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Food

First Date Series: Jane

Posted by Tara / April 18, 2011

janeThe First Date Series takes a look at restaurants in Montreal where you might want to go -- or might not want to go -- on a first date. Another find in Griffintown, Jane is a top pick for a first date.

It seems to me that restaurants are becoming darker all the time. For some, candles and low lighting can make for a pretty romantic atmosphere. If darkness is romantic, Jane definitely fits the bill.

In the evening, the space is lit primarily by candles, with a few dim lights towards the back of the room. Not only does this lighting scheme set the scene for the romantic evening some seek on a first date, but it's sort of comforting, less intimidating than in a well-lit room where you might be under public scrutiny.Jane Candle

The downside of Jane's lighting scheme, though, lies in the fact that the menu is written on a blackboard all the way at the back of the room. It was kind of hard to read from our table at the front window. That said, this minor detail was really the only downside to the entire evening.

Larger-than-life urban landscape paintings hang all around the room, and characteristic of many restaurants popping up on this part of Notre-Dame, the brick walls have been left exposed. The space is relaxed, but stylish - pretty much how I like to come off on my first dates.Jane InsideA major feature of this restaurant is the unorthodox cocktails, an excellent way to embark on a first date. We sampled quite a few, though the Red Russian (beets, apples, and vodka blended into a thick potion) and the White Grape Martini (served with cucumber) were the two that really stood out.

I'll admit that I wasn't on a first date, but rather (as adolescent as it may sound) a double date. In a lucky turn of events, we were able to order more food than if we'd only been two, and the food was unbelievable. The meatballs arrived first - exceptionally juicy and covered in a coarse tomato sauce and thickly grated fresh parmesan alongside grilled bread and rapini.Jane meatballsThe goat cheese and sweet potato ravioli, served under the tomato sauce, were the favourite of the table, though I was partial to the roasted beet salad topped with warm goat cheese and pine nuts.Jane RavioliJane SaladAlso amazing was the pork terrine, which was deliciously seasoned and served with a bread-like crust with seedy mustard and a slightly sweet jam-like spread.Jane terrineThen we had two pizzas - Schwartza and Souvlaki - both excellent, and clearly inspired by our city's cultural mosaic. The Souvlaki pizza was topped tender beef cubes, feta, olives, tomatoes, and drizzled with tzatziki. It tasted great, even if it looked like an open-face souvlaki sandwich more than it did a pizza.

The Schwartza was topped with smoked meat, pickles, and cheddar cheese, along with a generous amount of mustard sauce; might sound slightly dubious, but it worked.

The pizza crust was a bit on the thick side and, importantly, maintained its crispiness. Neither pizza failed to surprise nor impress all of us, and there were others on the menu that we want to try next time, like the Buffalo Chicken Pizza and the Taco Pizza.

I think that the food at Jane will exceed expectations, even if your date doesn't. The cuisine is original, and quite tasty. The fact that there's no sign outside makes this place a discreet gem in Griffintown... not for long, though.

Jane is located at 1744 Rue Notre Dame Ouest, and is open Tuesday to Friday for lunch from 11h30 to 14h30, and Tuesday to Sunday for dinner from 17h30. Check out their Facebook page.

Photos from the Jane Facebook page.

Check out some of our other First Date ideas like the Griffintown Cafe or Chez Doval.

Do you have suggestions for other fun first date places that Midnight Poutine should consider? Leave a comment below!

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