40 and Famished: Dinette Triple Crown

Macaroni and cheese. Dinette Triple Crown. Photo Esther Szeben. Macaroni and cheese. Dinette Triple Crown. Photo Esther Szeben.
dinette triple crown. photo rachel levine

dinette triple crown. photo rachel levine

dinette triple crown. photo rachel levine.

dinette triple crown. photo rachel levine.

Dinette Triple Crown (TDC) is a hidden “diner” in the Villeray-Parc Ex district. Don’t gallop by but canter cautiously otherwise you will miss it. I couldn’t actually find a sign out front but had to peek in and ask the server if this was indeed the restaurant. I felt silly, thinking, I am probably the only one. But to contradict my suspicion, every person that followed after us asked the same question!

Preserves. Dinette Triple Crown. Photo Esther Szeben.

Preserves. Dinette Triple Crown. Photo Esther Szeben.

The diner and dining room are almost two separate units divided by a commercial stairwell. We ate in the dining room decorated with equestrian themed paraphernalia that suits the Blue Ribbon motif.  You end up having to leave the building to re-enter at the diner to pay. Here you will find about five bar stools, which is also where you go to pick up your take-away or purchase some of the homemade canned preserves. They also display all their bourbon with over a dozen varieties and make a point of acquiring any new ones that the SAQ procures.

Bourbon. Dinette Triple Crown. Photo Esther Szeben.

Bourbon. Dinette Triple Crown. Photo Esther Szeben.

Since June, I have been venturing to try at least 40 new restaurants in Montreal, or those that are at least new to me. Since I am self-funding this decadent project I tend to opt for lunch because they normally have cheaper menus. If this is your logic, Triple Crown Dinette will disappoint on the economic feature.

dinette triple crown menu. photo rachel levine

dinette triple crown menu. photo rachel levine

I would never make a habit of spending $30 for lunch.  Had I stayed with my main course only and ordered water, I would have made the under $20 purchase. However, I did hear that they had the best macaroni and cheese ever, so my companion (who had been craving this fare all winter) and I split the demi Mac & Fromage ($8/ $14) for an appetizer. It was gooey, very satisfying, but overpriced.

Macaroni and cheese. Dinette Triple Crown. Photo Esther Szeben.

Macaroni and cheese. Dinette Triple Crown. Photo Esther Szeben.

Fried Chicken. Dinette Triple Crown. Photo Esther Szeben.

Fried Chicken. Meat n’ Threes. Dinette Triple Crown. Photo Esther Szeben.

“Meat and three’s” is the way to begin if it’s your first time, Deirdre our very knowledgeable server advised. You can have the pulled pork ($17), southern fried chicken ($15/17), or smoked brisket ($20). The chicken really did look like a certain fast food chain’s take on fried poultry, and was not exceptional on its own. The pulled pork was very tender but did not have too much flavour/seasoning and beckons for the homemade sauces that they serve in a wide variety from sweet to “he—ell, that’s hot.” Spicy East Carolina (no, that’s not a geographic or cartographic error), Peach Habanero and Arbol Pepper pumpkin seed apple cider vinegar are some of their unique concoctions.

Pulled Pork. Dinette Triple Crown. Photo Esther Szeben.

Pulled Pork. Meat n’ Threes. Dinette Triple Crown. Photo Esther Szeben.

You get the choice of three authentic southern sides. If you’re going to have the hushpuppies, request it without the ranch sauce drizzled on top as the sauce saturates the crispiness of the fried cornmeal balls.  The buttermilk biscuit is filling at “cat-head sized”, pinto beans are savoury and offer a nice sauce for you to mop up with the bread. If you are looking for roughage, your choices are coleslaw or the greens (kale, collards, whatever is in season). These aren’t completely vegetarian either, the braised greens had lovely smoked chunks of bacon. My favourite sides were the fried sweet potatoes, wedges in a light sweet glaze.

Braised Collards. Dinette Triple Crown. Photo Esther Szeben.

Braised Collards. Dinette Triple Crown. Photo Esther Szeben.

If Southern comfort food is all about the starch/carbs, then the meals aren’t really that balanced. They are high in protein and cabohydrates. It will put event they biggest carb addict over their carb tolerance for at least one meal! Even without the mac and cheese starter.

Next time I go, I will have the Big Nasty served with a Dirty Pie for dessert. This offensively named sandwich is a messy chicken sandwich, and the sweets is not your Mississippi Cliché Pie, but chocolate chips and walnuts in a bourbon sauce. Their chef really has a talent for mixing flavours, even down to the cocktails and beverages. Where else in Montreal will you find a  Blackberry and Chili soda made with mulled iced tea?

Ginger Beer with chili and blackberry soda. Dinette Triple Crown. Photo Esther Szeben.

Ginger Beer with chili and blackberry soda. Dinette Triple Crown. Photo Esther Szeben.

One thing I am curious to try is their tasting meals for 12 to 30 guests If you give them a budget and carte blanche (minimum $25 per person) they will design an evening meal of several dishes. I have no reservations and will frequent an establishment that serves cat-head sized nourishment with grimy themed banquets. You’ll probably get better value for your money if you go in a large group.

Dinette Triple Crown is located at 6704 Clark. Open 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily except for Wednesdays.

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