Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Brunching & Lunching it in Montreal Part 4: Le Cartet

Le Cartet is an all around great sunday morning brunch spot. The place is beautiful in an old montreal industrial style kind of way. It's well lit by natural light pouring through windows on both ends of its long corridor shape. It's got high ceilings, white painted brick walls, and several long communal tables, with Edison bulbs hanging in a straight line at different heights all along the interior... their wires artistically knotted in line with the design style. It's a very warm and welcoming, montreal style decor that I love... especially on a sunny Sunday morning.

The waiting area is a small gourmet grocery corner of the restaurant, with plenty of interesting chocolates, teas, biscuits, olive oils, and ready to eat takeout items in an open fridge (fun to pop in and grab a little cheese platter with grapes and crackers). As soon as I walk in I fill up an Illy coffee at the self serve coffee counter in a to-go cup, to have while I wait. I'm pretty sure that counter is meant for people actually coming in to buy coffee and pastries to go, but I always help myself to a cup of Java, and nurse it until we sit down. No one has ever seemed to mind. I can handle a weekend morning wait for food... but that first coffee feels like life or death. The wait for a table is never more than 15 minutes, and the time passes quickly because of all the local and imported gourmet products to check out.

Le Cartet serves all the usual breakfast fare, but the highlight of the breakfast experience at Le Cartet are the different "complete breakfast" choices for $14.95. 5 or 6 interesting and different breakfast platters, all including a small fresh-squeezed oj, coffee & toast. To name a few: "Les Cantons", an egg, bacon, sausage, and potatoes served in a cast iron skillet with fruit and cheese on the side. "L'Atlantique", lox, a baked salmon cake, and scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, and a dill/yogurt dipping sauce in a shot glass... fruit and cheese on the side. My personal favorite is "Le Sante", two poached eggs served on multigrain toast with a chevre spread and arugula, a small yogurt parfait with blueberry and granola, figs, fruit, and organic cheddar cheese. I love it. Also, for an extra four dollars you can add a Mimosa to the party and make it a real breakfast with friends to remember! Sometimes it's just what the hangover calls for, or the just another way to celebrate a beautiful morning in our great city.

The service is quick and professional. The credit card processing is done at your table for a quick exit when you're ready to go out and enjoy the day. I'd probably rank Le Cartet last of the four spots I've covered. Not because it isn't a great spot, it's just not as consistent as Olive & Gourmando, Mckiernan, & Beautys. Everyone I have sent there gives the place rave reviews, but I do feel that the quality has gone down since they've opened: not as much attention to detail, a little less home made feeling (they used to have amazing jam) and sometimes, just sometimes, my "repas complet" choice feels like it was pre assembled before I ordered it and sat waiting on the kitchen ledge until my order came in. That being said, I still keep Le Cartet near the top of my list for brunch spots. It's just got the right sunday morning energy, and great food too. If you've never been there, try it out - it's also a great Montreal spot to take out of towners, who would enjoy a stroll by the old port after a deliciously gourmet breakfast.

Le Cartet
106 Rue McGill 
Monday- Friday 7am- 8pm
Saturday-Sunday 9am-5pm

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    I found out about your blog after reading an article about you in the Gazette today. You have wonderful talent and all the best luck to you!

    We are moving to Montreal (west island) this summer from San Francisco. I'm curious about where to find good fruit and vegetable markets (in and around the city, I don't mind the drive...). Preferably local and organic but if not possible that's ok too. My husband and I are big foodie people (we have a restaurant in San Mateo, CA. www.231ellsworth.com) and want to get a handle on where to purchase some food items we wish we can take with us from San Francisco. Besides that, do you happen to know of some asian markets (preferably Japanese)?

    Looking forward to hearing from you, I understand if it's not immediate, you seem like you have your plate full!