As a restaurant blogger, I feel inclined to primarily cover new restaurants and trending dishes; but will always make room for old-fashioned institutions. While biking in Saint-Henri along Notre Dame Street today, my eye caught the venerable Greenspot. Having never been to this greasy spoon while sober, I figured I would give it a try in full possession of my faculties for a change.
Open since 1947, Greenspot is as close as can be to diners from that era. Some patrons present today were probably born around the same time; this joint is popular with seniors. The booths, tabletop jukeboxes & mid-century character convey a dose of nostalgia or escapism, depending on one's age.
tagged: GEEZER GATHERING
Known as a classic casse-croûte, Greenspot's menu in fact goes way beyond diner fare. Staples such as hot dogs, burgers and poutines (27 of them!) are followed by subs, steaks, deli fare (smoked meat, club & other sandwiches), Greek specialties (souvlaki & gyro), Italian dishes (pizza and pasta) and breakfast essentials.
The options are confounding and endless, but I come here for two simple reasons: beef hot dogs and glass coke bottles.
A standard Montreal toasté comes simply topped with mustard and chopped cabbage – who needs anything else? The wiener has a nice crisp to it and is pillowed in a toasted, buttered bun.
Simply put, this is one of the better diner poutines out there. The fries are meaty/crispy, the curds are generous and the gravy – while poured heavy-handedly – is dark, beefy and flavorful.
tagged: YOU MAKE ALL THIS?
Equally old as the clients at Greenspot are some staff members. There is a palpable camaraderie between regulars and longtime waitresses. Mine was a little dry while remaining courteous and available. My order was promptly taken and my food arrived soon after; perfect for a quick bike break.
If Greenspot managed to survive for close to three quarters of a century, it is due to Montrealers' love affaire with casse-croûtes and this particular one's consistency and reliability. Trends will come and go, but our appetite for an old-fashioned hot dog and a comforting poutine will never fade away; and landmarks such as Greenspot will be there to satiate this craving.
It may be tempting to adopt a snobby attitude and look down on this sort of basic, no-frills dining; but this neighborhood fixture – in addition to dishing out dependable fare – is an endearing reminder of a bygone era.
Price per person: $12.10
Montreal restaurant and bar reviews brought to you by two regular guys who like to eat and drink. We will go anywhere and we will say it like it is.