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Food

Buns and Puns: Quoi de N'Oeuf

Posted by Stefan / June 15, 2008

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Standing in sharp contrast to its traditional neighbors, this trendy joint offers diners the (un?)holy triumvirate of exposed brick, artfully placed photographs of colourful naked buttocks, and giant glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice. There are no jukeboxes or weathered hot dog advertisements in sight, and any attempt to order a poutine would no doubt be thwarted by factual impossibility. Despite being seconds from the epicentre of St. Henri’s diner activity, it draws a markedly different crowd. More Laurier than Notre Dame, the clientele looks at home reviewing scripts not hanging the lights.

mind the exposed buttocks.jpg The name, a play on words asking “what’s new?” via reference to eggs, seeks to establish the restaurant’s otherness. I suspect locals have grown accustomed to it, however, having kept it in business for the past seven years. Such relative longevity undermines its attempt at novelty while carving a stable place for the hip and cheeky along rusty Notre Dame. It’s hard to imagine Mr. Blue Jeans & Blazer sipping café au lait out of a bowl anywhere else in the quarter…

The prices force me to break my $5 rule (by fifty cents), but they are certainly not unreasonable. And as concerns the food’s quality, there’s no need for apologia. The sunny-side up order pulls off runny yokes without venturing into slimy whites. The coffee is great and the bread selection is diverse; don’t underestimate the difference a baguette can make. Meanwhile, Chase’s eggs benedict have him groaning with pleasure, evoking Tim Allen in that show about tools. Judging by the steady flow of traffic, it’s a popular spot for young professionals who are probably very pleased with their choice to live somewhere on the make. Their slightly annoying snobbishness is ultimately not enough to tarnish the palpable charm of the place, which offers sufficient substance to justify its style.
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Details, details. Whereas the diners we visited offered only cream with their coffee (we had to ask for milk), here the two arrive together. I suspect few of their clients favour the fattier option, no doubt more a self-conscious tribute to the neighborhood than a viable choice. (I’ll know I’ve finally entered the belly of the gentrification dragon when the choice morphs into one between soy and skim). The abundance of asparagus, spinach, and other decidedly non-diner items set the place apart even more than the décor, which is somehow elegant and unpretentious.

As the view out its open-concept entrance reminds patrons, the surroundings have not kept pace with the menu. The Super C across the street makes it clear that this is certainly not Laurier, as do the smells from the nearby Belle Province. Yet a peek out the window reveals another condo under construction - a harbinger of omelet orders soon to be placed - and similarily situated restaurants draw crowds just down the street. Despite its quest for distinction, Quoi de N’Oeuf remains firmly placed in the neighborhood it seeks to reimagine.

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Quoi de N’Oeuf
2613 Notre Dame St. W
514-931-3999

Photos by Chase Moser. With special thanks to T-Stein.

Discussion

15 Comments

Michelle / June 16, 2008 at 11:07 am
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I've been here once and received such terrible service that I'll never go back! I much prefer Toi, Moi et Cafe which is almost next door.
S / June 16, 2008 at 11:43 am
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As someone pointed out under the Greenspot entry, there are different types of terrible when it comes to service...and some kinds of terrible are in my books preferable to what might more objectively be considered good...They're somewhat - brisk here, yes. But I think it's part of the schtick...

Toi Moi is interesting as it really drives home the connection to Laurier (as there is one on that street as well). Look for an entry in the future...I should point out that Quoi de N'Oeuf serves only breakfast, I believe. Toi Moi is more diverse...

I stand by the quality of the food here, though!
Richard / June 16, 2008 at 11:11 pm
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I love this place - the food is made with attention to detail. Yeah the service is curt - but who needs more than "what can I get you?" Would you like anything else?" and "More coffee?"
My top breakfast spot west of St Denis
Michelle / June 17, 2008 at 06:20 pm
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When I was there, at least those 3 questions would have been nice.
lisa / June 17, 2008 at 11:14 pm
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I've always had decent service at Quoi de n'oeuf, but the coffee is terrible. The food is uninteresting and the potatoes (the decider in breakfasts) are of the frozen then fried variety.

ps, they definitely serve lunch.
lisa / June 17, 2008 at 11:15 pm
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I've always had decent service at Quoi de n'oeuf, but the coffee is terrible. The food is uninteresting and the potatoes (the decider in breakfasts) are of the frozen then fried variety.

ps, they definitely serve lunch.
S / June 18, 2008 at 12:34 am
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Uninteresting is relative...their breakfast menu is far more diverse than most places in the area...

Rachel / January 3, 2010 at 12:48 am
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I'm not sure what happened in all those posts about bad service, but the servers for me have always been available, attentive, and nice, even if they don't carry a long conversation with you. The service in the area doesn't seem to differ too much - Toi, Moi & Cafe's service is much more rushed, the Burgundy Lion's service is nonexistant - so I think Quoi de N'Oeuf is still a strong contender in the brekkie game. Anyway, if this doesn't get you, maybe their $5 brekkies before 9 a.m. will. Happy eating!
George / February 4, 2015 at 02:54 am
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I have spent the last thirty miutens on your blog. It's fantastic! Thank you so much for all this great inspiration. I love the idea of carving styrofoam and covering with fabric. So cool! I just got Fine Little Day's Mountain wallpaper for my girls playroom. I've been stalking the mail waiting for it's arrival. Enjoy your day! Meri Cherry
golu dolls / February 13, 2019 at 09:54 pm
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nice post
kanchipuram sarees / February 13, 2019 at 09:55 pm
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nice post
kanchipuram sarees / February 13, 2019 at 09:55 pm
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nice post
herbal powder / February 13, 2019 at 09:56 pm
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nice post

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