Monday, April 5, 2010

Brunching & Lunching it in Montreal Part 3: Beautys

To be perfectly honest I have probably eaten at Beautys for brunch or lunch 6 times in the last 14 days.  I wake up dreaming of Beautys waffles & blintzes. Beautys is a true Montreal establishment that most savvy tourists and every a-list celeb hits while passing through Montreal. I met up there with someone who had never heard of Beautys for a business lunch last week, and let me just say that if you are local and you have never even heard of Beautys, it better be because someone's kept you locked up in their basement for the last 25 years.

Now, Beautys. Everytime I slide my tush into a booth and navigate it around those big, worn down dips in the stuffed vinyl upholstery, and look down at that paper placemat, I know I'm home.  What a place. Clean, bright, stylish, and just right. People describe it as one of Montreals great"diners", but its not a diner. Its an amazing restaurant with top quality gourmet recipes and foods, disguised as a cool looking retro diner. There is no other diner experience like it in the world. 

If you go during normal eating hours, and there's no line when you get there, have a peek in the window because the place is probably closed. I was even there mid-week a few days ago and the place was packed to the brim with a small lineup out the door. 
I don't mind the wait. It's kind of part of the charm. Lots of chatter... 20-somethings recounting their nights out on the town, families trying to wrangle their hungry children, excited tourists reading the articles on the wall and getting helpful travel info from fellow diners-in-line. But Hymie is the start of the show. The 80-something founder mans the door and handles line-up himself.

Find him in the small waiting hallway (between the exterior and interior door of the restaurant) checking on the line, reminding us that "everyone is welcome", working the crowd with old time one-liners about the place. "Someone has been here since yesterday...we don't rush you at Beautys". He makes you want to experience Beautys, and even if you feel like he might not be absorbing that you want a table for four, that he may seem a little too old for the fast paced lunch scene- he's got more marbles than I do on a sunday morning, let alone any regular day. Hymie's also there every day of the week. In fact not only him - his son Larry and his grand daughter Alana. Three generations working together (and working their butts off to boot). Unbelievable to see, and pretty awesome in my opinion.

Hymie runs a tight operation

3 generations, Beautyful.

The menu is something else. Some of the best red lentil, split pea, & vegetable soup around. For me, every meal - whether breakfast or lunch - begins with a soup. The coffee is also first-rate. Just when I think I have discovered the perfect item and have settled into a comfortable "regular order" zone, Boom! Something amazing goes whizzing by that I just have to try. I have been eating at Beautys regularly for over 9 years now, and I have gone through many phases of different "favourites" and I am glad that I can proudly report that I have now had almost everything on the menu. I have reviewed the intel, and put it into a "Beautys Top Ten" list that I think is varied enough to cater to everyone, with some classic and some original (but all incredible) choices. Here she is, in no particular order (*Please note I have left out very obvious things like soup, challah with Jam, and other sides in order to keep the list at ten and not twenty five):

1. Greek Salad with chicken (either chicken salad or grilled)

(not the greek salad, but a scoop of amazing chicken salad)

2. Superbeautys 2 
The fulll enchilada, this is the true hangover remedy of the ages. Eggs, sausage, bacon, potatoes and two pancakes.

3. Beautys Bonjour
Fried egg sandwich on a bagel, with cheese and bacon, breakfast in the perfect package. I always throw in a little tomato and lettuce.

4. Beautys Special
Bagel, lox and cream cheese, is a Montreal classic, and Beautys is the place that makes the original of this classic. The assembly and ingredients has been passed down through the generations at Beautys, and every time one is dropped at a table, it's a little piece of Montreal bagel art that's a treat for the eyes. 

5. Waffles with frozen "yogurt", mini chocolate chipits and fruit - (it's ice cream, but I like to pretend its frozen yogurt). I went through a serious phase of being obsessed with this menu item. I have recently replaced it with blintzes, but it's a great alternative to a "sweet" style pancake breakfast, and I will always consider it as I walk through the door at Beautys. This waffle wonder is also a great way to get your niece or nephew to love you forever.

6. Blintzes with sour cream & strawberries
I can't even explain it. I had never even tried blintzes before having them at Beautys, and I dont like them anywhere else. Ask for them well done, and experience something euphoric.

7. Club Salad
Like a club sandwich, in a salad. Bacon, chicken, cheese, tomato, and lettuce piled into one amazing chopped salad.

8. Fried Banana bread
Even though I like my recipe better, they butter it up and fry it on the griddle so perfectly- it's the only way to end a meal with a cup of coffee.

9. Rice pudding
The only place I will eat rice pudding. In fact, even if you think you hate rice pudding, you'll love it at Beautys.

1o. Mocchachino royale & all the smoothies

The good food doesn't end there - in fact it's just the tip of the iceberg. (You better get eating now). The service is great. The staff are friendly and efficient, they bring crayons to the table to keep the youngens entertained (and yes, you will find me with a cup of crayons dumped out on the table colouring in my placemat too). But don't be upset if when you order your bacon well done the waiter seems to be scribbling with his pen 3 mm above the paper and pretending to actually write this request. It's air-guitar special requests only at Beautys. They won't ask the kitchen for it, but they'll nod their heads as if they are doing it. But no worries, your bacon is still going to arrive well done & crispy.

Another happy bacon eating customer- she likes it crispy 

The takeout is great. I go all the time in the summer for a takeout picnic and head up the street to Mont Royal for a gourmet picnic - and I really feel it's the best way to celebrate the city we live in. It could be added to a list of tourist "must-do" activities. The takeout counter at Beautys is full of great stuff: mini bottles of maple syrup, banana breads, salad dressings, soup & crouton bags (croutons are made from Montreal bagels). You can pick up iconic Beautys T-shirts, hats, or coffee mugs too - a perfect gift to bring home to someone if you are visiting Montreal.

It's probably obvious by now, but I really love this place. It's not cheap, but again, it's not a diner.  If you want straight up eggs and bacon and don't care about the particulars, you can eat elsewhere and save a few bucks on breakfast.  Then again an egg breakfast with bacon, potatoes and toast will only run you $8.00 or so. I think you can handle it.

**Special mention of the BLT on Challah, because my man will kill me if I don't- It's delicious!

93 Mont- Royal West
Open Weekdays 7am-3:30pm
Sat 7am-4:30pm 
Sun 8am-4:30pm

No comments:

Post a Comment