There is one question I’ve been asked innumerable times this summer by co-workers and friends alike: have you tried Icehouse yet? This new Plateau restaurant has sent a ripple of excitement through Montreal’s food scene; this Tex-Mex-oriented seafood experience offers unique twists and turns that are relatively unmatched at similar Montreal eateries.
Though the décor is simple and the interior and patio areas are slightly cramped on busy evenings, the unmistakable happy-chatty vibe that exists specifically when people know they are moments away from eating really delicious food, makes waiting in the (often) long line a worthwhile endeavour.
And so, on a non-descript Thursday evening in July, three friends and I ventured over. Upon being seated, we looked around and saw that nearly every neighbouring table had a pitcher of what resembled foggy yellow beer. After a short inquiry, my tablemates and I decided to share a pitcher of the spiked bourbon lemonade ($40), which we’ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to reproduce at parties ever since.
In typical Montreal fashion, a large chalk board above the bar lists menu items, highlights of which include stuffed jalapenos with crab ($12), fish/chicken/short rib tacos ($8-$11), an oyster Po’Boy sandwich ($14) and lobster burritos ($18). Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg, and it would take many, many visits for a full taste of what Icehouse chef Nick Hodge can produce.
Interestingly, utensils are obsolete and most meals are served on cardboard plates (think: county fair) with napkin dispensers at each table. Our stuffed jalapenos and tacos came quite quickly, and despite appearances, were actually much more filling than we anticipated. Though we were too full at the time to give it a shot, we’ve also heard rave reviews about Ice House’s dessert options – specifically, their deep-fried peach pie ($9). Next time!
While planning your visit, check out Icehouse owner Nick Hodge’s Twitter account (@kitchenettemtl); he often tweets photos of fresh seafood and information about one-night-only specials and new menu options. Grab your pals and head over for one last taste of summer before this precious patio weather runs out!
~ Tyler Yank