Where: The name of the game is Baxo, and boy, they cook some mean game. This place can be found facing the historical Marché Bonsecours, in the upstairs corner unit of the string of boutiques and restaurants of MTL’s most famous pedestrian street. Located at 343 Saint-Paul East, this new restaurant is making a name for itself in the heart of the Old Montreal.
Kind of Food: In the starters you’ll find a lot of seafood, salads, finely cooked veggies, lobster, and even some crispy pork belly. The mains get a lot more serious. You’re looking at a whole bunch of meat – whether smoked, braised or roasted – including pork, beef, and some of that delicious duck. (I’ve only recently started eating duck, but mannn is it good!) Other popular choices here are the oyster and cheese plates.
Usual Suspects: Hard to judge this time around. We were there on a Thursday night – but it wasn’t your average night, either. We were there for Burger Week Mtl, and a lot of others were, too. It was hard to tell who the regulars were. I’ll stick with business crowds for lunch and 5 à 7, and then couples or small parties for the rest of the night.
Why I love it: What’s not to like? It’s in an old building in the old port, with brick walls, dark mahogany wood, a great bar with signature cocktails (check their impressive drink menu)… Simply put, it’s a pretty nice place. We were given amazing service that night, even in a packed house with only three waiters. And hey, the food wasn’t too bad either! More on that in a minute…
Why you’ll love it: Probably for the same reason we all loved it – the food! I mean, don’t get me wrong – given the location of the restaurant, your wallet won’t exactly be happy with the prices. But the food is fantastic; the service is even better. And if you take your lady friend here, you’ll probably even get laid. Maybe.
Who to take: If you want to smash down as much deliciousness as possible, go with your friends. It’d be an awesome place to go to with a small group of friends, where you can make some noise in their window-side corner booths. Otherwise, save up some cash and treat your better half to some good eats. Hell, you can even throw yourself a private party!
We ordered: The Hulk Smash. Yep, all of us. Baxo’s original burger, designed and engineered specifically for the competition, was comprised of a three-inch thick beef patty, layered with Monterey Jack cheese, pulled deer (the highlight, no doubt) and crunchy bacon slices. It was served with pickle and excellent fries, with homemade spicy mayo. As an appetizer, we shared the Crispy Pork Belly, served with Pan-seared Scallops and Spicy Tomato Chutney. What else can I say? We go hard. Still, it doesn’t outweigh the fact that I was so full that when the waiter asked us if we wanted dessert, I felt like I was about to explode. (We all later admitted to having serious meat sweats all night…)
Staff Recommendation: The Crispy Pork Belly as an appetizer and the Hulk Smash for the main. On the regular menu, the waiter suggested the Gaspor Farm Pork Chops, which sound incredible. Next time I’ll either start with the Hand-cut Appalachian Deer Tartar or the Beer Battered Cod on a Stick as an appetizer.
Daniel Bromberg is a writer and photographer for TheMainMTL – specializing in history lessons, event and “explore” features, and restaurant reviews. Find him on Twitter and Instagram @mynxbrom. All photos credited to Daniel Bromberg.