I found myself up at Saint Vital Centre the other day, and couldn’t decide where to eat. There are a lot of choice in the area, but none struck my fancy. In the end I went with Montanas Cookhouse, because it was closest to where I crossed the street.
By nature I’m not a fan of chains. I prefer local, but once in a while I’ll give a chain a try. Montana’s is one of these places that I’m sure I visited ages ago. Like most of those, I have not real memory of the food. What I do remember I’ll be talking about later in the review.
The space at Montanas is large and open. Neither time that I dined there was it so full that they shunted me off to the lounge. It also means that there is generally a little space around you as well.
Each table is set with brown paper. Each paper having some reference to a menu item drawn on it. There are also crayons at the table if you feel like indulging in some drawing of your own.
Montanas Cookhouse not Steakhouse: or words are important
I’d never really paid attention to the fact that Montana’s calls itself a cookhouse and not a steakhouse. This lead me to deciding to order steak, and order it medium rare. This was a mistake. One expects a little chew with a medium rare steak. It shouldn’t however, bring to mind chewing bubble gum. Fortunately, the house brand Steak sauce they serve, somewhat covers up this flaw.
Montanas Cookhouse Starter Meal
Every so often I like to create a meal out of starters. It’s a bit of a hit and miss proposition depending on the restaurant. At Montanas, it’s more hit than miss. My first item is the garden salad. The salad has a good mix of vegetables, and you receive your dressing on the side to add as you like.
I went with soup along with the salad. Montana’s offers a pot roast soup that is definitely the best thing on the menu. There are large chunks of beef in the soup. Unlike the steak these are very tender chunks of beef that melt in your mouth. The vegetables in the soup are just past the point of being crispy, but aren’t mushy.
Finally, I ordered the poutine. I didn’t have great expectations for this dish, but it was really quite good. The cheese curds melted, and there is plenty of gravy. The one thing that would improve it would be less of the mayonaissey topping. Just a little overkill.
The service here is pretty good, if a little more buddy-buddy than I like. However, the one memory that came back is that this is a birthday chant place. Some people really like these. I am not one of those people. To their credit they chant instead of singing. However, the short time I was there on my second visit there were two of these birthday chants. That in itself makes Montana’s a place I won’t rush out to.
However, if you enjoy such things and are willing to search the menu, you should be able to have a pretty good meal at Montana’s.