If you’re familiar with Montreal, or Quebec for that matter, you’d know that some of the things that we are most famous for are: failed baseball franchises, squeaky cheese, horse shit on cobble-stoned streets, and Celine Dion – things which some may argue are synonymous with each other. So you would probably be just as surprised as I am with the emergence of burger joints around the cty. From high-end places that offer pseudo-kobe beef to the DIY places that let you pick your own toppings, burgers don’t rank high up on the list of Quebec exports, let alone as key culinary icons.
So as these burger places start to pepper the city and pop-up more frequent than the zits on a zit-faced 15 year old living off a summer diet of Redbull and poutine, a buddy and I decided to go check out La Boulette, a neighborhood burger joint that’s been sitting on my list for a few months now.
We looked over the menu which consisted of a burger section and a specialties section. Each burger is broken down into four different prices, one for the burger itself, with fries, a cesar or green salad, or with poutine.
I started with the green salad. The salad was tossed mesclun in a light vinegarette, pickled onions and capers. It was refreshing to know that there was capers in the salad and the fact that onions were pickled. This wasn’t the one that came with the burger itself, but I ordered this on its own. Yes, I started my meal with a salad, don’t judge me. It was a salad kind of night and honestly… I’m just fancy like that.
My friend order the Beaubien burger; lettuce, tomato, pickles, mayo, cheddar cheese and BACON. Bacon points right off the bat for having it included in the burger already – the addition of bacon to any burger warrants a $1.75 extra charge. I was told that the fries are cut and cooked right there in the kitchen, there’s even a window that looks into the kitchen right form the dining room. The fries come with a choice of aoli, curry, smoked paprika, sambal or chipotle mayo.
We were also told that they have the buns baked outside and brought in fresh daily. My friend’s only comment on that was the bun deflated a bit too much and the overall structural integrity was compromised… Pfft engineers.
Ok, hold on. Ever see a mouth watering commercial on TV for something totally arbitrary and delicious and you didn’t know you would be unearthing a deep deep desire and craving for that exact thing until you saw it on TV? I’m telling you, ever time I see that J’adore Dior commercial with Charlize Theron… damn. On that particular night was the “Hot Duck” that was on the menu.
Explained by our waitress, it was La Boulette’s version of a “hot chicken sandwich”, made with duck (obviously). It intrigued me when I saw it on the menu and the waitress’ description only solidified my decision to order it. Braised duck covered in a sauce made with the porcini braising liquid, fries, coleslaw and lastly, awkward peas for formality.
The duck was tender, the sauce sweet and the portion very very generous as it sat on a toasted brioche bun. Just the braised duck in the bun drenched in sauce was almost a meal in itself. I would have liked to bitten into bigger chunks of duck, but having been braised for so long, the break down of the meat is understandable. Besides, this way, they don’t really know how much they’re actually giving you… Shhhhh.
The creamy coleslaw was fresh and crunchy, I assumed it was dressed to order, but I can be wrong. I had the garlic aoli as the dipping sauce of choice for my fries. Really nice and garlicy and perfect for those who want to make sure to not secure a second date… not that my buddy and I were on a date or anything, cos we’ve been homies since forever… and we don’t roll like that… not that there’s anything wrong with that, you know what I mean.
La Boulette has only been open for 9 months – as I was told by the waitress. The hot duck is something definitly worth checking out. She told me that they were the one who invented this sandwich. That’s a big claim, considering my grandmother was churning out Big Macs from her kitchen before her BFF married a Mr. McDonald and sold her out… well, not really. Staying unique amongst the crowd is something everyone strives to do and as long as La Boulette is making it known that they OWN this hot duck sandwich, I don’t see a problem.
2223, Beaubien Est