Get ready for raw meat: a restaurant from L’Assomption (north east of Montreal) is coming to Montreal, and bringing with it a menu that touts some 180 different combinations of tartare, with meats including kangaroo and bison.
The name is Taboo Cuisine Rebelle (or just Taboo) and it opened up four years ago in the city about 50 kilometres from Montreal. The 100-seater started out as an all-family affair: co-owner Laurence Gaudreau-Pépin tells Eater that she worked to open it with brothers Benjamin and Marc-André, with help from their father (a 40-year restaurant veteran), and mom, a designer.
“It was more a dream than anything,” says Gaudreau-Pépin. It has been so successful that they’re bringing it to downtown Montreal, and to a big space at that: it takes over the former M:brgr location on Drummond Street this winter.
And it’s not strictly a tartare restaurant (more on those offerings in a second) — the sizable menu also focuses on mini-burgers (some may call them “sliders”, although that term doesn’t have a perfect French translation) and poutines, with a few meal salads to round it out. There’s a whopping 45 of those petite bun-nuggets on the menu, mostly around $4 to $6 with the exception of a few fancier ones featuring items such as foie gras or filet mignon.
On the poutine side, most options are made with house porto demi-glaze sauce and an array of mostly meaty toppings from ribs to pulled duck.
Speaking of meat, the tartares: the menu itself doesn’t feature 180 bullet points with different tartares. Rather, there are ten seasonings or marinades for meat, ranging from a classic with oil, dijon and vinegar to a pomegranate one, an Italian style, and a Thai version with ginger and lemongrass (amongst others). Then there are six meats — classic beef or salmon, alongside duck, blue fin tuna, bison, and kangaroo — and on top of that, diners choose between three sizes, with two, four, or six ounces of meat, adding up to 180 different iterations — or 60 if one considers different sized tartares to be all the same, but in any case, five dozen is a lot of tartares.
Gaudeau-Pépin acknowledges that the hefty menu can pose a challenge, but says the kinks have been worked out.
“Some of them work better with certain meats, but you can be creative and try whatever you want...at the beginning it was a very big challenge but we’re working with the same chef since the start.”
It also helps that across the menu, different elements crop up frequently, meaning the kitchen turns over its supplies more often.
The space is set to be warm and “rustic-industrial” — mason jar cocktails and sangrias feature prominently (bonus: they’re half-price during the Monday to Thursday 4 à 7), alongside a list of private import wines.
Expect Taboo to open around mid-January.