Friday, May 24, 2013

Avenue O for Omnomnom - L'Avenue

L'Avenue is somewhat well-known in Montreal as the brunch place to go to, which is probably why it has insane line ups every day. From the outside, it's a pretty inconspicuous restaurant, with just a window lined with Nutella jars and fresh fruit that gives you a peek to the kitchen area behind the counters, and another window with a really odd-looking mannequin. That might explain whey my friend and I walked right past this place without a second glance while looking for it. Although how we managed to miss the epic long line-up leading up to the restaurant is beyond me... Because if you're planning on visiting L'Avenue, you better be prepared to wait for it.

I've only ever waited close to or over an hour to eat at a restaurant at three places: Kazu (because it was Kazu, not long after it first opened), The Cheesecake Factory (because we didn't know where else to go, and what the hell, Americans? It was packed at 11 pm on a weekday!) and now here, at L'Avenue. And out of those three times, only once did I wait outside for an hour in really chilly weather (I actually went a while ago, but didn't get around to writing the post until now). Waiting an hour in line in the freezing cold on a Monday. For brunch. Because apparently Montrealers are just as crazy for brunch as Americans are for cheesecake.

Accessibility - Grade: B+
Oops, totally forgot to include this one. It's about a five-ten minute walk from Mont-Royal metro? Except my friend and I totally walked passed it while looking for it, so it took just more like fifteen minutes.

Service - Grade: B
Considering how busy this place is, the service is actually not bad. Our waitress was very friendly, but we always had to flag her down to get her attention, and she did forget about our coffees. The service is also quite slow. I know that the table next to ours got there before us, but we got our fruit skewers before them, so they were grumbling about it a bit. To be fair, though, their fruit skewers came with their plate, and their plates came before ours...

Ambiance Notes
This is place is... interesting. Kind of grungy, kind of alternative, and definitely artsy and different. The walls are covered in graffiti, and there's a motorcycle hanging from the ceiling. The mannequin next to the bathroom is decked in some BDSM outfit. The decor isn't something you'd normally associate with brunch, unless you're having brunch with, say, Lady Gaga. It's probably not somewhere you'd want to bring, say, your mother-in-law. Unless she's awesome. Also, definitely check out the bathrooms; they've become as renowned as the restaurant itself.

Food - Grade: B
L'Avenue has a very extensive menu, and you'll find that you'll have a hard time choosing what to order. I know I did.
Tropical fruit smoothie - Raspberry, mint, lychee
We started off with some giant, fresh fruit smoothies. Mine had a mix of berries, some mint and lychee and a whole bunch of other stuff that I've forgotten about. It was definitely refreshing, and surprisingly sour, which is a good indication that its made with fresh fruit.

Tropical fruit smoothie - Mango and lychee

My friend ordered the mango and lychee (with a whole bunch of other ingredients) smoothie. Out of the two, I'd have to say that I preferred this one. It's sweeter, with a more nectar-y feel from the mango. The berry one was a bit too tart for my taste.

Fruit skewer
We each started off with a fresh fruit skewer, which comes with every plate. While not quite as fancied up as the fruit from other brunch places, the fruit here is fresh and actually edible, hah! I find the fruit at the generic chain brunch places tend to be either mushy, overripe or underripe, and so I never touch them. I'd still avoid the grapefruit here, since it's grimace-inducing sour, but everything else is fair game.

Smoked salmon eggs benedict
My friend ordered the smoked salmon eggs benedict, which seems to be a staple in every brunch place. It also comes with a small bowl of potatoes. I didn't try it, but she seemed to enjoy it.

Chorizo II eggs benedict
I'm not sure why it's called the Chorizo II, seeing as how there wasn't a Chorizo I on the menu. Basically, there's an english muffin in there somewhere topped with a mixture of potatoes, red and green peppers and chorizo, topped with a poached egg covered with Hollandaise sauce.

The chorizo mix was lightly spicy and flavourful, and the english muffin was buttery and crunchy on the outer edges, while still soft in the middle. Many people swear by the eggs benedict here, but I personally can't tell the difference between the quality eggs benedict here and in other places. All I know is that it went quite well with the chorizo mix. The grilled potatoes, on the other hand, are very well-seasoned and absolutely delicious. Best brunch potatoes I've had to date.

Price - $$-$$$
For a brunch restaurant, this place can be a little pricey. The smoothies we ordered were around $7 apiece, and brunch items around around $15 a plate. Portion sizes also vary from plate to plate. After tax and tip, I paid close to $30 for my meal, which is pretty steep for brunch. If you stick to just a plate without any drinks, then yes, it's pretty affordable.

Final Grade: B
L'Avenue is definitely one of the most interesting brunch places Montreal has to offer, from its varied menu to its unique decor and ambiance. I wasn't quite as dazzled by the food as I would have hoped, and I don't know if it was worth waiting an hour in line for, but I can definitely see myself returning to try some of their other items (duck confit eggs benedict, anyone?). Well, maybe once it's warmer out...

922 Ave Du Mont-Royal E 

(514) 523-8780

L'Avenue on Urbanspoon


Post a Comment