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Fill Your Belly at Le Gros Jambon

Posted by Adriana / December 4, 2012

Le Gros Jambon

Let's start with the obvious: you're probably going to leave this restaurant feeling gros. Not gross though (wordplay groaner...), just left with that warm familiar feeling usually ushered in around holiday times, stuffed to the bursting and ready for hibernation.

Le Gros Jambon finds itself comfortably in the middle of Old Montreal. The ceiling is high, the seating is horizontal (read: all bar), and the vibe is retro. They've been known to make a doughnut burger, as well as one with Coca-Cola mayo, and a duck confit BLT. These were enticements enough to convince me I needed to check out this hip and homey establishment for the first time.

Diner le Gros Jambon

Inside, the space is reminiscent of an old-school diner, thankfully minus years of embedded grime, and it retains the warmth and vintage vibe thanks to an open kitchen and Coke served in glass bottles. The menu is full of such interesting mash-ups/variations that on my first visit, I had to confine myself to debating my choices from one page at a time, for fear of my indecision and easily swayed stomach would render me to inaction. I had shooed away the waitstaff more than a few times in my delighted but indecisive food reverie.

Montrealais Gros Jambon Hot Dog

In the interest of retro authenticity, I picked the hot dog Montrealaise. While I am hopelessly devoted to the mystery meat, better-off-not-knowing-makeup of the erstwhile steamés of corner casse-croutes (Sidenote/embarrassing admission: In my year abroad, this was the one food I consistently professed a miss for on a semi-regular basis. And yes, I do proudly call myself a Montreal foodie...) Jambon serves Nathan's, an American brand that has been popping up more and more in our city's snack joints as of late. They are larger and more identifiably meaty than those ubiquitous of our belle province, and also claim the cachet of being the original Coney Island hot dog.

My dog arrived snugly wrapped in a slice of smoked meat, as if ready to ward off the coming winter chills. The bun was toasted and delightfully buttery, and the two pickles drizzled in mustard and lying across the top made this fusion delicious but embarrassingly messy to eat. I think I was thankful then for the lack of anything but bar-style seating in the place, meaning my dining companion was spared the direct sight of my messy conquest. Instead, I got to gaze at the wall of framed prints as I wolfed down my meal, challenging the now-familiar face of the freckled boy taking on an equally daunting stack of pancakes that is featured everywhere on the restaurant's menu and website.

Menu Gros Jambon

A sense of respectability and the not-even-noon timing of this outing quietly suggested/forced us to forgo some of the more interesting imbibing options such as Jameson-spiked cider and the equally intriguing Zombie Apocalypse or XXX-Milkshakes listed on the menu board above the counter, but this by no means should stop anyone else..

Gros Jambon Breakfast

I went a second time for brunch (for now served only on weekends) this time to ferret out a long sought-after item: the Snoop Dogg approved, southern stylings of the classic Chicken&Waffles. My friend ordered the Pumpkin Pancakes, featuring bacon strips and bacon-infused caramel sauce. Worried we would go into a food coma, we were slightly reassured by the division of the menu into "sweet" and "salty" options, though I was yet unconvinced the waffles and chicken wouldn't render me diabetic as well.

Montreal Chicken and Waffles

Actually, they are accompanied by an innovative horseradish syrup that is perfectly balanced and tasty, neither intensely saccharine nor bitingly harsh. The soft waffle and 3 generous pieces of crispy chicken definitely satisfied, but possibly the best thing on the plate was the potato and smoked meat hash accompaniment- a side featured with all the salty menu items. Yay!

Le Gros Jambon Sweets

On top of that, a sweet table displayed in the front window beckons you by the cash, if, after your meal, you truly do desire to feel like a gros jambon. There are stacks of doughnuts sourced from St. Donut in flavors like pumpkin, sweet potato, and variations on bacon-related combinations, as well as various cookies, brownies, and a porky pig statue that preside over the selection. Po'boys, grilled cheeses, and many things that are fried often feature prominently as specials of the day, as easily followed on the restaurant's Twitter, like this meringue-pie-in-a-mason-jar hard-lemonade that definitely caught my eye: https://twitter.com/LeGrosJambon/status/235798911078502401

Definitely come here, and often. The servers are wonderfully chatty, the food always interesting, and the space is rad. Just don't blame anyone but yourself for the subsequent weight gain.

Diner Gros Jambon

Le Gros Jambon
286 Notre Dame West
between Metro Place-d'Armes and Metro Square Victoria

Monday to Wednesday - 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thursday to Friday - 8:00 am - 9:00 pm
Saturday - 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
Sunday - 9:00 am - 3:30 pm

Le Gros Jambon on Urbanspoon



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