Mike CohenMtlRestoRap

There are a select few standout steakhouses in Montreal, but the one that should be rewarded as a  model of consistency and continued excellence belongs to Rib ‘N Reef on Decarie Boulevard under the ownership of Peter Katsoudas.

On May 30, Katsoudas celebrated his 70th birthday and the 32nd anniversary since he purchased the establishment with a VIP cocktail party on the classy rooftop terrasse. With his wife Antonella – a partner in life and business – and key staff members by his side, Katsoudas was in fine form and expressed pride about the reputation he has built for the brand over the past three decades.

My family and I had never experienced the terrasse here before. It can seat between 60 and 75 people, is completely covered and has electronically controlled shaded blinds. The ambiance at this spot is absolutely fabulous!

Server Rafael makes salmon tartare at the table.

Server Rafael makes salmon tartare at the table.

“Class” is the word here, from the moment you valet park your vehicle. The restaurant first opened in 1960. But as someone who has been fortunate enough to frequent this place for many of its years, it was only when Katsoudas stepped in did business really take off. He undertook a major remodelling of the facility in 1999 and then again in 2007 by adding a cigar lounge and the rooftop terrasse. Then, in 2016, the main entrance was redone. Next on the agenda will be the addition of a carport to receive his guests, something which will be well appreciated when it rains or snows.

General Manager Abou Hamad oversees a full-time staff of 85 people. Born in Greece, Katsoudas was seven years old when he came to Montreal with his parents and two sisters. Even back then, he says, he knew his future was in the culinary business. “We had family members who owned restaurants,” he noted. “I got to hang out there and I liked it. While I attended school I worked at restaurants to earn some cash.”

Koutsoudas opened his first restaurant at the age of 19 and followed that up with two more. In 1991, growing restless and looking for a new challenge, Katsoudas bought the Rib ‘N Reef from David Stendell and Morty Fruchter.

The service is impeccable here. No sooner are you seated, a breadbasket, bread sticks, pickles and coleslaw arrive at the table. Katsoudas, his managers and the sommelier circle the restaurant regularly and make sure all of the customers are happy. Rib ‘N Reef is known for serving the finest grilled dry-aged meats, fresh fish and seafood from around the globe and premium wines in Montreal. There is a custom butchery on the premises.

We were a party of three at our table. We started off with some wine. I opted for a glass of Cava sparkling wine. As we perused the menu, we focused on the appetizers and stopped at 12 delicious, shucked oysters while one of the servers Rafael prepared some extraordinary salmon tartare right at our table. It was a work of art.  For the main course, we shared a 34-ounce Porterhouse steak, cooked to perfection medium rare, with rice pilaf and sautéed mushrooms on the side. We saved some room for dessert, enjoying the decadent chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream.

Katsoudas is proud of his record as a boss. There is a very low turnover rate for his staff. “They are like family to me,” he says. “I can’t do this without them.”

Log on to www.MtlRestoRap.com to read an expanded story on Rib ‘N Reef and the magic touch of Peter Katsoudas.

Rib ‘N Reef is open for lunch, afternoon meals and dinner. Reservations are recommended.  Call 514 735-1601 or log on to www.ribnreef.com