The Rib N Reef sign has been an icon of Decarie Boulevard for as long as I can remember. I assumed it was a steakhouse, just another steakhouse… What a surprise I had.
What to say about a restaurant who is celebrating a record 45 year anniversary, braved cultural changes, culinary fads, demographic shifts and economical strife.
The challenge is not what to say, but what to say that hasn’t already been said. A restaurant that's risen to the challenge for 45 years has got to be doing something right. To say the quality is good is an understatement. To say the service is excellent goes without saying. So what have they done so well that’s kept them opened while others have come and gone?
Here’s the answer: Never compromise on quality. Treat the client like royalty. Know your product. Serve the best meat, freshest fish and the best wines. Period. Sounds a bit too simple, but how else do you explain the success of the Rib N Reef.
The valet parking is from another era, and we rarely see it now days. After all, we can all park our cars, right. But we can also cook our own supper, but when we decide to go out, we don’t want to cook….and we shouldn’t expect to park our cars either. Right?
Busy Decarie Boulevard is often just a highway to get from North to South or South to North. In this case, Decarie means easy access to the Rib N Reef.
The atmosphere inside is worlds away from the atmosphere outside. Its high end decor is reminiscent of some of the continents finest back in the 70’s….when dining out was an event.
Let’s start with the basics: USDA Prime beef. Less than 3% of North American meat production qualifies, but at the Rib N Reef, you can expect sealed-in juices on all cuts which are wet-aged 4 weeks and dry-aged 10 days. Order daily arrivals (at least 5 on the menu) of fresh fish from around the globe or from the aquarium. Everything that touches your plate is carefully crafted in preparation. Vegetable aren’t treated like a side dish…the chef knows that broccoli and asparagus go from not cooked enough, to perfect, to overcooked in a matter of seconds…and has mastered the fine art of knowing exactly then they’re perfect. The sauces are created as a complement to the main course; never overpowering.
I went with a friend so I tasted two of his shrimp. This is where freshness really counts because I cut them like meat as they were oversized. Three bites per shrimp if you want to enjoy the delicate tastes to the fullest. The Prime Rib I had was simply the best I’ve ever had. By far…..the best….Oh, just order it and you’ll see what I mean. It’s the kind of experience that can only be described with words like….Mmmmmmm,,,,, and Oooooohhhhh.
The real treat is Patrick Schmidt, the Sommelier. His enthusiasm is contagious and you’ll find yourself pleasantly enthralled by his knowledge of the incredible ensemble of wines from around the world. The cellar is award winning but that means nothing unless the caretaker can communicate the intricacies and nuances of each of his suggestions. Patrick is wine’s best friend and will crown your evening with just the perfect fit.
Their extra large tables make you want to linger…and when you see the desert menu, you won’t want to leave just yet. If you’re going to lap up countless calories, these deserts will make it worth while. Stay and have a glass of port and a cigar. Stay to chat with Lily who’s been behind the bar for 27 years. Or Jimmy the grill master, who’s been with the team since 1960. Chat with Abdo, the General Manager or Louis Szopko the Maitre d’hôtel . They truly know the meaning of hospitality….after all, it’s not rocket science. Treat people as if they were guests in your home. Give them the best of what you do and the best of whom you are. I hope they’re around for another 45 years!