I have a backlog of restaurants I want to try that’s a mile long. New establishments are opening in Montreal much faster than I can test them and the list keeps getting longer. On the top of that list, however, are establishments that intrigue me immensely and Le coq de l’est, a Montreal rotisserie chicken restaurant was definitely one of them ever since I had read about it in La Presse. It also kept popping up only Facebook feed and I finally cracked and dragged some friends out there on an early Sunday evening a few weeks ago.
I have honestly never travelled so far east in Montreal to go to a restaurant but I will gladly do so again and again. Le coq de l’est has a rustic charm that’s indicative of its previous vocation as a gathering spot for comfort food in a working class neighbourhood. The large wooden boxes filled with fresh kale and tomato plants out front hint at its new inspired mission to serve fresh and seasonal food. The young couple behind this most unusual restaurant, chef Omar Zabuair and Vanessa Beeching, both hail from two of Montreal’s most impressive culinary pedigrees: Joe Beef and Au Pied de cochon.
We started with cocktails made with fresh ingredients and herbs. The wine list is also great, short yet carefully curated. The menu is short and includes the classics we were there to try: the rôtisserie chicken and the poutine. Both exceeded our expectations. The grain-fed chicken is rubbed with a tandoori spice mix and cooked in the rotisserie. It yields a juicy and tender bird that arrives tableside sliced in half and topped with some fresh greens. You can order smaller portions of chicken, of course, but you’re going to want leftovers. The classic poutine was perfectly seasoned and one of the best in the city. They also have a chicken topped poutine with a mix of classic and tandoori sauces, if you’re so inclined. The chicken dinner comes complete with fried, coleslaw and their exquisite homemade potato bread.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough stomach space to try the daily specials, which are inspired by the chef’s Pakistani background and by Quebec’s seasonal ingredients and the vegetable patch out front. A perfect mix, if you ask me. I will definitely be heading east again to give those a try. I also hear they serve a delicious Sunday brunch and they just started opening for lunch on Thursdays and Fridays. So there’s really no excuse for Le coq de l’est not to be at the top of your list of restaurants to try soon. A word of warning though: that chicken is truly addictive.
8803 rue Hochelaga
438 385 9455
Dinner: Wednesday – Sunday: 5pm to 10pm / Lunch: Thursday & Friday: 11am to 2pm / Brunch: Sunday: 10am – 3pm