Saturday, July 30, 2011

Marvel at the portions at Marven's!

Marven's is another hole-in-the-wall restaurants, this time situated in a residential district of Parc-Extension. Honestly, if you weren't looking for the restaurant, you probably would never find it. Once you enter the restaurant, the decor is also rather bland - except for the giant moosehead hanging on the wall that stares into your soul - and yet, you will still see a huge line-up at the door. Why? Great food and huge portions.

Accessibility - Grade: C+
Admittedly, Marven's is really out of the way. It's smack in the middle of a residential area, and the sign is so inconspicuous that you'll probably walk right by it, even if you were looking for the restaurant. It's about a 15-20 minute walk from Acadie metro. You can also take a bus and shorten the walk to 5 minutes, but I hate taking the bus, so I didn't look up the line.

Service - Grade: B
Cookie-cutter service. Our waiter was polite, but mainly just took our orders, and brought us our food, and then left us alone. He was too busy running around the floor because they were 3 waiters and the restaurant was packed.

Food - Grade: A-
Bonus Marks: Best fried Calamari I've had to date.

These salads actually came with main meals. Usually, there isn't much to talk about with salads, but this particular Greek salad was incredibly refreshing. The dressing was tart, but not overly sour, and the feta cheese was of the exact right saltiness.The caesar salad was nice and creamy, and evenly mixed. It contained jus the right amount of dressing so that you aren't left with a plate full of lettuce, trying to scrape the sides of the plate for more dressing.

Garlic bread

There's also the complimentary bread platter. There isn't much to say about this, except that it's seasoned with garlic. It's also a bit on the dry side. But hey, it's free, and honestly, you won't even give it a second thought once the real food comes.

Rib Steak

...Such as this massive beast. Juicy and cooked to perfection, and marinated so well that you don't need dipping gravy for it. We ordered the steak rare, and it was blood red inside, especially around the bone, but miraculously, it didn't bleed all over the place when we cut into it. The mushrooms were as fat and juicy as the steak itself. The sauce was just good ol' steak sauce. There was no fancy spice or fruit sauce of any sort, but it was still damn good.

Fried Calamari

This. This is the best calamari I've had in Montreal. Huge pieces of calamari, lightly battered and fried, and then drenched in their special 'house sauce' (not the generic tomato-based dip!)... The calamari is also juicy and chewy, but not rubbery and elastic, and the batter doesn't apart when you bite into it! The plate is also massive, and it comes with a salad and fries or rice. Ugh... My mouth is watering just writing about it...

Update 28/06/2012
- New pictures
Have another picture

We visited Marven's again recently, and things haven't changed much. The calamari is still as good as last time's, and the restaurant is still surprisingly busy for a weekday night. 

Lamb chops
Instead of the steak, we tried the lamb chops this time. For $20.99, you get a salad (Caesar or Greek), a side of fries or rice and five plump lamb chops. The lamb was cooked pretty thoroughly, with just a hint of pink in the middle, but was still juicy and tender. It was pretty well seasoned, and it had a smokey taste to it, which masked the gamey lamb taste pretty well. Personally, I preferred the steak (maybe because I prefer beef), but my lamb-loving friend was adamant that this one was better. Depends on your choice of poison, I suppose.

Price - $$-$$$ (Cash only)
It really depends on what and how you order it. We were two people and we ordered these two dishes, which came to just under $55 with tax and tip included, but we only finished half the calamari and had to force ourselves to finish the steak. We didn't even touch the sides of rice and fries. These two platters could have been easily split between 3 people. So, students, I'd say go, but make sure you have good buddies you can share the food and split the bill with.

Final Grade - B+

Marven's on Urbanspoon
880 Avenue Ball, Montreal
(514) 277-3625


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