Here’s everything they ate at Liverpool House in Montreal.
We’ll have what they’re having.
President Barack Obama joined Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for a feast of lobster spaghetti, dry-aged rib steak and halibut at the Liverpool House in Montreal on Tuesday, the chef who cooked the bromantic dinner dished to Moneyish.
Ariel Schor — the chef de cuisine at the hip restaurant from renowned chef/owners Allison Cunningham, Frédéric Morin and David McMillan — said he and his staff learned on the day-of that they would be serving the two heads of government.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) June 7, 2017
“Everyone had butterflies in their stomachs,” he told Moneyish. “This was a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”
And once word got out that Obama and Trudeau were at the oyster bar in Montreal’s Little Burgundy neighborhood, crowds packed the security perimeter set up around the restaurant.
“There were thousands of people on the street waiting to catch a glimpse of them,” marveled Schor. “People with reservations had a hard time getting into the restaurant physically.”
Owner McMillan told CBC News that security was, “ridiculous, like I’ve never seen in my life. Maybe 200 security plus the police, and the streets were blocked. There was SWAT in the backyard. Ninjas.”
Prime Minister Trudeau, who’s come to the restaurant a few times before, told Schor to “just cook.”
“He said, ‘Do what you guys do best,’” said Schor, “and we picked simple fare that I would like to eat.”
Schor rattled off a mouthwatering menu that started with a house salad of fresh, locally sourced fiddleheads, fennel and asparagus, as well as some smoked fish. “I’d be a really bad Jewish boy if I didn’t have smoked fish on the menu all of the time,” he joked.
Next came smoked ham and a platter of mussels and oysters from Prince Edward Island (“Where we find the best oysters in North America, maybe the world”), and lobster salad served in the shell.
Then Obama and Trudeau somehow made room for three main courses, including the lobster spaghetti that’s been on the menu for 10 years; a whopping 2.2-pound, in-house dry-aged rib steak that could feed five people; and an off-the-menu halibut with morel mushrooms.
Last but not least, Schor came out and personally presented the dynamic duo with dessert: airy profiteroles (French cream puffs) with brown butter and caramel ice creams, and a bit of chocolate ganache.
Schor shook hands with both heads of state, and said they were “very happy” with the meal, and that there was “a lot of food.”
“I don’t think Barack Obama is used to eating the way we cook out here,” laughed Schor. “He said, ‘The food, it kept coming and coming!’ He wasn’t expecting that. But we’re just doing what we do, which is providing a generous experience.”
— David McMillan (@joebeef) June 7, 2017
Schor was too busy cooking to keep tabs on what the dynamic duo were drinking or what they talked about – although his boss observed the two “had a 30-minute conversation alone. It seemed lighthearted and funny.”
Schor was also tight-lipped on the meal’s final tab, or how well they tipped the staff. Starters typically run $8-$22, with main courses weighing in at $22-$55, and desserts another $8-$12.
But Schor said he’ll never forget when Obama came back into the kitchen to thank the entire staff, and take a group photo.
“Everyone was in there – my cooks and my dishwashers and the bussers and the servers and the manager and everyone who worked together on this meal,” Schor said. “I mean, wow. He’s really like that. And especially in a liberal country like Canada, he is greatly appreciated.”
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