Last weekend we decided to make a little getaway to Montreal to surprise my sister and her boyfriend who were in Boston for the week. After poking around the web for somewhere that looked good, but that wouldn't break the bank, I settled on Boris Bistro, located in the downtown area not far from Vieux Montreal.
Part of the reason I chose Boris bistro was the atmosphere - tucked away on Rue McGill behind an old stone wall is a wonderful tree-filled patio with umbrellas and tables. With all of the birds chirping, Chris compared said it reminded him of the Rainforest Cafe, but only in jest of course. A large awning extending from the indoor-portion of the restaurant, which is open to the patio with a large window, extends over a small portion of the patio. I would imagine that with the trees, umbrellas, and awning, it would be no problem at all to eat outside while it was raining.
To get things moving, we put in an order for drinks as well as two appetizers. Pommes frites in duck fat served with a house mayonnaise? YES PLEASE. We also had the trio of tapenades, which included a spiced olive, a citrus-y artichoke, and a Liptaeur cheese tapenade. All three were nice and very different from one another, and the baskets of bread provided (plus a few crostini) worked well for spreading. Both apps were reasonably priced as well.
For my main dish the steak tartare was a clear choice, and I went the healthier route with the salad instead of frites after our appetizer of them. The best part about this steak tartare was the plethora of caper and cornichon bits throughout, as you can see in the picture. The salad was sizable and tossed in a nice vinaigrette.
My sister went with the duck confit sandwich, which would have been my second choice. Served on super moist nut bread, it came with a choice of frites or salad as well. The duck was almost pulled and loosely chopped into thick chunks, and it had pieces of thinly sliced celery, ample sprouts, and a spread of sweet mustard. No problem inhaling that!
Chris went with the duo of fish tartare, salmon and tuna. He wasn't a huge fan of the salmon due to the presence of pickles, but I was kind of enough to finish it for him. The tuna, on the other hand, was to his liking and topped with diced onion and cucumber. To accompany was a small Asian-style slaw and a drizzling of wasabi aioli.
Lastly was Phil's duck risotto with oyster mushrooms, sage and orange cream sauce. What immediately came to mind to both me and my sister was my family's Polish mushroom soup with imported mushrooms at Christmas Eve dinner. I would have devoured this even without the bonus of chunks of duck and nicely-done risotto!
Overall we had a really excellent meal. The only complain I might have is that the glasses of wine, averaging at 11 Canadian each, are a bit on the pricey side, and bottles are the same, starting at around 50. Next time I'm in Montreal I'd certainly consider dining here again, especially with items on the menu like grilled bison, duck rillette, and local Quebec cheeses that I didn't have a chance to try!