180 Villeneuve E. Laurier métro. BYOB
Jardin de Puits has not changed significantly from the previous review on this site. It's better than Le Vieux Duluth, but not worth seeking out. BYOW (lots)+ inexpensive (relatively) + friends (the old gang) does make the experience fun, but not inspiring to write about.
First impressions are that the place need a refresh, the menus were worn out, the decorations and atmosphere dated. This feeling would linger through the dishes.
We had the fried calimari as a group appetizer, which was cooked correctly (neither hard nor stringy), but the batter was somewhat greasy and no dipping sauce was offered outside of lemon wedges. A bottle of Oregon Pinot Gris uplifted the experience.
My main dish was lamb chops (4), which were decent enough and from the look (longish and thinnish) and texture (not stringy) I assume they were locally sourced and not the frozen New-Zealand variety.
Unfortunately, the accompanying rice-potato-salad "classic" greek combo on one plate took away from the initial impression. It just looked so bland and uninspired.
Luckily, the vinaigrette on the salad was very tasty, looked homemade, and was drizzled on right before serving. (Unlike WAY too many mid-range casual
restaurants.) (See Vinaigrette Rant at the end.) An Oregon Pinot Noir was a nice match although probably overkill (did I say it was BYO?). Supper for 2 two with tax (not tip) was about $60, but that included the big calamari plate ($19), soup, coffee, and dessert.
Vinaigrette Rant: I can't understand why restaurateurs don't toss their salads at the last minute (it only take a few seconds) or use homemade vinaigrette. For the record, here is a FAILPROOF recipe: 3 parts oil, 1 part vinegar, 1 teaspoon mustard, 1 clove of fresh garlic and/or a shallot, and herbs (one or many, fresh or dried). – Reviewed by Reader André (Jan/07)
Tucked away on the mini-BYOB strip on Villeneuve beside Les Rites Berbères and À vos risques et plaisirs, Le Jardin de Puits resembles Le Jardin de Panos in more than name: the treed, awning-sheltered outdoor terrasse is bright and cheery (take the table nearest the basil garden); the mood can be boisterous; and the menu is almost identical to that of Panos.
The inside is pure brochetterie, and the service lacks the Panos edge, but the food is less mediocre than many brochetteries. The pikilia is serviceable, with homemade meat and rice-stuffed vine leaves and authentic taramasalata topping the bill, and the brochettes are tender and tasty (have them leave the unadvertised lemon-mustard sauce off the otherwise succulent chicken brochette). If you have a hankering for pythakia (Greek-style lambchops), they are quite good here, although Terrasse Lafayette's are more authentic. Our fried calamari were a bit of a disappointment recently, when they came a bit torched and crisped. Still, this is an address to remember for fun ambiance and straight- ahead brochetterie food.