Before moving to New York, I spent six best-years-of-my-life in Montreal, a culturally rich Canadian metropolis just 370 miles to the north of us. There’s so many things to miss about the city — if you haven’t been there, go — but thankfully, a fellow expat is bringing a part of the city to me. In September, Mile End, an homage to Montreal in the guise of a casual, neighborhood eatery, will open its doors in the Cobble Hill area of Brooklyn.
Mile End is named after a traditionally Jewish and Greek hood in Montreal that in recent years evolved into an artist’s oasis where cheap rents, antique streets, and some of the best bagels and coffee in the world have made it the ideal place for musicians, designers, writers, and filmmakers to, well, struggle. Owner Noah Bernamoff moved to Brooklyn two and a half years ago to attend law school, but he chose to take time off to pursue his culinary ambitions. The approximately twenty-seater on Hoyt Street will focus on cuisine regional to Montreal, which means two things: bagels and poutine. “I grew up with this food,” Bernamoff says. “For me these are memories of the place that I came from, and the kind of food that inspired me to love food, and to love cooking.” Here are some details.
● Fact: Montreal is the bagel capital of the world. Other fact: It is impossible to replicate a Montreal bagel anywhere else, which is why Bernamoff is having them imported directly from St. Viateur bagels in Mile End. They, along with Fairmont bagels, make up the most epic battle since the October Crisis. They’ll be served classic, cream cheese and lox. ● Poutine is Quebec’s gastronomical mascot. I was shocked to learn how many people in this city are clueless about its components, but they are French fries, chicken gravy, and cheese curds, and they’re incredible. Bernamoff will offer a mushroom-based veggie gravy for herbivores and will have the curds flown in from Quebec. On offer will be the classic, but expect some creative flourishes on the menu. Think fried oysters. ● Bernamoff fancies himself less the restaurant‘s chef, and more “the disgusting meat guy.” He’ll beef up his poutines and sandwiches with pastrami, lamb, and chicken, all smoked in-house. ● Once the alcohol license is secured, Mile End will serve micro-brewed ale directly from, you guessed it, Montreal. St. Ambroise is a local favorite, and for good reason. Count on quality wine as well — Bernamoff is a connoisseur who part-times at a local store. ● Rounding out the menu will be grilled cheese sandwiches made to order on challah bread with cheeses that will be joining the bagels on the trip from Quebec. ● The counter will have five diner-style bolted-in stools. Customers are encouraged to have their meal at the bar, while the chef fries, smokes, and melts right in front of them; the stools are also recommended after hours for drinks once the kitchen closes.
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