Photo cred - ricardocuisine.com
For years, restaurants specializing in a certain type of affordable food have flourished around Montreal. Whether it’s with poutine at La Banquise, hot dogs at Dirty Dogs, or burgers at too many places to name, the city is flush with restaurants which feature a menu consisting primarily of variations on a single, beloved food.
As good as all of these places are, they’re missing out on the chance to capitalize on one of Quebec’s finest comfort foods: pate chinois. Accordingly, I’m proposing a restaurant dedicated entirely to the dish—a La Banquise of pate chinois, if you will.
Here’s how it’d work: like La Banquise, the restaurant would offer a basic, unadorned pate chinois, and it’d be a damn fine rendition that would be sure to please purists. It’d be chock full of delicious ground beef, sweet and creamy corn, and gloriously buttery mashed potatoes. Even if the joint offered nothing else, the dish would be sure to make my restaurant into a sensation around the city on its own.
Photo cred - mpbb98
However, I see no reason to stop there. La Banquise hasn’t earned their infamous late-night lines solely for their classic poutine, and the pate chinois restaurant I’m envisioning wouldn’t limit itself, either. Looking to swap your beef for lamb, bison, horse, or something entirely different? We’d have offerings which feature all of those. In the mood for peas or carrots instead of corn? You’d be able to order a pate chinois which contains either veggie option. Want sweet potatoes on top instead of the more traditional option? There’d be a pate chinois which contains those as well. Even better, if none of our prescribed variations fit exactly what you happened to be craving, you’d have the option of creating a custom pate chinois which adhered only to the limits of your imagination.
The resulting restaurant would undoubtedly offend hardline pate chinois connoisseurs. However, as La Poutine Week (link) recently proved, the overwhelming majority of Montrealers prefer getting the best out of their local comfort food, even if it means adjusting certain aspects of a dish’s structure in the interest of realizing its full potential.
In the case of pate chinois, that potential is nothing to sneer at. My proposed restaurant could become the city’s next drunk food sensation. At the very least, it’d be a overdue tribute to a cherished local dish.