Squid Grilled at the Mei Restaurant in Montreal
The Mei Restaurant in downtown Montreal is a tiny little place but they have a terrific range of dishes on offer. Their menu leans heavily towards soup, noodles and dumplings, but they also feature items they describe as ‘Chinese Tapas’, which included the Grilled Squid dish pictured above. It was very Northern Chinese in spirit, quite like the Squid Grilled at Juxiangyuan in Ottawa, and it was both a novel twist on that version, and genuinely delicious as well.
Being small, the Mei Restaurant has rather a cozy feel to it. I arrived about a half-hour before noon and it was almost empty when I was shown to my seat. It filled up really quickly though, but this didn’t seem to daunt the sole waitress on duty, who seemed to manage things almost effortlessly.
The Grilled Squid was not my first order of the day. I had five dishes in total, but I have to say that this one was probably the best. It consisted of just the Tentacles (which is just fine by me) and they were decent sized, very fresh, and just thick enough so that they remained juicy and chewy at the larger end, and slightly charred, and extra delicious, at the tips.
Like the Juxiangyuan Grilled Squid, these were seasoned in a very Northern Chinese style with both Chili and Cumin. Here though, the restaurant gave the dish an extra little twist with Hoisin Sauce. This added sweetness without overwhelming the natural sweetness of the Squid and, I think, lent a nice ‘stickiness’ to the finished result that made it a touch better than the ‘dry-spice rub’ effect of the Juxiangyuan spice coating. The application of these was reasonably light, but still giving a fiery sparkle, and, overall, the Squid Grilled at the Mei Restaurant was probably better than any of my own Grilled Squid dishes thus far.