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Food

Better Than a Dead Man's Finger: Greenspot

Posted by Stefan / May 23, 2008

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"Greenspot Scored with Low Price: But Many Drew Criticism for Small Size – and Flavour Frequently a Let Down" reads a headline in this iconic diner. The article goes on to note that "One losing entry was compared to a 'dead man's finger'." I take my seat with the confidence which takes over a man when it becomes clear to him that what he is about to consume shall meet (and likely exceed) the well-established Dead Man's Finger standard…

Walk into "G-Spot" on any given morning and bacon will invariably battle with coffee for the chance to greet you. One of a small and stable cast of well-worn waitresses will curtly announce that you may sit where you please. Before you've creased the seat, you're sipping coffee and she's taking your order. Within a minute and a half, breakfast is served.

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This place looks like a diner the way Harding looked like a President. The wooden sign behind the counter serves as a reminder that long after the 20 cent hot dog stopped being economically viable, the aesthetics of the era remain compelling. Examining the patrons, you'd solemnly swear they'd wandered off the set of a Bruce Springsteen video. This is St. Henri as it was, though unlike many of the other diners falling into this category, it seems to be thriving.

In this neighborhood, more is better tells the tale. True to form, rather than having one music machine, the owners have outfitted each table with its own jukebox. For $0.25 you can select from a list of your (um) favourites, including Crazy Town's "Butterfly" and "Livin' La Vida Loca" (in both English and Spanish, you bet your life) by Menudo alum Ricky Martin. Of course, most of the time it either doesn't work, or it merely ignores your selection and plays what it wants.

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The operative word here is comfortable; it's laid back and affordable. For the not-so-whopping post-tax/tip total of $4.50, the coffee is hot, the home fries pass muster, eggs are eggs, toast is toast, and the beans and fruit add a nice touch. More importantly, the place has a warm, inviting feel to it. Of course, it's not for everyone. Don't come expecting eggs benedict or anything with avocado in it. That being said, there's nothing of the sketchy about it, and for the price it's certainly satisfying.

I've spent many a morning here marveling at its New Jersey-esque resilience and optimism. As we're gearing up to leave, I notice the elderly man behind me receiving his order. The barely-mobile fellow has just been served with two hot dogs and a giant plate of fries. It's not yet 10:30 in the morning. Even as it moves out of pace with its surroundings, there's no doubt in my mind that Greenspot will stand tall after the changing of the guards.

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Greenspot
3041 Notre Dame W.
(514 932-2340)

Photos by Chase Moser.

Discussion

36 Comments

Kay O. Sweaver / May 23, 2008 at 10:37 pm
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Yeah, we were fascinated by the jukeboxes the last time we were there, we pumped at least $3 or $4 into it and even shot a video on my camera.
Sarah / May 24, 2008 at 09:54 am
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Very nice text... but what about the food? Is it good? I doesn't look all that impressive from the looks of that picture. How's the coffee?
Coffee's so important and many diners can't get it right.
Stefan / May 24, 2008 at 11:50 am
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I'd say "you get what you pay for" pretty much sums it up with this place. The coffee isn't great, but it does its job.

Coffee is general often sparks interesting debate. I once heard a guy from Toronto complaining that he couldn't get a decent cup of coffee in Italy and that he couldn't wait to get home to order a double-double from Tim Horton's. I guess in that way it's similar to beer - you acquire the taste you acquire and that can trump supposedly obective quality. Why would anyone drink Molson Canadian otherwise?

All this to say, no the coffee is not good. But it also isn't bad.
Rory / May 27, 2008 at 10:50 am
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I now live in BC but the Greenspot is always near the top of my list of places to go when I visit Montreal. Great Steamies and fries and the curt service is a refreshing change from the phony chitchat you have to endure in many restaurants here.
ds / August 15, 2008 at 01:02 pm
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Here's a St-Henri diner suggestion:
GO to Restaurant Jean for Sunday brunch buffet. Homemade soup & other goodies, sometimes pig's knuckles, particularly good during early spring (cabane a sucre theme)
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