Thursday, October 13, 2011

Le Bistro Montage

Le Bistro Montage is a cajun/creole restaurant located near the Morrison Bridge on the Southeast side of Portland, Oregon.

Honestly, I did not know what to think of the area. Montage, in my opinion, is in a horrible location. I parked about a block away on a side street to get some lunch. When I entered, I noticed the interior resembled a part fine-dining, part-bar atmosphere. The place felt too dark for my liking. A young man greeted me and provided great service throughout.

I took a seat at the bar counter near the cash register. In sharp contrast to the white tablecloth-laden tables and lovely chairs behind me, I sat on a (slightly more sophisticated) bar stool with a beat-up counter that had to be a few decades old.

I was pretty hungry and craving some comfort food for lunch. I asked what the most popular mac item was, and without hesitation, he said to get the Spold Mac with andouille sausage ($7.95): the perfect blend of "spicy" and "old" mac.

The Spicy Mac includes cajun gravy, Parmesan cheese, tomatoes, and jalapeno. Montage's Old Mac uses garlic, heavy cream, and Parmesan. A combination of the two sounds great to me!

Menu, side 1 (as of late September 2011)
Menu, side 2 (as of September 2011)
Spold Mac w/Andouille Sausage (Le Bistro Montage)

A great dish here. Let's be clear at the start: this is NOT a mac 'n cheese dish, and was probably not meant to be that way. Instead, I'd call it another Southern twist on the classic dish in terms of appearance and flavor. "Spold Mac"...I like that one, has a nice ring to it.

The cajun gravy was the star here and served as a darn good proxy for a cheese sauce. A multitude of spices attacked my taste buds as I tore into the dish like a hungry Homer Simpson at the family dinner table. The gravy itself had a mild kick, and the macaroni was perfectly cooked. I thought it was the ideal gravy-to-macaroni ratio. The gravy coated the pasta just right for me. The shredded Parmesan gave the dish a welcoming gourmet look.

Oh, and then the sausage. My server made a great call here. More salty, savory, meaty goodness. Only sheer willpower prevented me from taking a second order of Spold Mac home with me.

I was a bit puzzled about the small jalapeno wedge. That didn't stop me from eating it, but I would think it could make a few people hesitant to do so. If I were the chef, I'd dice the jalapenos up and sprinkle it on top of the Parmesan. Also, the dish was lukewarm here. I believe the overall experience would have been better had the Spold Mac been served piping hot.

Montage claims their macs are world famous, and I agree. It's a simple, yet ingenious take on the classic dish. More importantly, the flavors were amazing! 8.5/10

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