The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 11.13.02


Get a little Nooks in your life

This month-old bistro on Montreal's West Island shows that a female touch at local eateries is long overdue. Warm contemporary decor with a flare accents wonderful home-made Mediterranean cuisine in a formula that will guarantee success for this startup.

Already known for their unique breakfasts and lunches, the restaurant has designed a dinner menu that is as focused on fresh ingredients and individual tastes. All three menus comprise items that allow a glimpse of global culinary trends.

Partners Gita and Rita share their vision of healthy, fresh Mediterranean delicacies with a chef who is in tune with their direction. It all comes together in a relaxing and colorful way. Serving dishes reflect tasteful attention to style and are colorful.

It's all about the food here though and I was pleasantly surprised at the ease at which such a new venture operates. They have already worked out the kinks, it appears. Pricing on all three menus is so reasonable that diners better get there early as the word is already spreading.

Breakfasts include such items as mid-eastern omelets containing a variety of unique ingredients, fresh croissants with rare creamery butter from France are baked in- house, as are all breads. Cheese plates and olives with cold cuts and baguette make for an original selection along with fresh juice concoctions such as the First Kiss and Lust For Life. Winter Sunshine might be a propos as it revives you with kiwi, orange, banana, pineapple, and vitamin C.

The lunch menu features entrees such as home-made hummus and taboulle along with hot crispy pitas topped with veggies, chicken, goat cheese, and oregano. Good pasta dishes and fresh salads and Nooks' unique specialties such as beef sublime and Lebanese kafta compliment items such as home french fries done in a way that includes spices such as cumin.

I visited at dinner and was impressed with little things that make this place special. A small cup of creamy coated peanuts arrived for noshing as we looked over the menu. A basket of fresh-baked olive bread went well with a half liter of very good house red wine.

My partner ordered a starter of steaming mushroom soup while I enjoyed a really great romaine salad. Its balsamic and honey dressing was sweet and satisfying all at once.

A choice of Nooks' special pasta for her and a shrimp Sambuca dish for me arrived hot and direct from the kitchen. Spaghettini, jumbo shrimps, and cherry tomatoes danced in a colorful plate across from me and a bed of pilaf rice napped in Sambuca sauce showed off large jumbo shrimps at my station. Both dishes proved talent in the kitchen.

In fact, we haven't had shrimp this good since our visit to Columbia restaurant in Florida last winter.

I was curious as to a description of the calamari done chef-special style and was presented with a basket for sampling. They were fresh and crispy without a hint of grease and went well with a perfect yogurt sauce.

Items such as chicken with Brie and salmon filet with lemon sauce tempt as does veal topped with spinach and melted cheese.

Prices start at $ 9 and top out at $ 18. The competition will cringe at prices such as this.

Dessert proved to be worthy. Crème Brulee cracked at our spoons insistance and revealed small morsels of peach at its core. Cappuccino flavored by select Italian old-school beans revealed Sicilian authenticity. Some one has good connections here.

Nooks can accommodate groups and I suggest calling to arrange a vacation from winter darkness soon. Located at 3693 Saint John Blvd. in Dollard-des-Ormeaux. 514-624-3456.