Photo cred - Ezra Soiferman
When you think of hip, trend-setting Montreal boroughs, NDG is hardly the first one that comes to mind. Its middle class, blue-collar vibe makes it a nice residential area, but not necessarily the sort of place you’d think of heading to in order to experience the city’s finest culture.
Despite this, NDG has several restaurants that are beloved both by locals and Montrealers from around the island, but one place in particular stands out: Cosmos. In terms of food quality, price, and overall atmosphere, the hole-in-the-wall diner provides a one-of-a-kind experience that simply needs to be seen to be believed.
I’ll start with atmosphere. Cosmos might not look like much, but its simplicity leads to much of its charm. The seating consists entirely of a single counter and about 10 stools, on which hungry and friendly customers chow down and enjoy pleasant conversations. Don’t come here if you value personal space too highly, because you’ll likely be placed directly next to another group of patrons. However, as long as you’re willing to be in close proximity to strangers, the seating arrangement is more than adequate, and perhaps even adds to the greasy spoon’s run-down but lovable charm.
The charm is added to by what goes on behind the counter. As you sit and wait for your food, the friendly waiters/servers fry up eggs, potatoes, and meat directly in front of you. They’re happy to make conversation with you, but they’re equally happy to let you be as they go to work on their signature food.
Of course, it’s this food that makes the place what it truly is. They have a somewhat extensive menu, but there’s only one thing you really need to order: the Mish Mash. The gigantic omelet has a list of fillings on the menu, but it actually just consists of whatever they have in their fridge dumped inside a bunch of eggs. You can go expecting some kinds of meat, some cheese, some onions, and some tomatoes, but you better be open to anything, because you can never know exactly what you’ll wind up with. In addition to this gloriously artery-clogging behemoth, you’ll also get a healthy serving of potatoes and toast, making for a wonderfully gluttonous meal. Best of all, this colossal portion of food costs just $10.
If you’re feeling a bit more modest (but not too modest), and still want to engage in the greasy-spoon delight that is Cosmos, the Creation just might be your order of choice. It’s sort of a BLT, but, like, more heart-attack inducing (and delicious). On top of the sandwich’s standard trifecta of ingredients, it’s got a fried egg, salami, and cheese, making for a unique breakfast invention that simply must be tried. The Creation definitely isn’t quite as filling as the Mish Mash, but it's still nothing to sneeze at.
It’s the food and the vibe at places like Cosmos that make N.D.G. what it is. It might not be the sort of high-end restaurant that’ll make Montrealers from around the island run to the borough on a consistent basis, but it’s certainly worth stopping in if you’re in the area. Whenever you find yourself there, you can be sure you'll be greeted with friendly service, charming customers to share the place with, and enough eggs, potatoes, and meat to substantially reduce your lifespan (but in a good way).