It’s a surprise that it took this long, but Montreal is finally getting a restaurant jokingly named after the French version of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s name — Vladimir Poutine (although Frite Alors does have a dish invoking a similar pun).
But it’s a reality as of tomorrow — Villeray poutine favourites Le Gras Dur (who also run a trio of food trucks: Das Truck, Le Bacon Truck, and Schnitzel Truck) are opening Vladimir Poutine downtown in a heritage space on de la Montagne on Friday (March 31).
Gras Dur partners Annie Clavette and Stefan Jacob are joined by DJ and Virgin Radio host MC Mario (Mario Tremblay), and one other associate as a team of four co-owners.
Clavette tells Eater that Tremblay brought the idea to the Gras Dur team, and also offered up the space, and she was happy to jump aboard.
Given Le Gras Dur’s success as a spot for poutine and burgers, that fare will be on offer (indeed, there are few good poutine spots downtown; the best casse-croûtes seem to be neighbourhood-based), but Clavette says she’s not copying Le Gras Dur’s approach, and is adapting to the downtown crowd.
“It’s not going to be all about poutine and fast food — of course we’re going to do poutine, we try to do the best poutine in the world...we have a lot of success for the poutine we do.”
“Basically you’re going to be able to fine really nice dining for lunch, it’s going to be a mix of comfort food but also healthy food, some fish, vegetables.”
Clavette says she’s hoping to strike a casual vibe at a reasonable price, but with full service.
“We want people to come and feel like that at a place where they feel comfortable.”
The exact menu isn’t available yet — Clavette says it’ll remain a secret until the official opening next week, unless you head down during the soft opening this weekend.
Beyond food, Vladimir will have a cocktail list put together by French mixologist turned Quebec media figure Fanny Gauthier, and will have a private room available, with customized menus an option.
Stay tuned — Eater will have some details on the menu when it drops. In the meantime, check out the restaurant’s rather plush interior.
STATUS — Vladimir Poutine is open Friday and Saturday evenings this week (March 31 to April 1) from 5 p.m., then begins regular hours April 6 — 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday to Friday, and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, at 1234A de la Montagne.