CLOSED IN 2011
Vintage interiors, vintage people – serving up fine “Cuisine canadienne” since its opening in 1967-68. The sign outside is as retro as the red padded doors and sixties’ rococo wallpaper inside. When I visited earier today, the people inside were vintage too, averaging between 75-90 years (wait staff included). It felt a bit like being back home in Quebec City: everyone was white, Francophone and old.
But then came Yvon and Ginette. Yvon the waiter traipsed out of the kitchen looking like a bloated Greek Johnny Halliday with a curly jet-black afro-perm and stick-on pencil mustache. It’s worth coming to this place just to see this guy’s face. Really. Then Ginette, a gray-haired taxi driver, stormed in and started shaking up all the old folks: “Salut Johanne, Salut Gisèle.” She seemed to know the patrons too. “Ça fait longtemps qu’on vous a vu, Georgette!” (Haven’t seen you in a long time, Georgette!). “Ah,” replied Georgette, slurping away at her chicken noodle soup. “J’avais mal au dos. On n’avait pas envie de bouger ben ben.” (My back hurt. I didn’t feel like moving much)
Ginette then picked up Le Journal de Montreal. Today’s headline: “Policiers à Louer” (Cops for rent). “C’est quoi c’te niaiserie là?” said Ginette. “J’en louerais ben un policier moi pour y en sacrer une!” (What is this crap? If I ever rent a cop it’ll be to give him a good beating.)
After talking to everyone in the restaurant and leafing through the tabloid, Ginette finally sat down to order “un pâté à la viande.” Yvon let her know that they were all out of meat pie, but that the most important thing in life was not food but “de nous avoir nous autres,” the fact of having so many good friends at l’Étoile d’Or. Awwww…
Fries: Made from frozen fries, but I have rarely tasted such a good frozen fry. Crispy golden on the outside, soft on the inside, and cooked in new clean oil. 23/30.
Gravy: A little gelatinous, but the taste is okay – beef gravy with a spicy edge. Temperature was too hot, steaming away for the first ten minutes. 32/50.
Cheese: What the hell is this? I suppose it’s better than grated cheese, but then I tasted it and realized it was chunks of that tasteless junk that passes off as “mozzarella” in North America. Not quite sharp enough for poutine, not even remotely close to squeaky cheese curds 2/20.
TOTAL SCORE: 57/100
Verdict: Don’t let the poor poutine stop you from coming to this place to see Yvon’s curly perm.
Value: Good value – $4.75 for plate pictured above – too bad the poutine is crap.
Opening Hours: Old people hours – open in the morning, closes mid-afternoon.