Restaurant Rap

It has been nearly three years since the first Moxie’s Grill & Bar (moxies.com) landed in Montreal, on Robert Bourassa (nee University) between René-Lévesque and Cathcart.

Why did it take me and my family this long finally dine there? This is a great dining spot, with such a wide variety of items to choose from on their menu.

Moxie’s is a national brand under the auspices of Vancouver-based Northland Properties Corporation, with 60 restaurants in Canada (24 in Ontario alone) and one in Dallas, Texas. The latter locale can be chalked up to the fact that Northlands boss Tom Gagliardi owns the NHL’s Dallas Stars. Northland is also the force behind such brands as Sandman Hotel Group, The Sutton Place Hotels, Moxie’s Grill & Bar, Chop Steakhouse & Bar and Denny’s Restaurants Canada.

Moxie’s Grill & Bar

Executive General Manager
Adrian Saad

The Moxie’s downtown remains the only one in Quebec thus far. Adrian Saad, a veteran in the restaurant business, is the executive general manager here. He will ultimately have a mandate to expand the brand in Quebec. In the meantime, the charismatic 45 year old Beaconsfield resident employs a very hands on approach. He greets clients at the lower level entrance, spends a lot of time ensuring the kitchen is operating at full steam and checking on customer satisfaction via table visits. When someone in our party addressed a particular dietary concern to our terrific server Raquel, Adrian appeared immediately. He went above and beyond the call of duty to get the right answer to our question.

Moxie’s Grill & Bar focuses on superior food quality, exceptional service and prices that represent great value for its guests. The upscale “non-themed” approach, coupled with superior quality food offerings and service, has proven to be highly successful. Moxie’s is open seven days a week for lunch, dinner and late night dining. From steaks to pasta, seafood to salad, juicy ribs through to rich desserts and their famous daily drink specials, Moxie’s really is the  perfect place to bring family, friends or business colleagues for a great time.

Calamari is amplified with ginger and jalapeno, a chicken breast is elevated with mango and chipotle, and a simple steak sandwich gets a fresh feel with ciabatta and fresh arugula. It’s all the contemporary flavours you know and like.

Executive Chef Brandon Thordarson has created a menu that draws on inspiration from around the world. It’s full of extraordinary takes on classic dishes. Steaks, pizza, burgers and wings share the menu page with sushi cones, vindaloo, enchiladas and pot stickers. Thordarson travels across the country. He recently spent two days in Montreal and was pleased with what he saw.

Moxie’s Grill & Bar

Moxie`s has excellent burgers

The Montreal property is an impressive two-level, 9,000 square foot restaurant facility, with two bars and two lounges. Featuring one-of-a-kind marble and hardwood finishings, a private terrace on the second floor, 20 big screen HDTVs, a living wall and a grand 30 foot ceiling, Moxie’s caters to clients of all ages. In fact, there are rooms which can closed off for private functions, be it for a business meeting or a kids party. The place can seat 350 people.

Each member of my party thoroughly appreciated this dining experience at Moxie’s. We started off with a few drinks, a rosé sangria and a white peach Bellini. The food order began by a few of us sharing their trademark Sushi Cones, a much more casual way of enjoying sushi. Rolled on a diagonal, it includes all the balance one would expect from Asian cuisine: vinegared rice, topped with creamy avocado, crunchy prawn, and spicy sriracha mayo. Rolled in a soy wrapper, a sushi cone is eaten by hand, making it a fun and relaxing way to enjoy sushi. They’re too big to eat in one bite, so take your time and enjoy the playfulness of this dish. I sure did.

The Mosaic dip, containing goat cheese, mushrooms and fresh baked flatbread, had a good taste to it. We all enjoyed sharing this prior to and during the main course. We could not go wrong with their starter Caesar salads either.

Moxie’s Grill & Bar

There are plenty of delicious Happy Hour and late night snacks to choose from.

For the main courses, most of my party leaned toward beef – the honey garlic and the mushroom sirloin steak. I opted for the lemon herb salmon, a very good choice. The steaks are served with your choice of roasted baby potatoes, lemon quinoa or a baked potato stuffed with mashed potatoes, cream cheese, green onion and bacon. Plus, fresh seasonal vegetables. Other mains, like the salmon, are accompanied by ancient grains, lemon herb sauce and vegetables.

Next time I will probably try one of the chicken dishes, a burger, a pizza or what they call a “handheld,” – items such as a street or fish taco, a wrap or a sandwich. Consider the Moxie’s Experience which allows you to add a starter salad or soup to any entrée and enjoy a free mini dessert. Oh yes, desserts. My vote goes to the white chocolate brownie (warm chocolate sauce, French vanilla ice cream and real whipped cream), the dark chocolate cake (warm callebaut chocolate sauce, French vanilla ice cream and shaved chocolate curls) and the mini and regular sized sticky toffee pudding (warm, with toasted almonds, buttery caramel sauce and French vanilla ice cream.

Moxie’s has an excellent selection of daily drink features, a vast wine list, and its own craft beer, Big Life. There are kids, gluten friendly and brunch menus as well.

Saad tells me that Moxie’s has a very steady lunch and 5 à 7 crowd, consisting mainly of downtown business persons. Wednesday evenings you can get any bottle of wine for half price. Late night sees a lot of university students in the house.

Reservations are available on a limited basis.

Operating hours are 11 am to 11pm Sundays, 11:30 am to 11 pm Monday to Wednesday and 11 am to midnight Thursday to Saturday. Moxie’s is located at 1207 Boulevard Robert-Bourassa. You can call 514-393-1207 or log on to moxies.com. Like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/moxies.montreal