Before leaving for my Croatian/Italian adventure, I met up with two of my best friends for dinner at Icehouse. With all the buzz about the restaurant, curiosity was at its peak. And having been to Mexico and the Southern U.S. in the last year or so, I was psyched to try some good tacos and pulled pork!
After reading about the massive line-ups, we decided to head there straight from work and made it just in time to grab a small table on the front patio. Whew! The décor is just what you would imagine a rustic taco joint to be: lots of wood, small tables with comfy benches and a few “chalet chic” decoration items, like a funny-looking bunny with antlers on the wall by the bar.
We started off by ordering Icehouse’s famous spiked lemonade. Don’t make the mistake of choosing the vodka one – stick to bourbon and you’ll thank me. It really makes for an incredible flavour combination. In fact, I would love the recipe, so if you have it please pass it along! I could have sipped on those all night.
I overheard the owner or manager mention they we having a special on “peel and eat” shrimp and I that did it for us. The three of us shared 1 pound of those and crabcakes as entrées. Both were a hit. The crabcakes were crispy on the outside, moist on the inside and very tasty. The
peel and eat shrimp were served cold with lemon, green onions and cilantro. Perfect for true shrimp lovers.
Let me take a moment to mention service here. They make a point of it being no-fuss and I think that adds a lot to the experience. For example, they dumped (and I mean dumped!) our bucket of shrimp directly onto the table – no plates, just your fingers and lots of napkins. And I saw them do the same with fried chicken and Doctor Pepper ribs at other tables. Pretty spectacular and surprising when you’re not expecting it!
The rest of our shared meal consisted of pulled pork tacos, grilled fish tacos and a lobster burrito. I was sceptical about the burrito but had heard from reading Food Guy Montreal that it was a must. And you know what? He was right. The lobster’s delicate taste actually managed to hold centre stage against the other fillings. We got big chunks in every bite. The meat was perfectly cooked and very fresh. OK, so my friend did get a bite of shell, but that’s not the end of the world at this type of joint.
Now, for the tacos… They were good, but I wouldn’t say spectacular. The pulled pork was delicious and the fish was firm and nicely grilled. But I they both left me wanting a little more… I wanted more sauce and maybe some coleslaw with my pork taco, and some sort of tart filling in the fish one. Ok, but not mind-blowing. Montreal is definitely still in need of a killer taco spot.
Would I go back? All in all, we had a fun time and would definitely go back. But more for spiked lemonade and the experience than the tacos.
Cost: Tacos $8 for 2, lobster burrito $20. We split our entire meal including 5 lemonade and it cost us just under $50 each including tax and tip.