Genevieve PM Roy
Stairs view 1221
1221: A Carnivore’s Ultimate Paradise!
1221 Boulevard René-Lévesque Ouest
(514) 390 -0090
Cuisine: Steaks, Seafood, Fine Cuisine
If you are looking to enjoy a power-lunch, an after-work drink or a scrumptious dinner in a splendid venue while on business or with that special someone; look no further than Montreal’s Douze Vingt-et-Un Steakhouse.
The restaurant is conveniently located right in the heart of Montreal’s business district on Rene Levesque Boulevard and at the corner of Drummond St. right across from the Bell Center, home of the Montreal Canadians. After a match or a concert, I have often passed by the restaurant and marvelled at the alluring window full of freshly butchered meat. My mouth would water as whisks of wood charcoal grilled meats would escape from the rotating doors and enticingly tickle my senses.
Last week, I had the pleasure to experience one of Montreal’s finest steakhouses and I am eager to share with all of you what all the hype surrounding 1221 is really about. It would be difficult to adequately explain - but there are hundreds of details - big and small - that contributed to make my experience at 1221 very special. The food, the atmosphere and the sense of welcome combined made my recent visit there, truly memorable.
It is a terrific feeling to have the formal, yet courteous doorman offer a sincere welcome while holding the door for you. The host arrived smiling, to escort me to my table – a spacious and comfy seating that offered a great view of the open kitchen and circular charcoal grill.
As my date was running slightly behind time, the maitre sommelier approached from the beautiful, red lobby cigar bar and offered me a refreshing glass of champagne. A laughing lady and her colleagues were enjoying dinner in the main dining room as I arrived. Her smile, her smartly dressed business partners and the general sense of excitement emanating from her table enhanced my anticipation of my coming meal.
In contrast to a modern,7 American steakhouse, 1221 is a convivial restaurant with sumptuous, embracing decors. The brick walls have a soothing, warm tone. The numerous art pieces on display depicting horses were vivid, provocative and gorgeous. The broad, dark wood floors cast an earthy, warm glow while the circular, open grill kitchen would be the envy of any interior designer. The adjoining cigar bar, finished with lacquered wood and bathed in the light of red lamps, boasts a wide selection of Cuban cigars in a comfortable and masculine setting. The Veranda offers cigar smoking and dining in a casual, relaxed outdoor setting. Fashioned after an English private club, the top floor is reserved for exclusive, private conferences and dining.
Our server, Issac, was downright protean: While bringing forth a presentation cart laden with different cuts of raw USDA prime dry-aged steak - he was affable without being too chatty: very knowledgeable of the complete food and wine menu without being at all too pushy for an up-sell. He anticipated our needs and was fully professional. He delivered iced bottled Evian water along with his suggestion of an excellent White Haven Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.
The meal largely exceeded our expectations. On our waiter’s suggestion, we ordered a variety of dishes to share. We started with an entree of two U4- U6 Jumbo shrimps that were grilled to perfection with a tomato, onion and light chili sauce. We also ordered a tuna and salmon tartar as an entree. The tuna tartar was my favorite of the two and I would definitely recommend that you try it. It was served with an addictive Parmesan crouton along with a light wasabi sauce that added an extra zing that wakes up your tongue.
1221 is a contemporary steakhouse on par with some of NY’s finest. The restaurant’s claim to fame is their relentless pursuit to offer their clients the world’s finest steaks. The restaurant has recently negotiated an exclusive Canadian partnership with world-renown butcher Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors to bring the finest USDA Prime meat to the table, 100% free of antibiotics and hormones.
When our main course arrived; a sizzling 20oz Rib steak accompanied by a side order trio of steak cut onion rings, roasted garlic mash and a creamy spinach spread, we were pleasantly surprised by the size of the portions. Having smelt the food coming from the open kitchen grill, it was a pleasure to dig in. Our steak was all around nice, cut evenly and grilled consistently medium rare as we requested. It was flavorfully seasoned with 5 peppers and no salt. Out of the three sides, the spinach dip was my favorite: delicious, subtly prepared and inspiring.
By the time the dessert cart was wheeled around, we were both already satiated, however one glance at the enticing selection on offer and we allowed ourselves to try a rich, whipped white chocolate cheesecake topped with a selection of fresh berries.
We walked away that evening commenting how satisfied we were with the food and service. I have had meals at other steakhouses that were slightly less pricey, but nowhere near as pleasing.
Overall, I recommend 1221 to anyone looking for a special place to conduct a business dinner, host a celebratory meal, or for out of town guests looking to enjoy a memorable dinner in a posh ambiance. I definitely plan on returning soon.