Eating with kids at restaurants can be a challenge, but last weekend in Montreal we hit a new high (or low). The Bar-B-Barn is a classic Quebec chicken & ribs place that takes its tradition seriously. With puritanical zeal, they have kept the same menu and decor: department of highways road-stripe-yellow paint, pine panelling, and ancient posters of hockey players.
The kids couldn't believe we were planning to eat in this low-ceilinged room with creaky floors and exposed heating ducts. My older son couldn't get over the menu. He kept asking "But there's only two items on the menu?". Yes, I'ld reply: chicken or ribs. "Just two things!?" and "Is that really it?" For someone used to the multi-page menus of a typically eatery, it blew his mind.
Son #2 is precise and his criticisms were detailed: the ribs had too much sauce, the fries were too long, and "this bun sucks!". Summing up, he concluded that "at least a crappy restaurant could have better lighting". Needless to say this sort of side commentary dulls the enjoyment of the others at the table. But we all got through it, and the food is actually pretty good. A broadening experience; for when I asked days later if they had told their friends about the Bar-B-Barn, they said "it wasn't that bad."