Restaurant review: Ben & Florentine now open for dinner

Ben & FlorentineNo neighbourhood is complete without a solid brunch restaurant, and that’s the role Ben & Florentine provides in the Town of Montreal shopping centre at 2356 Lucerne, adjacent to the Metropolitan Blvd.

We dropped in the other day for a midday meal, attracted by the news that the restaurant has extended its hours and is now open for dinner until 9 every night. It opens at 6 am.

The TMR restaurant is a bright and well-lit storefront—the old Murray’s—with tables and lots of booths. The food is prepared in an open-kitchen-style enclosed section of the room.

The “Quebec menu,” tailored for the chain’s 25 outlets in the province, includes waffles, pancakes and crêpes, eggs Florentine and Benedict, cereals, oatmeal, French toast, lox and bagel. The format seems popular, since another seven franchise operations are set to open across Quebec.

We were greeted by a friendly waiter and immediately offered coffee as we examined the menu.

Barbara chose the Giant Tuna Melt ($10.95)—tuna salad and Swiss cheese between slices of thick, toasted country bread, and served with fresh fruit and home fries, in the form of small cubes of fried potatoes. To get her veggie fix, Barbara asked for a side of tomatoes.

It was quite filling, so Barbara passed on her usual fresh fruit bowl ($3.75). She noted that the $1.35 charge for maple syrup was relatively reasonable.

Since I am battling the bulge, I chose the fruit explosion ($11.45)—a substantial bowl of fresh fruit and muesli. The waiter happily substituted low-fat vanilla yogurt for the English cream. It comes with a choice of croissant, bagel, or raisin bread. I chose the latter, which came lightly toasted.

We enjoyed our food and were more than satisfied with the quantity and freshness. The server came by several times to ask if everything was okay. He served and refilled our glasses with water. The service was generous and friendly and the radio was kept low so as to maintain a relaxed ambiance and not upset delicate ears.

With the new late-closing policy, the restaurant serves a $12.99 dinner. Among the 25 choices are a variety of salads (Greek, chicken Caesar) with soup; chicken or beef burgers; Paninis grilled cheese and smoked meat, with soup or salad; meat or vegetarian lasagna; fish ‘n chips; fettuccine Bolognese; and meatloaf, with soup or salad.

A full dinner menu is under development, and is to be ready by the end of September.

The restaurant is wheelchair accessible. Info: 514-733-7337.

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