Health Check: Reservoir (Montreal, QC)

Back in 2013, I did a brief review of one of my favorite Montreal beer bars: Reservoir. Since then, I’ve had half a dozen revisits there, ranging from just stopping in for a pint, having dinner, and, well, everything in-between. On our recent trip to Quebec, we needed a light “fill in” meal to tide us over to a feast the next day at Au Pied de Cochon’s Cabane a Sucre, and this turned out to be the perfect opportunity to stop in and do a follow-up review of reservoir, including some of their mid-day menu.

Unlike one of my other Plateau favorites for beer, Dieu du ciel which is primarily a beer bar with a few light food options, Reservoir is every bit as much about the food as the beer. Reservoir has distinct lunch and dinner menus, but both cover nominally the same territory: a handful of appetizers, some light entrees, a few sandwiches, and a handful of desserts, the lunch menu is just a fair bit shorter. I’m not sure the cutover time, but our visit was just before 5pm and was still squarely on the lunch menu. The menus are not just seasonal, but frequently rotating based upon availability and the kitchen’s whims, but I usually find there to be a few soups, sandwiches, and hearty snacks. In this case, we started out with a mushroom soup. No simple cream soup, this was actually a very dark, rich soup just teeming with roasted mushroom flavor, topped with even more sauteed fresh mushrooms, some creme fraiche, and some greens. This was easily one of the most rich and flavorful mushroom soups that either of us have had, and has encouraged me to try making more mushroom soups myself.

Next up, the toast. Fancy toasted covered with all sorts of toppings is definitely one of the rising food trends, and I have to say it’s one I enjoy greatly as long as it isn’t the typical avocados. In this case, Reservoir’s toast offering was a generous medley of toasted cauliflower, more mushrooms, spinach, and mustard seeds, all served up over a hearty, inch thick, perfectly broiled slab of bread. This was a thoroughly enjoyable and hearty mid-afternoon light snack.

Finally, I opted for some tartare. I always like my tartares served up a bit on the chunky side, and Reservoir’s version was perfect: fork-tender chunks of flavorful beef, lightly seasoned with salt, pepper, and a lightly-pepper-infused oil, finally topped with some roasted red peppers. The resulting dish had nicely layered flavors of both raw beef and roasted pepper, spread over more of the perfectly-toasted bread, making this one of my more enjoyable meals in Montreal.

We didn’t opt for dessert (you can read my previous review for a dessert review), but Reservoir remains one of my go-to places in Montreal’s Plateau neighborhood. The beer is delicious and affordable, and they’ve got a nice selection of high-quality smaller dishes for enjoying with your beer, especially on a nice day when the upstairs terrace is open.

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