Mouthwatering is a term that many food writers throw around when something tastes good. However, few restaurants actually create that feeling of your mouth flooding with anticipation. Well, Le bOucan is definitely one of them. Whether it is that deep smoky-sweet barbecue sauce that they use on everything or the ridiculous depth of flavour in their chili and dry rubs… well, Le bOucan is simply put one of the best smokehouses in Montreal, if not North America. And they are expanding!
On a cold Wednesday night, we were privy to the opening party at their second location in Rosemont on Masson. If you have seen Stranger Things, then you will understand their décor to be a true throwback to the 70s, complete with wooden slats, brick walls, small booths, and funky lights.
Of course, the bar separating the space in two is the highlight with choices galore and with bartenders capable of mixing any drink from scratch. We were lucky enough to try their Jim Beam bourbon lemonade ($10). The acidity and sweetness of the lemon balanced out the harsh bourbon for a nice relaxed spiked lemonade feel. It did not, however, hold a dime to the after dinner Boucan Old Fashioned ($12). Served with a coaster on top, the Knob Creek and bitters combination is exposed to a cloud of maple wood smoke to give the typically rock hard drink a delicious, smoother, and almost sweeter edge.
The problem with some restaurants is that you might, on a given night, try an amazing dish, recommend it to a friend, and then when they try it on a separate occasion, the taste is completely different. However, consistency is Le bOucan’s forte. Every night, you will be having the same smoked-to-perfection BBQ food that everyone else is stuffing their face with. And once again, despite the packed room full of expectant patrons, Le bOucan delivered! We were lucky enough to try seemingly everything on the menu and were not disappointed once. We were bloated, overstuffed, and way past satisfied, but never disappointed.
First we tried some chunky smoky goodness in their chili nachos ($18). The chili is the real star with a depth of flavor that is only achieved through a very long and intense cooking process. Next the Chiloancho shrimp salad ($19) had a subtle heat and underlying hints of basil. The salad included walnuts, crispy fried onions, and shrimp covered in an amazing chili sauce.
Over the next hour we were given more tasters than we could possibly eat. Amazing dry-rubbed cinnamon-chili BBQ chicken wings ($13), buttery bacon Mac N Cheese topped with spiced panko ($10), and their famous pork ribs slathered in their trademark sauce that hides a spicy kick at the end ($21).
Of course, the highlight (among many) was the pulled pork sandwich ($16). A good amount of properly mouth-watering shredded pulled pork coated in bOucan’s BBQ sauce and balanced with a red cabbage slaw sits on absorbent bread, sucking up all that delicious flavour into itself. Well, that decides what we will be eating again tonight. To think of it is to desire it. By far, one of the best pulled porks in a city that is awash with it.
It would be difficult to talk about Le bOucan and not acknowledge the family atmosphere that the staff, owners, and chefs have with each other. Everyone is friendly and smiling. Going to Le bOucan is like going over to an uncle’s house. The kind that never quite got around to redecorating since the 70s but damn can he cook. Well, now there are two places to experience the amazing atmosphere and mouthwatering cooking of Le bOucan: Griffintown and Rosemont! We will see you there.
2863 Rue Masson, Montréal, QC H1Y
Photos by Jonathan Brouillette (@darksteelangel) and Le bOucan.