1030 Avenue Laurier O, / rue Hutchison
Telephone : (514) 279-7355
Cost: $ 82.78
Chef Hats: 3.5
Chez Lévèque is a classic Parisian style Brasserie located in the heart of Outremont, it is situated on a stretch of Laurier Avenue that was considered quite a hot spot in the 80’s. Today, Chez Lévèque has fallen into the category of Montreal Landmark restaurant mainly because of the number of years in business; 46 years and counting. In its heyday, Chez Lévèque was the place to dine at before Léamac and La Chronique rose to fame. Started by Pierre Lévèque and his family circa 1972, he purchased La Lucarne a small steakhouse which was situated in the restaurants present location on Laurier. After some remodeling and fine tuning Chez Lévèque was born. Over the years it has become a Montreal institution serving many local patrons and clientele from afar who have come to sample their fine French food and soak up the ambiance.
Today, Chez Lévèque has taken a back seat to the trendy restaurants that line Laurier Avenue. To many it is considered more of an old school restaurant and watering hole where the old fogies of Outremont hang out. This is what I was told by my friend Monique, who is a long-time resident of Outremont. But she urged me to try Chez Lévèque at least once in my lifetime.
In the summer it is better known for its award-winning street terrace which is considered one of the most colorful in the area because of its red awning. It is also known to have one of the best lunch, late-night menu and brunch menus starting from $21.00-$29.00. The Brunch menu also is complimented with all you can drink mimosas for and additional $12.00. The good thing about Chez Lévèque is they seem to always be open when all of the other restaurants are closed especially on major holidays and reservations are easy to come by.
One may think that Chez Lévèque is stuffy and pretentious, with their white tablecloth service and fine French gastronomy, but you will be pleasantly surprised. The mostly French staff is friendly, patient and very professional. What they are saying behind our backs is another matter. My girlfriends ordered an exuberant amount of mimosas the day we visited and I found them to be taxing on the staff. I was embarrassed as I thought they must think we are drunks, but they did not even flinch. Please be very nice to the wait staff they work really hard. Please coordinate your requests so they do not have to go back and forth a million times for your mimosas, because of it, I only got two. So be considerate.
Aside from the scenes created that day, the atmosphere is relaxed, yet classy. The décor may need a little refresh, but it is not all that bad. Not super stylish or chic, like the new restaurants that line Laurier with their modern sleek décor. Chez Lévèque has retained some of its old-world charm and decorum.
On the menu at Chez Lévèque you will find many of the French classics like Terrine, Tartare, Salmon and Smoked Trout, Mussels Provençal, Hangar Steak and Duck. There is something for everyone especially if you do not like black sausage pudding. They also have oysters, a decent wine list and lots of sparkling wines. You are served unlimited homemade bread and desserts are very good.
On the day we visited for brunch, we started with the famous mimosas for $ 12.00. I had the Terrine de Foie de Volaille, a Chicken Liver pate that was beautifully presented with the most delicious onion jam. It came served with a homemade sweet brioche, which I ate quickly and then substituted the homemade baguette which was equally as delicious. I shared with is with my GF who said this was the best way to go. Hearty and filling, perfect French classic dish to start the meal.
Brains had the Parmesan and Mozzarella Croquette with leaf lettuce and sweet white cranberry compote, the croquette was creamy and tasty, made with a two-blend cheese, parmesan and mozzarella, it had sharp flavors and was delicious with homemade baguette as well and the compote of white cranberries gave it a mix of sweet and tart when paired together.
Both my girlfriends had the red & yellow Beet cake salad, with goat cheese and sprinkles of pecans. This consisted of a green salad with balsamic drizzle and on the side a layered yellow beet cake with layers of goat cheese and topped with crushed pecans. They oved the sweet beets and goat cheese, it was filling as well on its own. The salad was not generous but hit the spot. Plus, they were already on their third Mimosa and were feeling no pain as they say.
For Mains, I had the Salmon Tartar, with salad and fries at a cost of $ 2.00 extra dollars but worth the while. It came served with the longest baguette crisp I have ever eaten. The salmon was very fresh, but the Dijon mustard overpowered this simple dish. It was edible but could have used less mustard. The fries were decent, not overly crispy, but not limp and oily either they came served with mayonnaise.
Brains had the Classic Eggs Benedict eggs with ham, homemade moist brioche in a hollandaise sauce served with potatoes and fruit. She liked the dish and found it comparable to some of the other likes of Eggs Benedict she had elsewhere. She particularly like the hollandaise sauce.
Two of my girlfriends had the Farmer eggs omelet stuffed with homemade rillettes, it came with a small salad and fruit. Somewhat generic, but a good breakfast dish. It was filling and a good source of protein for them.
My Girlfriend the Diva, who has a healthy appetite had the Grilled hanger steak with shallot sauce green pepper sauce a side order of mashed potatoes and root vegetables. She loved the dish; the hangar steak was tender and the onion sauce not overpowering. She said that if she was gonna get her money worth, might as well go with a steak. I think it was the Mimosas talking.
Coffee and tea was also served with the meal at your discretion and we were not charged extra. We did not have dessert, as our meter had run out and we had to make a quick exit. I was pleasantly surprised by the freshness and quality of food at Chez Lévèque, I understand now why it has stood the test of time. I must on every foodie list, it comes recommended.
***If you want to try some of Montreal’s landmark restaurants with us, you can join Meetup-Montreal Food Experiences, we go out monthly to sample some of Montreal Landmark restaurants. Follow the link and sign up- https://www.meetup.com/Montreal-Foodie-Experiences-with-IAteMontreal-com/
** Coming Soon in Spring -Montreal Foodie Experiences will have Walking Tours visiting some of Montreal’s longstanding and landmark food establishments.