Middle Eastern classics re-imagined with distinctive Montreal dynamism!
If you enjoy Middle Eastern cuisine, Montreal is not a city that will leave you disappointed. There are quite a few well-known places in town, and the newest addition, Shay in Griffintown is quite possibly my favorite to date. Featuring a menu that’ll impress your taste-buds it’s any Lebanese cuisine lover’s dream. Shay opened its doors not too long ago, the brainchild of Montreal restaurant maven Olivier Berkani.
Shay has a delightful, open and airy feel to it. A gorgeously appointed dining section with a simple, yet chic design and furniture makes it feel welcoming, comfortable and radiates positive vibes. If you’re showing up alone or just with a friend or two, the seating at the large bar area might be your thing as it allows you to do a bit of people watching while enjoying the restaurant from a different angle with a livelier bar vibe than a seated dinner vibe. Soon to close for the winter season is their spacious and lively outdoor seating area although you’ll get to re-experience this in the spring once the weather warms up again.
What’s on the menu?
The menu offers cold and hot mezzés (shareable starters for those of you not too familiar with Arabic words) and several mains, also shareable, which will blow your mind. In all honesty it’s a well-measured balance of traditional flavours and spices such as sumac, cardamom and pomegranate as well as old favourites including Labneh, hummus and Fattoush salad reimagined with a modern twist. Head chef Joseph Awad certainly has one heck of an imagination when it comes to ways to make delicious, traditional dishes even better.
I had the lamb chops as a main course, and was almost tempted to order a second serving! The artistry here is how these traditional dishes are re-interpreted into a more modern iteration which preserves their magic while adding a small twist. Think of it as a modern Lebanese fusion cuisine. How else would you classify menu items such as Shawarma Tacos or Sumac Fries!!
And for my sweet-tooth?
Desserts will also not fail to impress, with a modern twist on traditional mastic ice-cream with halwa cotton candy and a sumptuous warm chocolate brownie. Other dessert items are also available although they do change depending on what the chef is offering for the evening.
Overall, I found Shay to be very affable with a casual-chic atmosphere which will make for a dining experience and a night out you’ll want to repeat again and again. I know I’ll be heading back there quite soon!
For more info or dinner reservations, visit www.shaymtl.com or call them directly at 1-514-937-2001
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