Shrimp and grits

Fortune does comfort food right

Tacos, guédilles, shrimp & grits — this Mile Ex restaurant is the shit.

Fortune tacos

Guédille and taco. Photos by Michael Buck

Fortune is good at tacos. Fresh, savoury, the right chew, the right crunch and a solid spread of ingredients. But this new spot on St-Laurent near Beaubien isn’t Mile Ex’s answer to Grumman 78, whose  food at their brick-and-mortar restaurant in St-Henri is even pricier than the food truck fare. And with cheaper options like Impac Taco not too far away, Fortune was smart enough not to sell itself solely as a taqueria. It’s the guédilles, the shrimp and grits and other low-brow mains and sides that make Fortune so appealing.

The place was founded by some familiar faces from the neighbourhood bar scene. Notre Dame des Quilles co-owner Zoë Cousineau left the fold there nearly a year ago, and after Royal Phoenix closed, bar manager Aleksey Cameron (who still co-owns the Phoenix1 truck) found herself freed up, too. Cousineau and Cameron launched Fortune with their photographer friend Kim Martel-Gilbert last month.

Shrimp and grits
Shrimp and grits

We visited Fortune on a recent messy Saturday night, and were served by Martel-Gilbert at the counter while she and Cousineau prepped our food. One of our group is a total snob when it comes to the cuisine of the American South, from barbecue to tacos. His initial skepticism, which he applies to any local attempt at Mexican, evaporated quickly after he tucked in to his first pork belly taco, a soft corn tortilla with sliced pork and spicy mango slaw. The other varieties of taco ($4.50) are drunk chicken (with avocado and cabbage), roasted cauliflower (with avocado and ricotta) and fish (with cucumber and radish).

Fortune also offers three types of guédille (a sandwich with a bun, like a lobster roll): spicy shrimp, pork belly and all-dressed veggie. The latter consisted of avocado, cole slaw, radish, cucumber and cheese, and it was totally satisfying, not an afterthought like so many veggie options at other restaurants. It was fresh, flavourful, the right levels of moisture, salt and light seasoning.

But the big revelation of the night was shrimp and grits ($7), grits being that vaguely mysterious (in that almost no local restaurants serve it) maizey porridge from the South — when done right, with a creative contrast of elements, it’s pretty great. In this case the other ingredients were big, juicy shrimp and roasted jalapenos, and the combined taste and texture was sensational.

This really is comfort food.



6448 St-Laurent, 514-303-3111