Chef-owners Frédéric Morin and David McMillan are the mavericks behind Joe Beef, a delightfully disheveled counterpoint to the city’s often overstyled restaurants. The décor (a bear’s head trophy over the bar; rustic wooden tables; très country checkered napkins) verges on irreverent, but the food is far from it. Though oysters and crab cakes make a cameo, the emphasis here is decidedly Québécois—heavy on meat, with healthy doses of foie gras and boudin, served with a poached egg. Morin and McMillan’s antiestablishment stance has worked so well that their peanut-size dining room in the up-and-coming Little Burgundy is now a favorite of both the city’s star hockey player, Saku Koivu, and the Quebec premier, Jean Charest.
Insider Tip: Reservations for the petite dining room can be hard to come by. If you’re having trouble, try booking a seat at the lively little bar for a great perch overlooking the whole room.
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From the From the May 2008 Food & Wine Go List
Couches and bar tables dot this new, no-reservations lounge housed in a landmark building. <a href="/bestnewchefs/?year=1995&chef=5CA9792C-7F82-40D6-93F366DC71C6CE20">Traci Des Jardins (an F&W Best New Chef 1995)</a> created the remarkable small plates menu; Eugenio Jardim’s extensive wine list includes a comprehensive Champagne selection that’s a hit with the crowd from the nearby opera house.
We loved: Duck meatballs with Mission figs; warm bread salad with baby artichokes and Crescenza cheese.