Recently I was fortunate enough to be allowed into the kitchen of Deville Diner to experience their brunch building process. This post is one of many where I will be discussing some of the dishes that we will be seeing on their up and coming brunch menu. Now before I start, I need to clarify that I was given this opportunity because I personally know the owners and they allowed me the rare privilege to see the process of testing brunch items.
To begin with here is a little background on Deville Diner: having opened in late 2011, Deville Diner is something you don’t see much of in Montreal… a diner. I mean we have delis but those aren’t the same as diners. If you have been to the USA you will have seen diners, and it’s kind of a throwback to a long lost era. Now Deville is a more modern take on it and has been offering dinner and lunch service for some time but brunch is around the corner, and it’s likely to be something unlike what we have seen in Montreal. So the goal was to produce a menu and dining experience that has its roots in USA diners but still offers some fun and new items that you don’t see on a brunch menu in Montreal. I started posting some items on my Facebook page album & Twitter , I also gave some brief descriptions of these items. Also, in each post I will explain a dish in more detail, so feel free to comment and ask questions. Please note they haven’t offered brunch yet but I will let you know when they do.
So with a bunch of items to choose from, what to showcase? Do we go savory or sweet? I’ll be honest, when you look at breakfast food in the USA which is where the diner influence comes from, there are some really interesting dishes. Today we will feature the corned beef hash which is something you don’t really see in Montreal, I can maybe think of 1 or 2 places out of the 180 brunch meals I have had in this city where I have seen this on the menu. In fact the last time I had corned beef hash was in New York City at 4 am after a night of partying and hankering for breakfast food. Simply put, a hash is mix of meat, onions, and potatoes mixed, cooked together and served. Presentation of this dish has never been impressive although it is tasty and filling, it sure isn’t pretty. So considering the fact that Deville puts an importance on presentation seeing how this dish comes out is interesting.
The dish has a hash brown base, then a 10 hours slow cooked corn fed brisket which is topped with 2 eggs. The slow cooked brisket is a really nice touch and does make for some serious prep time. This dish went through 2 platings. The first attempt was all the above ingredients and with eggs topped on it, the base was the same size of the top levels making it seem like an even mound until the eggs covered it. The taste was impressive, the eggs adding to it and working well with the meat, the hash brown base paired perfectly with the brisket in regards to taste and I can see how this dish can be very filling, although they weren’t 100% satisfied with it something was missing and that was presentation.
Now the corned beef hash is not the sexiest of dishes so when you have a restaurant that values presentation it is important to make this dish look good. I’ll be honest I didn’t think they could make this dish look sexy, until round two came around and look for yourself night and day. They made the hash brown base larger/wider then spread out the meat to showcase it. I mean it is juicy and tasty so why not show it? Some peppers were also showcased for looks and taste and the eggs positioning was improved. The taste was the same but what a difference proper presentation can make. I honestly never thought they could take an old school dish like corned beef hash and make it young and hip again. I’m happy this dish is on the menu, in fact brunch needs this dish since it is filling, often well priced and has a proud diner history.
So that’s it for now, tune in next time when we showcase another dish. Until then, keep brunching.