When we opened Joe Beef in Montreal in 2005, we knew exactly what we wanted to be: a small restaurant serving homemade Canadian food, focusing on the best local ingredients, with a short menu we could change every day. And we wanted to cook as we pleased. If we're excited about goat, we serve it every day for three weeks, until our customers can't handle it anymore and we can't eat any more of it.
We didn't want anyone to come into Joe Beef and feel scared or belittled by the food. So there's always something democratic, like smoked meat on a hot dog bun with girolles (chanterelles). We never serve course after course in a formal way. We bring out the girolles hot dogs, and you have them with Riesling; then, as you're drinking and eating, the smoked fish comes out and you crack open another bottle of wine. Bang, the lamb shows up and another bottle of wine. That's eating Quebec-style: It's loud and fasta cacophony! This is why high-end restaurants always fail in Montreal. We just can't stand being quiet.
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The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts is due out October 2011.