From my seat at the table, this is the scene as I see it today.
Road rage has been rampant in Yorkville for the past few weeks as city work crews widen the sidewalks and landscape the park for eventual summer. I have seen Taxi drivers jump out of their cabs and throw punches. Car horns add to the chaos and the street is filled with people slipping through barriers to get to shops and restaurants.
Through all this, the long awaited opening of MBCo (Montreal Bread Company) went almost unnoti
ced. But not by me. This slice of Montreal style bakery/deli, is tucked under the well-groomed arm of Yorkville's most chi-chi new condo. Next door is the exclusive Millies, where for the price of one garment, you could buy lunch at MBCo for a year. Of course, after a few days, the city's fashion-forward boys and girls have found this niche. Caressing their Blackberries with one hand, they pick up huge fluffy cappuccinos and lattes with the other.
There is some eat-in space, but mostly, the scene is outside at tables in the park or on the narrow sidewalk. Breakfast on a rosemary ham and asparagus omelet with wild mushrooms and goat cheese, drizzled with olive oil, a roasted egg white omelet or a simple St. Viateur bagel with cream cheese and jam. If you plan to take it to the office with you, they place it gently into a stiff cardboard box with a see-through lid. At lunch, the hungry hordes converge, wanting to try everything. A favourite is roast beef salad nicoise-amazingly generous, fresh and tasty for the price. and a bowl of udon noodle soup with Moroccan chicken.
They call their sandwiches "bread art" and so they are. Chicken scaloppini with caramelized leeks and Brie comes on pressed, toasted Portuguese bread, and they can hardly make their shrimp and lobster quesadilla with aged cheddar fast enough. All sandwiches come with chef's choice salad of the day-fruit salad or mesclun mix. You can contemplate the passing parade and share a pitcher of red or white wine Sangria and a Montreal fashion pizza, topped with roast veal, wild mushrooms, asparagus, cherry tomatoes and goat cheese.
The menu selection is surprisingly delicious and sophisticated. But what is even more surprising is that it's a franchise, and they'll be coming soon to your neighbourhood.
FIVE STARS: (Extraordinary) A one-of-a-kind, world-class experience.
FOUR STARS: (Excellent) Superior. Memorable, high-quality menus and/or savvy service.
THREE STARS: (Good) Solid places that beckon with generally appealing cooking.
TWO STAR: (Fair) Just OK. A place not worth rushing back to. But, it might have something worth recommending.
ONE STAR: (Poor) Below-average restaurant.
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