260 Rue Gary-Carter,
Telephone: (514) 273-2950
Cost: $ 25.36 per person with tax and tip included
Chef Hats: 4
The premise for the name of restaurant Basterd, is based on the concept of ugly fruit. Like life’s rejects ugly fruit and vegetables take a back burner on the shelves of most grocery stores. Undesirable, we pass them up and reach instead for mother nature’s perfection. Sometimes the ugliest of fruits and vegetables give us the sweetest of life’s elixir and that can be said of Restaurant Basterd. Newly opened, in January 2019, by Marc Emmanuel Martin whose previous experience at Le Boucan and Café Ferreira has garnished him a plethora of experience. Joining him is co-owner Lucio Carlomusto who also owns Old Montreal’s Seasalt & Ceviche, Lisa Tanguay as pastry chef and Benjamin Lebrun as sous-chef.
Basterd is located far from the bustle of Griffintown or Old Montreal. It has chosen to settle in the neighborhood of Villeray, across the street from Jarry Park, on the ground floor of a condominium complex. An unlikely place to open up a restaurant, but with the neighborhood’s gentrification and a boom in new housing developments, the restaurant is strategically placed in an area where some escapism was in need for the locals who did not want to go far for a bite to eat or some cocktails. It follows suite with many new and original ethnic eateries that have been popping up in the environs serving more than just the run of the mill food and a more well-rounded experience.
Basterd now serves brunch, lunch and dinner and keeps itself busy not only with the local crowd but with the crowds that visit Jarry park on the occasional event days. Judging from the change in landscape, the restaurant will have no problems filling seats. Since it’s opening, there has been a gradual buzz about Basterd, with their different concept and their original creations. It has earned quite a following with those who are environmentally conscious as well. The name which is a little awkward for a restaurant, may not sound very attractive, put it plays well with its concept and theme. The goal of the owners of Basterd was to create an eco-conscious environment with the wastage of food. So much of ugly fruit and vegetables end up in the back dumpsters of many wholesalers, especially at the nearby Jean Talon Market. Customers by pass them for prettier looking produce, yet they are of perfectly good quality. So, Marc’s goal was to get local produce from the market as much as possible when in season and maximizes its use. Last Fall, he preserved 600 lbs. of tomatoes that were locally grown before the winter months.
In terms of the menu, Basterd is not only vegan, it also serves chicken, beef, fish and seafood, with your accompaniment of ugly vegetables and fruits. The food borders on healthy but you can also get a cheeseburger and hot dogs, gourmet style. But you will not find Montreal Pool Room steamies served here, you may have to cross the street to Jarry Park to get those. The evening menu boast items like oysters, shrimp and even steak. Vegan dishes take a heavier approach and you will not be disappointed. You will be surprised at the combination of food and how delicious they taste. The lunch menu which changes daily can be found written on their chalkboard. It boasts items like celery root salad with Blood oranges, duck spring rolls and banh mi sandwiches. The restaurant leans more towards fusion than just one type of specific cuisine. They have an interestingly good cocktail list with items; like Sangria’s, tequila, vodka and Quebec distilled liquors, wines and beer. They have theme nights like Tacos nights and a vibrant happy hour. The ambiance is fun and young.
As for the décor its tendency is towards the industrial look, modern contemporary and lofty, it is bright with large windows facing the street corner on both sides. Casual and unpretentious, you will feel at home. Tables and chairs are of light wood material and a few chairs at the bar are done up in pretty light blue hues. We got seating at the picnic table at the center of the room, which I found not to be ideal or comfortable for a group of six, a little too tight, mobility was difficult.
We visited Basterd for brunch on Sunday with a group of friends not knowing what to expect. The place was busy and filled with large groups of people having breakfast. We were greeted at the door by a friendly young waitress who showed us to the only table available in the house. She handed us the menu and disappeared. After a half hour, another waiter approached our table and took our order for coffee. He returned with a mix of cappuccinos and Americanos. The coffee hit the spot and was strong and bitter enough to wake up the gremlins.
After perusing the menu, we decided on two orders of French Toast, Fried Chicken n Waffles, Blueberry Pancakes , Eggs on Bagel with avocado slices and Poached Eggs which consisted of 2 eggs, potato muffin Galette and cherry tomatoes medley. The food arrived after 30 minutes, the French toast were two generous thick slabs of a cake like sweet bread, lightly coated with egg and sugar with mounds of strawberries and whipped cream, they were deliciously sweet and perfect. The best I have had in a long time and points scored on flavor and originality.
The Blueberry pancakes were just as good, and had ample amounts of sweet tarty blueberries, with maple syrup and whipped cream on the side , they were also a delicious mound of sweetness.
Scrambled eggs on whole wheat bagel with slices of avocado and generous portions of salad, with fresh watermelon and grapefruit was just as appetizing and filling.
The Chicken n Waffles looked deliciously good, but our picky diner said that the chicken was dry, overcooked and burnt. The dish came with bacon and ample amounts of potatoes and a green salad.
The regular breakfast of poached eggs, came served on top a variety of cherry tomatoes ,served with a potato galette , greens, squash and a sauce piquante.
We ordered another round of coffee and received no service after that. We had to flag down the waiter, a few times, while he was chatting up a storm with two pretty young girls at the tables next to us. Our picky eater had to go to the bar to get a pitcher of water after her burnt chicken episode. When asked by the waiter if all was to our liking she complained about the service. Genuinely feeling bad, he waived the second round of coffees on our tab. I thought the jest was nice, and apropos, but that did not appease her and a few of our dining guests who still felt somehow cheated. They ‘re is always one in every bunch who ruins the mood for everyone else.
On a gorgeous day with the sun shining bright, I waved this off, which is unlike me as I always take these things personally, especially after having organized it. But I have learned that we can’t always control people and the situation all the time no matter what we do. I left it at that, as some people are hard to please. Otherwise the food was magnificent and delicious, the ambiance fun and cool and we were doing something good by contributing to eliminating some of the waste in the world. These small good deeds make all the difference in making the world a happier and better place. These days, there was no time in my schedule for fussing and fighting. The living has to be easy; others can take a chill pill or eat some more ugly fruit. I highly recommend Restaurant Basterd. It is original and creative. Much better than many of the generic breakfast places out there. I would love to return for lunch or dinner, and try a few Sazeracs while sitting on the blue chairs at the bar