I’ve eaten at Pret à Manger a couple dozen times. Lately, the frequency of my visits has dropped as I’ve been cooking at home more and exploring new spots but last Friday I was flying solo and looking for a quick bite. The 10 person lineup outside Kazu during a snowstorm quickly ruled that out as an option, so I headed down the street to good old P.M.
On this visit, like so many others, I started with the jumbo shrimp wonton soup. For $6.95 you get 10 large shrimp dumplings and some bok choy in broth. This is not a complicated soup but it’s really good. The dumplings are plump and firm with a good filling to shell ratio. The broth is flavourful and salty, the way it should be, and the bok choy is a nice touch (better than having shallots be the only vegetable in your wonton soup). Steaming hot every time, this soup hits the spot on a cold night.
Next up were fried noodles. I love fried noodles and I’ve had a couple different kinds here (cantonese, black bean sauce, satay sauce), this time I went with black pepper beef and chinese broccoli fried noodles. It’s not actually a menu item but they were nice enough to make it for me. Which brings me to another point – at P.M. you’ll get friendly and accommodating service. The noodles were good, crispy on the edges and soft under the toppings. The black pepper sauce was just spicy enough, the broccoli was crunchy and the whole dish had a nice fresh, clean feel to it. I ate half and brought the rest home for lunch the next day.
Here’s the deal. I live in the Sud Ouest area, and this has been my go to spot for Chinese food over the last three years. So, if I’m sticking to my own rating system, that should make it at least a 3. But if I didn’t live nearby would I have been so many times? Probably not. I recognize that the proximity of this place has played a factor. That being said, it’s also good stuff and I’d have no problem recommending it to anyone looking for some good Chinese food in an area that has plenty of options, so I’m sticking with the 3.
Other notable dishes I’d recommend at P.M. – salt and pepper tofu, salt and pepper shrimp, snow pea leaves and sesame beef. I feel obliged to point out that I, unfortunately, cannot recommend the peanut butter dumplings (they’re just kind of bland).
Price: Appetizers $5 – $10. Mains $8 – $12.
Rating: 3 – It’s good, man (with the geographical proximity caveat mentioned above).
P.M. (Pret à Manger) - 1809 Ste-Catherine West - 514.931.8889