Pushap — a nearly hidden phenomenon

Pushap, located in the Côte des Neiges-NDG borough.

Not too long ago, I was alerted to the fact that there was an Indian restaurant not far from Décarie Blvd. where the samosas – a fried or baked pastry-like item with various vegetarian fillings— were literally flying off the shelves.

I eventually determined that the establishment in question is Pushap, a vegetarian restaurant at the corner of Paré and Mountain Sights, a little bit off the beaten track, to say the least. The restaurant is located in a largely residential and commercial area, close to some older buildings and brand new ones as well, the latter part of the current spurt of developments on the Décarie axis, now known as Midtown.

When I recently visited Pushap on three occasions in a two-day period, I was shocked. At each time of the day — in the late evening, before noon and at the normal suppertime hour— there wasn't a minute when there weren't many customers in the restaurant.

In fact, the scene reminded me of the good ol' days of the Brown Derby on Van Horne. During the 1970s and before, there were big lines to wait for a table, and almost equally big lines at the take out counter.

And indeed, it was obvious that the samosas were the most popular take out item. There were dozens of them on display in a heated receptacle, and customer after customer left with paper bags filled with the delicacies.

And that brings me to the other shocking aspect of what Pushap has to offer. When one reads the menu — filled with numerous Indian cuisine items — it is as though one has travelled back in time.

The individual entree items are as low as $3 or $4, the desserts are priced as low as 75 cents, and a full meal is between $6 and $8. A combo is a far from hefty $10.

And the samosas, which are quite filling, are 75 cents each if you buy them individually, and a mere pittance — 12 for a mere $5 — if you buy them in bulk to take out.

The eat-in food itself is very authentic, served on a large plate with compartments for the different items, whicj=h reminded me of when I ate at some sublime Indian restaurants in London.

The staff, which seems to be always moving at lightning speed in and out of the kitchen, is in perpetual motion between filling takeout orders and serving items to the seated customers. I have never seen any place as busy, with the possible exception of Schwartz's, and many of those customers are tourists.

The Eater Montreal website calls Pushap a "rite of passage in cheap Montreal eats." Several other websites have also noted Pushap's uniqueness as a restaurant that won't bust anyone's budget.

Visiting Pushap is quite the experience, whether culinary or just to soak in the hectic scene.

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