How can a girl resist when she hears that a veteran Montreal chef (Ryan Dixon, formerly of Globe, Tavern on the Square and L’Orignal) has named his new restaurant after his mom?
As homages go, it’s hard to beat. It also begs the question: what kind of restaurant does a person create to honour his mother? Turns out, it’s a minimalist bistro with a menu chocked full of flavourful and comforting dishes, including a few from the recipe book of Jane herself.
Keeping a Low Profile
Before you leave the house, make sure you copy down the address for Jane. You’ll need it, given that there’s no sign for the place. Adding to the air of mystery is the fact that Jane has no website but their low-profile hasn’t kept diners away, in fact reservations are a must, especially on weekends.
Jane’s hearty appetizers are so delicious, they make you want to lick the serving spoon clean. Highlights include the pillow-like gnudi, which are served with a rich mushroom medley, and the octopus and chorizo dish, which delivers just the right amount of zing and heat.
But the best things on the menu, in my opinion, was “Mom’s Meatballs,” a bowlful of hearty meatballs in a rich tomato sauce with some perfectly cooked rapini and crispy garlic bread. Dixon freely admitted that he nicked the recipe from his mom. And, who could blame him?
Ritual de lo Habitual
Say the word “neighbourhood bistro” and a few things pop to mind: exposed brick walls, intimate seating and menus written on chalkboards. Jane delivers on all fronts. With room for just 30 diners in the restaurant proper, and an additional eight at the bar, it’s easy to sneak a peak at your neighbour’s dish to see if anything catches your attention.
Your date wants smoked meat. You want pizza. Jane’s got it figured out, with the “Schwartza” pizza, which pays homage to the famous smoked meat deli Schwartz’s.
If smoked meat isn’t your thing, there are half a dozen other options, including the Bianza white pizza (with four types of cheese) and the Lasagnza pizza, in which standard lasagna filling becomes the topping. The pizzas are great doughy things, spilling out over the dinner plate and threatening to take over the table.
You could try to eat a whole one yourself. Or you could make Mom proud and show how good you are at sharing.
Photos courtesy of Restaurant Jane