mom used to cut her pizza with a scissor instead of a pizza cutter. The old fashioned way, we laughed about that. You can tell that the chef is a true Italian when he serves you scissors with the pizza. The pizzas were both tasty and of the right consistency and thickness. Not too thin and not too doughy. The pizzas were topped with fresh quality ingredients and they were just plainly delicious with the right seasonings. The spicy chili mixture enhanced the pizza furthermore, but I did not really taste the truffle oil. The pizzas were both filling and satisfying, we devoured the entire pizza not leaving a piece and we moved on to our night cap, coffee. We had the usual, one short and one long espresso. This completed the meal perfectly.
An hour and a half into the meal we were done. I was still cold and I opted for the warmth of home. Too bad it was about a 35-40 minute ride back, but worth every minute. Maybe I will move to Griffintown, the place needs more Italians.