Over the last month, Les Deux Gamins, a bistro on Prince Arthur, has demonstrated what some may call an uncommon enthusiasm for French onion soup. All thanks to this tweet, which has been sent close to 50 times since April 1.
Best French Onion Soup in Montreal! pic.twitter.com/b1xWweFjqI— Les Deux Gamins (@lesdeuxgamins) May 2, 2014
The takeaway? Try the onion soup, obviously. But why? Is it that good? We spoke to Les Deux Gamins owner Tim Maheras today to find out.
Why so much emphasis on the onion soup?
Well it gets mentioned a lot on Yelp and other sites as one of the best things to eat at the restaurant. So that's part of it.
Tell us about the soup.
It's actually my recipe. I own the restaurant but I'm originally from New England and had a place that made a lot of clam chowder. So I have a pretty strong soup background. My wife and I travel a lot to Europe and try a lot of onion soup when we're over there. We have a good idea of what's good and what's not so good. What we do with the onion soup here is take some of the leftover gelatin from our duck confit - it's like a stock - and put it in there. And a bunch of other stuff goes in too.
So you cook and own the restaurant as well?
Well I own the building and the restaurant but let's just say I'm a consultant in the kitchen. (Laughing) I'm not legally allowed to work here!
How long has Les Deux Gamins been in business?
About seven years now. If you notice from the photos we tried to make the place look like a typical bistro in Paris or Lyon. Because there wasn't a lot of that in Montreal. I mean there's Alexandre and Fils, but it's too high-priced, or Chez Gauthier, but we wanted to do something cheaper. Like in Paris. We get a lot of tourists here, mostly from New York and other parts of the U.S., and they want that typical bistro experience.
Best of luck Tim, thank you for your time.
Sure thing. Now you'll have to come try some of our onion soup!
Les Deux Gamins' chutzpah extends beyond onion soup. The restaurant made the decision recently to promote a new menu to help customers "discover winter." In late April, no less. After one of the worst winters on record.
Un nouveau menu pour vous faire découvrir l'hiver, Prenez un verre, asseyez-vous près du foyer! pic.twitter.com/88NJVznDb3— Les Deux Gamins (@lesdeuxgamins) April 24, 2014
Perhaps the strategy to go H.A.M. with French onion soup on Twitter is not so unwise after all. To the Yelpers:
I ate here on my last night in Montreal, as I wanted to try an authentic French-Canadian meal that wasn't too expensive like some of the other ones in the city. I was impressed not only by the reviews I had read, but also by their use of OpenTable and the Yelp offer for the free dessert. The restaurant itself has a romantic, cute-ish ambience that would be really nice for a date. I got the french onion soup as an appetizer, which was pretty amazing - definitely worth getting. Vidushi B., Philadephia
Had the french onion soup. Yum! Michelle Y., Montreal
My friend got French Onion soup and a side salad, which she said were both very good. Francesca T. Mineola
BUT the onion soup was top notch, the filet mignon was very good (although perhaps a tad overcooked) and the mac n cheese was seriously THE BEST mac n cheese I have ever tasted. No cuisine does indulgence quite like French cuisine. Lauren B., Toronto
The French Onion soup was quite amazing. Gisela C., Miami Beach