Sometimes, the happiest events are the ones you don't expect. Such was our experience in Montreal with a restaurant called "Chez Thony". Alice and I had walked for miles, uphill from the downtown area to go see a spectacular looking church known as "the Oratory" (it truly is an amazing structure). Well we explored the entire church and admired the beauty of it and it's surrounding gardens. But all that walking made us mighty hungry.
As we were walking down the main street near the church (Cote-Des-Niege Road) I saw a sign: "Chez Thony". It advertised (in French) Mediterranean food, and some other cuisine I could not figure out. We love Mediterranean food so we walked in.
The place was beautifully decorated, and it was clean as a whistle. I put my limited French to use and ordered some dishes. Mine had "boeuf" in it, which of course means "beef" so I guessed I could not go wrong. (It was called "toufee' de legumes au boeuf". It's a very good sign in a restaurant when you order your meal and it takes about 20 minutes to put it on your table. That means they are making it fresh and from scratch! (I hate American fast food.)
The food arrived...and oh my gosh..it was some of the BEST food I have ever put in my mouth! I have never tasted flavors like this. It was all so delicious. Alice felt the same way about her sandwich, veggies, and french fries. So, once more in my limited French I asked our waitress (whose name was Isabelle) what was in my dish that tasted so good. She graciously tried to explain in her limited English that it was beef and plaintains and something called "aubergines" and "chou". I had no idea what those words meant. So she left to go look up the English translation. Isabelle came back and wrote down in her beautiful handwriting that "aubergines" meant "eggplant" and "chou" is cabbage!
Hahahahaha!!! I explained to her in half French and half English I don't like eggplant or plantains (cabbage is ok)....but somehow they had made all of it work together to be absolutely scrumptious!!! She seemed pretty happy to hear that. Then Chef Thony himself came out and asked me if the food was "tres bien". "Oui!! Tres bien! Tres bien! Delicieux!" I told him I loved his restaurant and the food and the service so much I would write a whole blog about it (and I gave him APR's website address to look for it the following week). The service was excellent, Thony is an amazingly good chef, the food was just what we needed (and priced just right)...and I felt like I made some new friends. As we were leaving the people in the kitchen were waving to us and saying "bye bye" in English. What sweet people.
Oh, what was that word I could not figure out on the sign? It was (in English) "Antilles". Chef Thony and his staff were all from Haiti and their menu is both Caribbean and Medierranean. I'll be back. I can't wait to try the couscous next time!