Jane is almost hidden, with a roughly non-descript exterior except for a small window and black awning, it’s almost easy to miss the cozy, candle-lit restaurant when driving by. Although the restaurant seems low-key, it has been thriving enough to stand tall against the Joe Beef trifecta as it is now one of the most popular restaurants on the Notre-Dame strip.
I found the ambience really enjoyable, especially the music, a compilation of some of classic rock’s greatest hits. With a seating capacity of around 30, Jane fills up quite quickly so making a reservation on weekends is recommended. There was only one waiter working the tables, and he was exceptional. Very patient and happy to explain anything on the menu, he also brought out the food with impeccable timing. The intriguing part of the restaurant lies within the menu; an extremely creative slew of unique dishes especially the pizza toppings, which include mac and cheese, smoked meat, and braised short ribs. Unfortunately the menu is located at the end of the room and hard to see from certain tables, prompting you to get up and take a closer look.
First to come out was the Panzanella Salad, a rustic Tuscany inspired dish that was once based on onions. Jane modifies the dish with an inspiring combination of croutons soaked in a porcini marinade, a delicious taste to accompany a chewier instead of crunchy texture. The flavor marries well to the red wine vinegar dressing, which is greatly distributed over an abundance of fresh arugula and tomatoes. Lastly the salad is topped with some grated Romano cheese, giving it a unique taste of several enticing flavors that hold up really well against each other. The Panzanella is one of their latest salads and it comes highly recommended.
I had to order Mom’s Meatballs, a dish I’ve seen mentioned in most of Jane’s reviews. The meatballs are exactly what they’re called; if you had an Italian mother, these would most probably be similar to her recipe. Covered in a wonderful fresh home made traditional Italian tomato sauce, the meatballs were delicious. They weren’t meltingly tender, but each bite had a wonderful fulfilling taste. The fact that they’re made with bacon makes them even more desirable. The last touch is grated cheese, which pulls everything together. I didn’t care for the grilled bread and pesto, because it tasted quite burnt, but that didn’t matter because we had tons of food coming and I didn’t want to fill up on bread anyways.
Jane’s indulgent mac n cheese is a wonderful dish to order as an appetizer. It’s made with a deeply rich cheddar and topped with fried breadcrumbs and chives. It’s really easy for a restaurant to mess up a mac n cheese dish, therefore I’m normally skeptical about ordering it when I eat out, but this one definitely pleased me. I really loved the texture from the breadcrumbs that provided a beautiful crispy crunch to each bite that seemed to be a great alternative to browning the top.
What was even better than the mac n cheese, and personally my favorite of the night was the sweet potato gnocchi. I will start off by saying that this dish should be award winning, and it also kept everyone at the table mostly silent during the course of it. The gnocchi is made with the perfect amount of sweet potato giving it a slightly sweet taste. But what really strikes is the melt in your mouth texture due to the presence of ricotta. The gnocchi couldn’t have been complimented with a better choice of sauce; tomato cream pesto. A brilliant combination executed flawlessly and one of the best dishes I’ve had this year.
It was time to try what the restaurant is known for, their pizza. Instead of ordering what I’ve read about, I wanted to try their latest effort, The Ribza, a dish that’s been on the menu for the past two weeks. This pizza features braised short rib, portabella mushrooms, cheese, and instead of tomato based, the sauce comes from the short rib gravy and made with jalepenos, forming a creamy artery clogging sauce that could probably have you fall asleep at the wheel during the drive on the way home. The pizza dough is out of this world and it really stands out. The recipe is based on Montreal’s bagels by adding a slight sweetness to the crust with infusing honey. The dough really makes it an unbelievably delicious base to the toppings. The pizza is also oval shaped, so you not only get conventional triangular slices but squares as well. The only thing that I didn’t care for was the presence of short rib. For me personally, I could have done without it. The short rib itself tasted great, but it was its texture that I didn’t want in my bites so I ended up picking it off and then it was exactly what I wanted. Taking off the short rib was just my preference, and so I will say that I think most people will adore it the way it comes. Either way the pizza was grand.
I always say that you can tell if a restaurant has good pizza based on a good old-fashioned regular cheese pizza. The Rosa is covered generously with a delicious mix of cheese, the perfect amount of tomato sauce, and a nice drizzle of pesto. Because the sauce and toppings weren’t as strong as the Ribza, the taste of the dough was even more accentuated which I was happy to experience. The sauce and cheese were fantastic, and the pesto was mouthwatering.
There’s really no way that Jane won’t succeed. Both comfortable and fun to visit, the place is considered a gem amongst the myriad of average and sub-par pizza places that Montreal is populated with, which is why Jane is sure to draw many to Little Burgandy. The menu changes throughout the year, but the quality seems to stay the same, and that will go a long way.
1744 Notre-Dame Ouest, Montreal, QC, Canada H3J 1M3 T: (514) 759-6498
JarredReviews is my personal weblog. The opinions and experiences represent my own. If you read that I didn’t particularly enjoy a meal or restaurant, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try it and see for yourself. Restaurants can have an off day, people make mistakes, we’re all human. My writing is mainly so that you can find out about great restaurants that you may have not heard about, and also to give you an idea of what I enjoyed that you can experience for yourself. Food reviewing is very subjective and you must take this into account and use your discretion when reading any review; If I have had a bad experience somewhere, do not let that stop you to try the restaurant for yourself.