Chickening Au Vieux Duluth

Sunday night, coming back from a very successful scouting trip at the Conservative Convention in Calgary, I couldn’t say no when the Waffle Jr. asked to go to a restaurant. Interestingly enough, we have some gift certificates to use Au Vieux Duluth, and that is where we headed.

Au Vieux Duluth is a chain of 34 Greek-style restaurants hailing from Montreal. The first Vieux Duluth opened its doors on February 1982 on Duluth street in Montréal. Au Vieux Duluth’s winning formula focusses on grilled specialties and seafood dishes, generous portions and of course, the bring-your-own-Wine-and-Beer formula.

The Hull location has moved north recently, and is now conveniently located in a new mini-mall, which includes an SAQ store.

The place was really busy, as it usually is on Sunday evenings. Thankfully, there was space, and we were given a large 6-seat booth for the 4 of us. We were in the middle of the action, with birthday parties left and right – the place was really noisy, which got the kids a bit agitated. This wouldn’t be a relaxing meal, it felt like.

We peered at the menu, which features different combinations of chicken, beef, fish and seafood.

I wasn’t really hungry, so I decided to keep it simple and ordered their Chicken Brochette ($15.95). Mel decided to go for the Chicken breast and Butterfly shrimp ($22.95). Both dishes are served with home-fried potatoes, rice and house salad. Meanwhile, for some reason, the Waffle Jr. wanted the Tzatziki ($5.95), Creamy yogurt, cucumbers and garlic mixture served with toasted pita bread and marinated peppers. And of course, French Fries.

Despite signalling to our server that the Tzatziki was our daughter’s entrée. it was brought to our table right away. Nothing exceptional here, the highlight was the pita bread.

The rest of the food followed after a little while. The plates were the classic Vieux Duluth presentation: a healthy portion of their House Salad, 3 Potato Wedges, a ball of Rice and the meat. You’d like to get your salad in a separate dish? That’ll cost you extra.

The salad was a little too wet with dressing, but the iceberg was fresh and crunchy, and the dressing interesting. The potatoes were dense, a little dry. The rice was texturally pleasant, but a little bland. The highlight was definitely the chicken: Here we had skewered marinated chicken with onions and green peppers. The chicken was tender, juicy, a little zesty. The veggies had charred edges, but were nicely caramelized in the middle. The pieces could have been thicker, I thought.

Melissa’s plate was similarly presented – except she had two types of animals on her plate, and a small bucket of garlic butter.

If the 9 oz butterflied chicken breast was grilled nicely, was tender and juicy, thanks to the zesty marinade, the butterfly shrimp were a major disappointment – the breading was soggy and the shellfish a little chewy. Thankfully, there was garlic butter!

The place was really busy and really noisy, and the waiting staff couldn’t possibly be attentive despite their best efforts. The prices were reasonable, but more expensive than what you should really pay – not serving alcohol does come with a price. Still, it was a night out with the family – and that was what made my day.

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