I know, I know, I’m late on this one. I was supposed to pay a visit to Nick Hodge’s new restaurant Icehouse weeks ago but life got in the way and, well… But, I did finally go this past weekend and I must say that if I had known what I was missing out on, I probably would’ve made it there sooner! Chef Nick Hodge, owner of the popular Kitchenette restaurant in Montreal, opened this more casual place a couple of months ago. His Texas background shines through in this low key, loud, charming and delicious tiny restaurant, where line ups are often filing out the door.
My first encounter with the restaurant is through the AC/DC music that was blaring so loud I could hear it all the way down the quiet street! Don’t worry, the music was turned down later on, not too much, but just enough that I could hear myself talk! I took a seat on a bench along one of the very few wooden tables and ordered a hard homemade lemonade and a bag of homemade barbecue chips to start. The restaurant is small with a few tables and a bar counter with paper napkin dispensers above it, the kind of paper napkin disposers you see in public bathrooms and the use of which you will only understand once you start eating… The “roadhouse” is decorated with a few dead animals, some vintage items and a very cute staff! The menu is written on a blackboard above the bar where that excellent lemonade is made and where you order our food. Icehouse is the mecca of comfort food including fried chicken, ribs, tacos and burritos. It is messy food that you eat with your hands with juices dripping down to your elbow. It is not pretty, my dining companion and I joked that it is not a place to bring a first date because there is no way to eat this food without making a mess but it is a delicious mess, the kind that makes you lick your fingers over and over again.
Our order arrived on a bright red plastic tray: pulled pork tacos, a lobster burrito and a pork burrito. The pulled pork tacos with pickled watermelon rind, chicharrónes, spiced pecans and fresh coriander were by far the best I’ve ever tasted! The lobster burrito with huge chunks of lobster, pico de gallo, corn, an excellent homemade aïoli and tarragon was so juicy I had a hard time eating it before it fell apart under the weight of the filling. Oh did I also mention that there are no utensils? Even the fried chicken and the ribs arrive at your table in a bucket… which is then promptly dumped directly on brown paper on the table for you to enjoy! Love it!
By that point I think I had hit my second hard lemonade, which you can “spike” with either bourbon or vodka and which is an absolute must at Icehouse because it will help with the spicy food and also because it’s absolutely delicious! What better way to end this meal than with a slice of chicken-fried peach pie à la mode! Looks like chicken, smells like chicken but tastes like deliciously deep-fried peach pie!
I predict Icehouse will be THE terrasse of the summer! I know I want to go back soon to enjoy a nice vodka lemonade on their terrasse and to try all those items I didn’t get to this time around, like the oyster Po’Boys and the popcorn shrimp and all the other kinds of tacos. Who’s in?
Note: Icehouse doesn’t take reservations so arrive early or be ready to wait in line for a table, but don’t worry, order a pitcher of that lemonade while you wait and I am sure the wait will go much faster then!
51 Roy East
514 439 6691
Tuesday – Sunday From 4pm on