First off let me take you back to July 31st 2002 almost 9 years ago!
In the weeks previous to that date, I am with my family in Montana’s Cookhouse in Whitby, Ontario and we have a meal that I found was kind of sub par, and I filled out one of those Service cards that were on the table. In the mail I get a letter from the manager of the restaurant which you can read for yourself below.
I had planned to try them again but filed the letter away and did not find it again til about 6 months ago at which point I had a good laugh at the date and put the letter in my briefcase.
Well today I decide I would drop in to the restaurant for lunch not knowing what management would say about my voucher.
As I entered the restaurant this is the view that you see, a very rustic log cabin kind of feel to Montana’s Cookhouse.
I was shown to my table by a greeter that was polite and seemed to be happy to see me.
Very shortly after I sat down my server for lunch introduced himself as Trent and gave me a menu to browse and gave me a few minutes to decide, It was at this point that I brought the letter to Trent’s attention, he quickly read the letter and seemed ok with it. Then I pointed out the date of the letter and he had a giggle and said “Well the letter has no expiry date so it is fine” Trent also told me that Service Manager Shannon Ward was in fact still with the company though she now works at the Oshawa location.
Below you see pictures that I took from the menu because of the lighting they did not turn out all that well but I can tell you that the menu is easy to read and well designed with some very nice pictures. you can click on any of the pictures in my blog to view them in their full size.
I decided to go for the Ribs and Wings combination plate along with a Baked Potato and Corn and the meal came with a mini loaf of Corn Bread.
Trent brought me my drink which was a Diet Pepsi in a Mason Jar which I thought was pretty cool.
While waiting for my meal I took some pictures around the restaurant (I always feel a little uncomfortable doing this but no one questioned me on it.)
Also while I was waiting for my food to arrive, next to me was a table with 6 people that were celebrating a friends birthday and I watched as Trent brought over a really nice looking Birthday cake and he presented it to the birthday woman, and they were very impressed. I notice that Trent snag a few quick bars of the happy birthday song but it was not like in some other restaurants where they get half the employees to sing and clap and make fools of themselves, this was more genuine and pleasant.
But enough of the scenery, now it is time for the food!
As Trent was talking with his other customers the Greeter that seated me brought my food to the the table, I guess that this was done so that I would not be waiting longer for my food, I appreciated it as It shows that the employees would not leave food sitting to get cool.
I could tell that Trent had a genuine interest in small talk with his customers and he was engaging to talk to. I was impressed with Trent and I thought it was refreshing to not have just eye candy serving for a change. Trent had a likable personality and made his customers feel at ease. It kind of reminded me of some of the great people that you meet at a BBQ competition.
The menu did state that some of the food is Hickory Smoked though I did forget to ask what kind of equipment is used to do the smoking. I will attempt to find out and add that information here when I get it.
Here is what you came here to see… My lunch!
My impressions of the meal….
Appearance was very good, It was a large enough plate and the food was placed well on the plate.
I first ate the Corn Bread and I found it had a light fluffy texture and was still warm, Very tasty!
The Corn I was not thrilled with, though I did like the way it was presented and having the Red and Green Peppers mixed in, found that the corn did not taste all that fresh in fact I found it a bit dry. I did not eat a lot of that.
I loved the texture of the Baked Potato it was a great size and had a nice selection of toppings and they brought me some butter and sour cream as well, inside the potato the cheese that was used was that great effect like biting into a good slice of pizza where you end up with a long string of cheese as you pull it away from the dish. Very nice!
On the Wings I had asked for the Chipolte Honey Sauce and just after I took my first bite Trent came over with a dish of sauce and said that they were sorry they gave me wings that had Honey Garlic sauce on them, but suggested I could dip them in to the dish of Chipolte Honey that he brought to me, which I thought was nice of him to do especially since they did not wait for me to call them out on it rather they told me of the mistake first. So I was ok with that.
I enjoyed the Chicken Wings, they had a good coating on them (the menu states they are double dipped) and I enjoyed the sauce combination, the Chipolte Honey had some good bite too it but the sweetness of the honey made it go down real well, No need for a fire extinguisher or glass of milk, very satisfying flavour. The size of the wings them selves were above average.
Apple butter was the flavour that I asked for and received on my ribs and this is an excellent tasting sauce! it did not over power the ribs and I could taste the flavours from the rub that they used and the ribs had a perfect bark on them. The meat was pretty much fall off the bone but still had enough bite on them that they meat was not mush as you can see below I was able to clean off the bones with out any trouble. It was a nice touch giving me a metal pale for putting the bones in.
Montana’s Cookhouse really does promote their Ribs and every Wednesday they have an all you can eat promotion where you pay $1.00 above the price of the large portion of Ribs and you can eat as much as you can. and in the Summer they do that every day.
However for me I would never need to do that, this meal I had to day was very satisfying and I did come in very hungry. I did not even finish the ribs, (I had 2 left) and out of the 4 Chicken Wings I finished 3.
Trent asked if I wanted dessert and I took a pass on that, Mother always told me that I could not have dessert if I did not finish my dinner lol.
Montana’s did bring a couple of wet naps to the table and they were of good quality but even so the sauces were very sticky and I needed to go to the washroom to wash my hands .
One thing that I remember form Swiss Chalet ( a Canadian Chicken and Ribs restaurant) was that they would bring to your table a bowl with warm lemon water to clean your hands with, maybe they could consider that as an option?
Trent brought me the bill and took the time to point out that I could use the information on the receipt input it on their website and if I answered a 5 minute survey that I would get some freebies on my next visit.
Before any of you think to do it yourself using my receipt , in order to claim you need the original receipt as well.
I really liked this experience, the food was exceptional over all and I was very pleased with the service, I would have no issues with going back, and Trent even joked with me that he hoped I would not wait another 9 years to return.
Montana’s is a very good option for BBQ style foods and I will head back one day to try some of the other sauces.
Montana’s also has a bar and a couple of large TV’s so that you can watch the game while you eat and or drink.
I did not even mention that they have a 15 minute Lunch menu that has a lot of great looking items that they guarantee is at your table in less than 15 minutes including a great looking Pulled Pork Sandwich.. Oh well next time!