1909 Taverne Moderne-MTL
1280 rue des Canadiens de Montreal/ de la Montagne
Telephone: (514) 416-9809
Cost: $ 51.74 (tip not included)
Chef Hats: 3.5
Taverne Moderne is an ultimate haven for any hockey fan looking to enjoy a game and some good pub grub. I am not a big hockey or sports fan but I am a foodie, so I never refuse eating out or discovering a new dining spot. So, I was happy when I was invited to attend Tourism Montreal Membership info session being held at the 1909 Taverna Moderne this past week. Quite frankly, unless I was going to a concert or a game and looking for a quick bite close by, I was probably not have gotten to eat at Taverne Moderne for a while. This event took me out of my comfort zone and not only allowed me to get an insider’s look and a tour of the restaurant and its facilities. I got to sample some of the food offered at the Taverne and learn about their beginning.
Taverne Moderne has two locations, one attached to the Bell Center Downtown which opened last October 2017 and the other in Laval located at 1950 rue Claude-Gagne in Laval des Rapides next to Place Bell and the home arena for the American Hockey League Team of the Laval Rockets. Both restaurants are similar in concept, except the latter which opened in February 2018 has more of an industrial vibe and is much smaller than the original Taverne Moderne which is billed as the largest in Canada.
Owned by the Montreal Canadiens and managed by Cara Operations, the Taverne was beautifully designed by the New York-based Rockwell Group. It features three levels of entertainment with multiple bars, screens and seating scattered across 25,714 sq. ft. It has the capacity to hold over 1,000 guests for those nights the Bell Center is having an event. The venue is immense and the main screen, is one of the biggest measuring about 46’ x 20’, it spans the length of the main dining hall and two floors creating the ultimate sports viewing experience. There are 65 -HD TV’s strategically placed all over the rest of the venue, so you can view the game clearly from any spot. On non -game nights the restaurant features music and a live Deejay seven day a week and of course good gastronomic pub food.
Their menu features local cuisine, with 40 types of beer on tap from all over the world, as well as domestic and locally crafted beer. It has a good wine and cocktail list and a food menu that will please just about anyone as foodies alike.With direct access from the Lucien L’allier metro station, the top floor which is sometimes used for corporate events also serves as a terrasse in summer. After our info session we descended by escalator to the mezzanine level to sample some finger food at the Main Bar and get a more detailed explanation of their facilities from their Marketing department.
The restaurant contains lots of Hockey memorabilia which is only befitting for this type of venue. What I particularly liked was the ceiling screen which depicts some of the Montreal Canadians greatest players alongside Montreal’s historical landmarks. The Taverne has buzz about it that exudes an electric fun atmosphere but also brings to mind an era that is the basis of Montreal and what makes our city distinct. It serves as a shrine to all those sports aficionados who want to be close to the action and experience not only an important part of our culture but good food and entertainment at its best.
The décor is typical of any large sports bar, with a mix of tables and large round leather banquettes that exude VIP seating and testosterone. The restaurant is dark and cavernous which is perfect for viewing any of the 66 tv screens. It was quiet today as it sat empty but the venue is a powerhouse of adrenaline on game nights and can get quite loud. We were taken to the main bar to sample some of their finger foods, which consisted of two types of chicken wings, Buffalo and Asian. I preferred the Asian ad they were crispier and lightly breaded. We also sampled their coconut breaded shrimp with dipping sauce which were delicious. A small Caesar salad in a mini Maison jar and smoked salmon squares, that were as equally good.
As an additional perk, Brains and I decided to sample some other foods and started with two local beers from Les Brasseur de Montreal Microbrewery in Griffintown for $ 6.00 each. Must have beer in a place like this, its conducive with the atmosphere. To go with the beers, we sampled the Montreal poutine made with Homemade classic gravy, home cut fries and Quebec cheese curds. The one-person portion for $8.00 was ample for one but too small and delicious to be shared; it contained ample amounts of large Cheese curds. The Team portions is best for two people and will only set you back $ 15.00 but is a better deal.
I had the House Smoked Salmon Entrée for $ 13.00. I was awed and amazed at the quality of this dish for a venue that serves pub food but I would qualify Taverne Moderne more as a Gastro Pub. The dish held a generous pave of cold-smoked salmon, fried panko and Mujjol caviar, dollops of dill cream and slivers of shallots as a garnish. The dish contained all the right textures and flavors for this foodie, was beautifully presented. I quite frankly enjoyed it immensely, even though I thought the salmon bordered on the semi frozen side more than just cold smoked.
For Mains we shared a dish of three tacos make with pulled pork for $ 18.00. They were delicious with ample amounts of meat, caramelized onions and topped with cilantro, aioli sauce and freshly sliced radishes. We were given some Jalapeno Smoke Hot sauce for that extra kick.
As for the service, our waitress Catherine was very friendly and accommodating and made a few recommendations that proved worthwhile. It did not take long for us to get our food; we were done in under an hour, but I can’t guarantee that on game nights. As I sat there, I could only imagine the electricity and buzz of the place in the crux of game nights. What a feeling it must be, such a good idea for a dinner with friends. I highly recommend it for all sports fans. Too boot, I loved the private section we were sitting at with their plush leather banquettes that are reminiscent of so many exclusive boys club, some banquettes seat as much as 12 people. They were so comfortable and I could have stayed all night and ordered a big Tomahawk Rib steak while I downed gallons of local beer and yelled out SCORE!