Grill 21 straddles three cities, two cultures

Southwestern U.S. meets Indian subcontinent in a unique South Asian- American fusion

By Robert Frank

www.thesuburban.com

Montreal’s South Asian community has been flocking to Bistro Grill 21 (www.bistro-grill21.com) on Sources Blvd., since owner Sunit Kumar scored a coup in June.

After nearby India Gate closed, he hired the restaurant’s expert tandoori chef to add traditional South Asian fare to his existing Southwestern American menu.

“We wanted to offer Indian food from the get-go, when Grill21 opened last year,” explained Kumar’s Dollard des Ormeaux raised daughter Sunira, “but first we needed a chef who could deliver the quality that we wanted.”

“The traditional grill is the key,” she emphasized. “Not everyone can do tandoor and use spices effectively. Everything has to be served as though you have come to my house.”

“The tandoor is a clay oven box with heat coming from a conical form in the middle. Traditional nan bread and roti are baked by sticking them to the wall of the tandoor,” she explained. “A good chef knows precisely when to take them out—otherwise they get burned or fall into the oven.

The crowd, hitherto populated by many Jewish and Lebanese families, now includes a large South Asian contingent as well. A family group of 15—including prominent members of Dollard des Ormeaux’ Hindu temple executive—was dining at Grill21 when The Suburban visited.

“It has been like that every night since we introduced Indian food last month,” affirmed Sunira.

Attracted by a menu that offers the best of both worlds, the adults enjoyed an authentic South Asian meal, while the children dined on pizza.

Many diners also make the pilgrimage from Côte St. Luc, where they learned about Grill21 at the Kumar family’s popular Maruti fruit store on Westminster.

Enter in DDO, dine in Pierrefonds on Roxboro cooking

The restaurant’s long-awaited outdoor terrace is not open yet. The expansion project remains stalled in municipal bureaucracy, complicated by Grill21’s unique geography: it sits astride the boundary lines of three towns.

The restaurant’s entrance is in Dollard des Ormeaux; the kitchen is in Roxboro and part of the dining room is in Pierrefonds.

“It’s complex applying for permits,” sighed Sunira. “It’s like opening a whole new restaurant.”Her father Sunit hopes to have the terrace open soon, now that the summer season is upon us. A self-made man who married the proverbial girl-next-door in Amritsar, India, he only knew one word in English and French when he came to Canada four decades ago with just a few dollars in his pocket.

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