Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Please refrain from kissing any grill, even if it's at Kiss Grill.


Kiss Grill is another hole-in-the-wall Asian joint, owned and run by a Chinese family, and specializes in hot pots and grilled meats. Everything is cooked in the kitchen and brought to you, and you can choose the level of spiciness you want in most of their dishes. They also offer complimentary (and refillable!) iced tea.

I never understood why selling street food in Montreal is illegal. I mean, yeah sure, there's the cleanliness issue, but it's not like cities where they actually sell street food are trash-ridden... oh wait...

NYC, the aftermath of some kind of street food festival.

Okay, but seriously. Ottawa and Toronto does it, and it's not like people are wading in filth there. Plus, I miss those days I would walk down the streets in China and be able to buy kebabs, pickled vegetables, barbecued corn, fried squid and even skewered fruit at every three-foot-interval. Oh, nostalgia...

KissGrill is probably the closest I can get to eating Chinese (or Mongolian, really) lamb brochettes akin to the ones found in China. Thank God it doesn't disappoint.

Accessibility - Grade: A
It was a 5 minute walk from Guy-Concordia metro, but since it's moving to Ste-Catherine's street, somewhere near Kazu, it'll be about a 10-minute walk.

Service: B+
The owner himself usually serves us. He's a man of few words and may seem a bit stoic on the outside, but he is actually really kind and really takes care of his customers.

(Edit 01/09/2011: I went back recently, and the service wasn't as good. The owner seemed flustered with the amount of people, and was a little bit snappish, and some of our dishes came pretty late. Our waitress was very nice, though, and made sure our iced tea was never empty, so I'll leave it at an B+ for now).

Food - Grade: A-
Bonus Marks: Best lamb and beef brochettes I've had in Montreal.

3 appetizer plate

We ordered the 3 appetizer plate, and we chose the marinated duck-wings (not shown in this picture), cucumber and squid salad and the pork jelly. The duck wings were a little bony, but tasted pretty good, and the squid salad was juicy and lightly spiced. The pork jelly, while maybe not for everyone, are slices of jelly made of gelatinized pork organs, and contains pieces of pork meat in it. Yeah, sounds gross when I say it like that, but it's actually really good. Drizzled with some oil and spice, it's actually a really refreshing dish.

Lobster Balls

The lobster balls are served in a light broth with some baby bok choy, cucumbers, and a really pretty piece of processed fake crab. The balls themselves had either crab or lobster caviar embedded in the meat, giving the balls an added crunch and pop.

Lamb and Beef brochettes
 This is what the restaurant specializes in, and boy do they deliver. The brochettes are seasoned and cooked in the kitchen and brought to you on metal skewers. The meat is tender and juicy, and they spice it up with cumin and various other herbs.

Kalbi beef and Hot Pot

The Kalbi beef was very well done, but the hot pot wasn't really anything special. If anything, it was a complement to the grilled meats. It contained mushrooms, bean sprouts, tofu and random pieces of spam. Even though it's called a hot pot, you don't actually cook the foods yourself; the bring out the pot with everything already cooked. It's more of a soup than a hot pot, I suppose.

Oh, I suppose I should add a spice warning here. Since the clientele for this restaurant is mainly Chinese people, they really don't hold back on the spices. If it's written that it's spicy on the menu, it's because it intends on burning off at least a thin layer of epidermis in your mouth. If you have epidermis in your mouth.

Also, for all you non-meat-eaters out there, KissGrill also has a section in the menu that caters to your needs. I've never tried anything off their vegetarian menu, but it seems to contain a lot of imitation meats and the likes. They also have a couple of items on their regular menu that doesn't contain any meat, such as their scallop pancake.

Price - $-$$ (Cash only)
I remember ordering 4 lamb brochettes, 4 beef brochettes, 1 hot pot, 1 eel rice, 1 chicken wing platter, 1 lobster ball bowl, 1 appetizer plate and it came up to around $20. So, eat your heart out, students!

Final Grade: A-
Edit: I went back recently, and the quality of the food seemed to drop a bit. They still serve a mean lamb brochette, but the kalbi beef wasn't as good as it used to be. The other foods still seemed to be pretty good, but I do hope they won't allow the quality to drop any further. It still remains one of my favourite Chinese restaurants in Montreal, and if you like barbecued meats, I still strongly recommend that you try it out!

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New location!
1858 St-Catherine West, Montreal


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