So tonight my husband decided he wanted to go try a place called La Belle et La Boeuf (which is a "cute" play on words and meant to sound like The Beauty and The Beast). In English their name literally means "the Pretty and the Beef"....or Burger Bar.
Appearance: I have to say that I'm really torn about the look of the venue. I love the graffiti on the walls, it gives the restaurant a really urban feel...and then I get confused by the tables randomly in the middle...that gives it a real barn yard feel. I am so happy that there was one super spacious and comfortable booth available for us because I didn't feel like sitting smack dab in the middle of the place and would freeze my butt off with the door opening. Those tables are just really weirdly placed. I blame the actual SPACE of the restaurant It has a lot of angles that make no sense and the owners obviously did what they could to maximize the amount of people/tables they could have in one given space. It's normal. But the look itself is really confusing to me. Super high ceilings (LOVE!), graffiti on the walls (love), oak looking tables in the middle of the dining area (not a fan of). They have the most amazing bar I've ever seen with shelves and shelves of "the good stuff" that they even have a ladder to get things down. It's fun and playful. I like it. I give the appearance 4 out of 5.
Menu: Sorry owners of La Belle et La Boeuf you lost some MAJOR points here. Your menu is ONLY in French. Most places in Montreal/Laval have English menu's for their English speaking clients. If NOT the descriptions of the food are in both languages. If I don't know what the hell is on the menu how can I decide what I want? I only pretend to not be able to read/understand French but it doesn't mean that I don't want to feel COMFORTABLE when making a decision regarding my food. Anyway they have flimsy paper menu's that make you feel like you are in your pre-teens and teens again (depending on your current age I guess). They have snap shots of celebrities on the front and back cover and its really eye catching and fun to try to guess who everyone is while waiting to be served. I give menu design a 2 out of 5. I'm telling you, NOT having an English option is a huge point deduction.
Now let's get to what is ON the menu: BURGERS or POUTINE. Seriously, that is 95% of the menu. They have 3 types of Mac and Cheese if you are interested, a few salads, but the majority of the menu is based around burgers and poutine. Now its hard for me to pick a meal mainly because I'm not huge fan of burgers and I hate poutine.
I started off ordering a drink the size of my head. We were lucky enough to arrive during their happy hour
which meant that we could get 1 litre mason jar drinks for half price. I went with a "Dead Kennedy" which was really tasty but I have no idea what the hell was in it. I remember something about rum and I was like "sold!" Can I make a suggestion? When serving drinks in huge ass mason jars you might want to consider getting mason jars with handles. I had to drink with two hands! (Please ignore my no makeup self. I wasn't expecting to go out to eat the minute I got home from work!)
So now our waiter comes over to ask what we'd like to eat and I casually ask "Do you have an English menu" (I read a few reviews online and knew the answer to that question would be no) and he apologized and said they didn't. I asked him how I was supposed to know what to eat if I didn't have a menu and he said he could guide me through it. I told him it wasn't really necessary as I could read the basics. He convinced us to try an appetizer while we decided on what to read and told us about the deep fried pickles. I can't stand pickles but then he said they are marinated in cherry Kool-Aid and that took me back to being 10 and going to my best friend's house and drinking the sugary goodness! I said I'd try it. I'm glad I did!!
They were just crunchy enough, just sour enough, just sweet enough. They were in other words, perfect. What wasn't so perfect was the sauce. You could still taste that mayo was the main ingredient (did you see I mentioned I hated it above?) and it was just HOT. No real flavor to the mayo other than hot. I like heat but I like sweet heat, or smoky heat... I like the heat to taste like something not just burn my mouth. The dipping sauce lacked flavor. But the pickles...oh my yummy.
Now I wasn't really in the mood for a burger but I decided on the "Avocado Burger". It was a burger with avocado, tomato/onion salsa, and ranch dressing (I asked for it on the side). Before trying the burger as a whole I took a taste test of just the burger. It was boring. There was ZERO flavor. No smoke, no grill, no seasoning...it just tasted like cooked, unseasoned beef. So take it as a warning, if you are going here do not order a plain burger, order something that will give the meat flavor. I bit into my burger and my mouth was so happy. I hate onions but I love salsa and this one had great flavor. The avocado was neither over ripe or underripe. It was excellent. My only suggestion would be to cut the tomato chunks smaller. They were too large and kept jumping out of my burger. I got a side of fries and cole slaw (and a pickle again..that i didn't eat...because it wasn't fried). The fries were shoestring fries and needed salt...and the coleslaw was bland. The sides didn't do it for me but the burger was great.
The husband went with something a lot more adventurous than I'd ever try. He went with a peanut butter burger with bananas. For those of you who know me in real life will know that a group of my friends and I took a road trip to Boston to have a Peanut Butter Burger. You have some mighty high expectations to live up to La Belle et La Boeuf! The verdict? My husband loved it. He ate every last bite of that burger...me...I wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole because it looked messy. (Again, I'm not a huge fan of peanut butter, in fact my daughter is nearly 3 and I've never given her a PB&J sandwich because I don't like peanut butter...unless its covered in chocolate!) Oh did I mention it had bananas and BACON? His sides were onion rings and coleslaw too.
I'm PMSing and wanted to have some comfort food too so we decided to try some mac and cheese. They have 3 types on their menu: plain, with hot dogs, with smoked meat. Me, being boring, chose plain. It was okay but a bit too runny for me. I don't like soupy mac and cheese. I like it to be more together...more congealed? (no picture because I don't like slop!)
By now I'm completely full (did I tell you that at 3pm I had a slice of red velvet cheesecake that I made? Hey, I'm PMSing...) but husband wanted to try dessert. Our waiter suggested to us the deep fried toast...which is basically a fried PB&J sandwich with bananas and drizzled (drenched) in maple syrup. I'm not a fan of any of those ingredients so I wasn't thrilled with the suggestion but my husband went with it.
I took a bite of it and wanted to die. It was gross. I think I've come to a conclusion that peanut butter should NEVER EVER be served warm and toast like bread should never be deep fried then soaked in maple syrup. The fact that my husband was able to eat more than one or two bites kind of disgust me. Do his taste buds not work?! So food wise I give them a 3 on 5
Service: Our waiter was Antonie and he was amazing. Super attentive, very helpful, and polite He didn't just serve our food and leave. He asked our feed back, he told us his personal favorites. He was great and I wish that there were more waiters like him in the world! Service 5 on 5
Overall: I would probably go back to La Belle et La Boeuf but it would have to be on one of those nights when I'm really craving a hamburger. This isn't a place you can go to when you don't know what you want or if you aren't in a hamburger mood. I need more variety on my menu but if you are a burger lover this is the place to go!