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The newly opened Hogar Steakhouse in Westmount effortlessly blends the rich heritage of Mexico

    Brothers Santiago and Sebastian Torres.

    Hogar is a new steakhouse in Westmount with Mexican influence which is quickly attracting a following for lunch and dinner. The place opened last summer. It can seat 60 people in the dining room and 15 more at the bar.

    For those who might not be big fans of Mexican cuisine, do not let the sign on the marque “Hogar Mexican Steakhouse” deter you. Hogar is a lively and inviting restaurant effortlessly blending the rich heritage of Mexico with the hearty indulgence of a traditional steakhouse.  

    Brothers Sebastian and Santiago Torres are behind the operation, conveniently located on Ste. Catherine Street is across from Westmount Square. Sebastian is at the front of the house as the de facto general manager; Santiago is the head chef. They have been joined in the venture by their parents Tomas and Maria Teresa, who help in the kitchen, and their sister Laura as one of the hostesses. Close friend Apu is also a key member of the team, as a host and server.

    The family is from Colombia and moved to Canada in 2004.  Sebastian and Santiago have worked at a number of international restaurants in Europe.  This included Mirazur in Menton, France rated with three stars by the Michelin Guide.

    First off, this is not your typical Mexican restaurant. The menu items are familiar ones at any high-end dining establishment, with more of a  Mexican influence.  “Hogar means ‘Home’ in Spanish and for my family and I this restaurant is our home,” says Sebastian. “It is where we spend the most time together, where we feel more comfortable, and where we want to share our passion with others. Hogar was also the name of the first business of my grandmother. It was a flower shop inside her home. So there is a small tribute to my Abuelita since she’s the one who planted the seed for the hospitality industry.”

    My dining companion and I were very impressed with this new discovery. There is an extensive drinks menu, but I decided to have a Virgin de Guadalupe,  containing hibiscus, passion fruit and grapefruit.

    At Hogar, each table gets a tray of tortilla chips with three delicious sauces to start things off.

    For starters, you can order items such as guacamole,  shrimp cocktail, tuna, scallop and mushroom tostada, salmon tiradito, ceviche Sinaloa and oysters. I opted for six oysters, which came with two mignonette sauces, Hogar and Mexican.

    My friend really enjoyed the Mexican summer salad, which came nicely chopped up and contained pinto beans, frisée lettuce, avocado, rainbow tomatoes and corn. There are also tacos. For lunch, a $15 Table D’Hôte comes with coffee, dessert of the day and either a garden salad, a tortilla soup, or an additional $9 grilled octopus.

    There are fish items on the menu, but I was intent on trying their steak. They offer a ribeye, skirt, New York, or cowboy. The 16-ounce ribeye, with Mexican fresh herbs, came medium rare and cut like butter. The ever-so-juicy sauce comes directly from other cuts of beef.  On the side, I had some papas toreadas. These are crispy baby potatoes.   My friend went for the burger, chopped steak with guacamole, homemade pickles, smoked gouda, chipotle mayo and lettuce.

    The Torres brothers have big plans for their project. There is now a $5 Taco Tuesdays, from 5 pm onwards. A new Sunday brunch features a burrito breakfast, grilled cheese, avocado millefeuille, smoked salmon, huevos rancheros, chilaquiles,  pancakes and a sweet tower. Hogar Mexican Steakhouse is located at 4124 Saint-Catherine Ouest in Westmount. For more information call 504-4124 or log on to http://www.hogarsteakhouse.com/

    Mike Cohen

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