Where to find some of the best food in Montreal

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MONTREAL-Seven hundred days is a very long time, and it’s a veritable eternity when it comes to beef. Standing there in that strange, wonderful butcher shop, I try — and fail — to remember what, exactly, I was doing 700 days ago. But the butcher, Marc Bourg? He knows exactly what he did, because it was the day he took a hunk of beautiful beef and started aging it. I hear him back in his dry aging space, shaving off tiny parcels of the beef with a band saw. He then mixes in a little salt, warms it up with his hands, the meat inside some butcher paper, and presents it to me on a cutting board. A lifelong lover of steak, I’ve had plenty of steaks aged the customary two or three weeks — but I’ve never eaten anything like this. I take that little strip — as longstanding as some marriages — and raise it to my mouth with an even mix of curiosity and anticipation. I’m in Montreal’s resurgent Rosemont district, a formerly forgotten neighbourhood that’s now on the rise. In a city known for good food — Joe Beef, L’Express and Au Pied de Cochon are all internationally known critical darlings — some of its most interesting culinary experiences can now be found in unlikely places, areas that, until recently, have been known as sleepy backwaters, or worse. I’m here to tour and sample in these reinvented quarters.Article Continued BelowOn our way to Bourg’s shop, my friend Louis-Philippe Messier, a Montreal author and columnist who has taken the afternoon off to show me around, tells me more about Rosemont. Near the city’s famed Marché Jean-Talon, the area had been long overlooked, with its major commercial strip, Plaza St-Hubert, in Messier’s words, “pitiful and deserted.” That’s all changed now, with new bars and restaurants (and butchers) popping up on a seemingly weekly basis. For example, later in the day, we would visit a new restaurant called Bar Brutus that serves nothing but bacon-infused food and drinks. “I haven’t been able to keep up with all the new stuff,” Messier says.

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