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Mike Cohen reviews the Firegrill Restaurants: Downtown and St. Laurent locations going strong

    It has been almost 20 years since the Theo family opened their first Firegrill Restaurant in the same St. Laurent complex which houses the Cinemas Guzzo Méga- Plex Sphèretech 14. In 2007 a downtown location on Stanley Street followed. After experiencing their cuisine with my family for the very first time, we are all asking ourselves the same question: How in the world did we miss this place?

    The St. Laurent locale can accommodate 210 diners and there is plenty of free parking. A seasonal terrace can seat 80 people. Downtown, only 0.7 km from the Bell Centre, has 190 seat dining room. Parking is validated for a $40 minimum charge (before taxes) in an indoor lot directly across the street every evening but Sunday (when there is no charge for meters after 6 pm). The bar areas at both restaurants have two large TV screens so you catch the sports event of the day or night.

    Chris Theo oversees the operations with his brother Spyro and their cousin Chris Jr.  “Most people think when they come into one of our restaurants that we are part of a large corporate chain,” Chris told me. “But it is just the three of us and our team.”

    A few years ago the opening of a third Firegrill in Laval, not far from Centropolis, almost became a reality. The Theo clan reside in Laval, so establishing a restaurant there still remains as one of their objectives.

    My family, a party of four, recently enjoyed what I can honestly describe as a “spectacular” dinner at the downtown location. The hostess seated us in a very comfortable booth and we took our time exploring the menu. Our server Diego started us off with some tasty Bellinis, the perfect before dinner cocktail.

    The menu features a nice selection of appetizers, platters, salads, sandwiches, ribs and chicken, fish and seafood and of course their specialties, steaks and roast beef. There is a daily table d’ hôte as well as 5 à 7 happy hours and lunch specials every day. “Downtown lunch can go past 3 pm,” said Chris. “In St. Laurent the rush is between Noon and 1:30 pm.

    Lunch specials change three times a week. Downtown, a selection of wine is offered at half price by the glass and the bottle.

    For the table, we started off by sharing some appetizers. The spinach and artichoke dip featured spinach and artichoke hearts in a creamy three cheese blend. With some small and soft pieces of pita bread to spread it on, this was a true delicacy. We also tried the tuna tataki, pan seared sashimi grade tuna drizzled in a refreshing ginger ponzu sauce and finish off with sesame seeds. I also could not resist the opportunity to try their soup of the day, the cream of broccoli which has lately become one of my favorites where I can find it. I did not leave a drop in my bowl, it was that good.

    For the main course, two members of our party opted for the filet mignon, one with a side of deliciously prepared roasted garlic mashed potatoes and the other oven baked. Another order came directly from the Table d’hôte, a generous serving of rack of lamb which was significantly large enough for half to kept for dinner the following evening.  I had my eye on the 14-ounce prime roast beef au jus, seasoned and slow roasted to perfection. This is something I cannot make at home nor can I say I have enjoyed at most restaurants. Well the Fire Grill does not promote this as a signature order for nothing. I ordered it medium and this piece cut like butter. On the side I had some wild rice.  The filet mignon, by the way, got rave reviews around the table as well.

    During the evening I bumped into a friend from work seated at a nearby table. He was dining on the ribs and chicken, 10 ounces of pork baby back ribs and half a grilled chicken breast with French fries. His friend had chosen the Atlantic salmon, a nine ounce grilled Atlantic salmon filet with dill sauce.

    For dessert, two of us shared the tiramisu, homemade ladyfingers soaked with a tia maria/espresso syrop with a light mascarpone mousse and crunchy chocolate cereal topped with chocolate shavings while the apple pie – granny Smith apples wrapped in flakey puff pastry, deep fried, tossed in cinnamon sugar and served with ice cream –won it with the others.

    The feeling was absolutely unanimous that The Firegrill will be added to our regular restaurant rotation. We often go see a movie at Cinemas Guzzo in St. Laurent, so what an ideal spot to go dine after the film. As for downtown, we frequent the area a lot and with the validated parking it is a no brainer. This is especially the case before a hockey game or major event at the Bell Centre.

    The downtown location is at 1490 Stanley Street. For reservations call 514-842-0020.  Hours of operation are 11 am to 11 pm Monday to Thursday, 11 am to Midnight Fridays, 12 pm to Midnight Saturdays and 12 pm to 11 pm Sundays. The St. Laurent location is at 3500 Cote Vertu West.  For reservations call 514-832-0222. Hours of operation are 11 am to 10 pm Mondays, 11 am to 11 pm Tuesday to Thursdays, 11 am to Midnight Fridays, 12 pm to Midnight Saturdays and 12 pm to 10 pm Sundays. Both restaurants can accommodate private functions.

    Mike Cohen

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