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#16 Orik

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Posted 02 October 2004 - 07:01 PM

A very good meal at Les Chevres.

Not a very large restaurant, seating maybe 50 at capacity (a lot less when we were there), with a seemingly low investment in decor, but a full realization of a certain Montreal chair fetish that we've noticed with the chair backs feeling very goat like. A small staff - three in the front of the house, two in the kitchen (visible through a nicely designed elliptic window) + dishwasher managed to deliver good food and service [1]:

For amuse we had diced chayote on coriander and parsnip puree with drops of very good olive oil and some young coriander and (lemon?) leaves. Texture, temperature and balance of flavor were all excellent.

A very good dish of seared foie gras (the Quebecoise foie handles searing much better than the hudson valley stuff) in maple broth with 'kimchi' - lightly pickled cabbage (in what kind of vinegar?) and carrots and with green onion crepes. Again, a perfect combination of light sweetness from the broth, the sour cabbage and the aroma from coriander and green onion.

Caramelized onion tortellini with haricots verts in mustard sauce - nice. The pasta could have used a few more seconds of cooking.

We shared an extra course - eggless flan of porcini [2] - great porcini flavor, but not very good texture, with asparagus (green & white) bits and crimini and salsify, all in pumpkin sauce. This dish had autumn written all over it.

A main course of veal liver in veal jus featured the best piece of veal liver I've ever had, but another main - veal fillet with caramelized carrots (and other vegetables) was overcooked and flavorless.

A small selection of good cheeses - bouc emissaire, riopelle, etorki petit basque, fourme d'ambet, cap rond and for dessert - poached (perfectly) pear with aged cheddar ice cream and sable breton.

Including a 2001 Crozes Hermitage (G.Robin, CAD65, very strong bacon/rotting fat aroma, but in a good way) from the very short wine list and two aperitifs, the total was a very reasonable CAD313

Definitely recommended for your next trip to Montreal.

[1] In general, the lack of busboys in restaurnats here is a blessing
[2] Ordering this as a main dish, regardless of the fact that it's vegetarian, would possibly leave the diner very hungry

sandwiches that are large and filling and do not contain tuna or prawns


#17 beachfan

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Posted 03 October 2004 - 12:49 AM

Great review!

I'm going in November for 4 nights, need 4 choices.

So far :

Les Chevres
Au Pied au Cochon

Any recommendations on a less expensive option that I could take a bunch of junior associates too? And I need one more super place; can't tell if Toque is uniformly recommended.

#18 omnivorette

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Posted 03 October 2004 - 05:10 AM

My goodness Orik, you went to a restaurant with a "philosophy" and you lived to tell the tale! :D

Glad you liked it.
"It seems a positively Quixotic quest to defend food from being used as any kind of social signifier, as if it could avoid the fate of each other component of our everyday lives." -Wilfrid

#19 Steve

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Posted 03 October 2004 - 03:53 PM

Orik, the goat thing is because 'Les Chevres' is the french word for 'goats.' I wonder how would you rank Les Chevres with the top restaurants in NYC? You didn't try any of their desserts? Les Chevres has arguably the best pastry chef in Montreal with Patrice Demers.

If you don't mind me asking, which Montreal hotel are you staying at?

#20 Steve

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Posted 03 October 2004 - 03:58 PM

Any recommendations on a less expensive option that I could take a bunch of junior associates too?  And I need one more super place; can't tell if Toque is uniformly recommended.

Could you elaborate? Are you looking for fine dining setting, that's not too expensive? Or more downscale?

#21 Orik

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Posted 04 October 2004 - 02:05 AM

Au Pied au Cochon

Any recommendations on a less expensive option that I could take a bunch of junior associates too? And I need one more super place; can't tell if Toque is uniformly recommended.

Well, I was quite surprised at how inexpensive APDC was without the seafood platter. Dinner for two, including a CAD90 bottle of Cahors, was CAD170 before tax, including several Cromesquis (sp?) of foie gras, a smkoed herring 'cake' (clotted cream, shredded herring, potatoes), a plate of sausages and pates, their Pied de Cochon (a huge cut, barely managable by one person, although not nearly as large as the version stuffed with foie gras), lamb shank confit and desserts. You could easily eat a full meal there for CAD35 for food. We had to skip boudin noir, Deer liver, Deer kidneys and many other great sounding dishes for lack of capacity :D

I'm not sure about Toque, I've seen mixed reviews. I'll write about La Chronique tomorrow.

sandwiches that are large and filling and do not contain tuna or prawns


#22 Orik

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Posted 04 October 2004 - 02:06 AM

My goodness Orik, you went to a restaurant with a "philosophy" and you lived to tell the tale! :D

Glad you liked it.

Well, considering they have foie gras, veal and fish on the menu, I thought they've compromised their 'philosophy' enough to support good cuisine. :huh:

sandwiches that are large and filling and do not contain tuna or prawns


#23 cabrales

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Posted 04 October 2004 - 02:16 AM

Toque! is the only restaurant I have dined at in Montreal. It was somewhat disappointing, just like almost every restaurant I go to in North America. I doubt I would want to visit again, unless someone were to advise it has improved significantly.

Definitely not as strong as Lumiere in Vancouver, although Lumiere had its flaws when I revisited recently for the Tomatoes celebration menu (Orik -- guess what the dessert was? no need to discuss it here, but you know).

#24 rozrapp

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Posted 04 October 2004 - 03:54 AM

I'm going in November for 4 nights, need 4 choices.

So far :

Les Chevres
Au Pied au Cochon

Any recommendations on a less expensive option that I could take a bunch of junior associates too?  And I need one more super place; can't tell if Toque is uniformly recommended.

Lemeac, a big, bustling French bistro, on Laurier Ouest, might be a good spot for your less expensive option. We had dinner there in August, and the food was terrific.

When were at Toque! two years ago, we had the tasting dinner and thought it was superb in every respect. However, since their move at the end of last year, I've heard mixed reports about the food.

#25 Orik

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Posted 04 October 2004 - 11:39 AM

(Orik -- guess what the dessert was?  no need to discuss it here, but you know).

did it contain 12 spices or so?

Speaking of tomato, the Quebec tomatoes are surprisingly good - the closest to Italian tomato I've tasted in North America, although the don't look like a convoluted Zebra and do not pretend to be anyone's heirloom. There's a shop dedicated to local tomato products - La Tomate and it being near the end of the season, many places offer their own tomato sauces and ketchups, not surprising given that tomatoes in the green market cost as little as 6 loonies for 30 pounds:

Posted Image

Going to Marche Jean-Talon again reminded me of the shit that New York greenmarkets are. There were beautiful tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, haricots, berries, giant cabbages and cauliflower and other fruits and vegetables selling for about between a half and a quarter of the prices in Union Square.

There was even a demonstration to improve the nyc markets (not really):

Posted Image

beachfan -- thinking about what you wrote in the past about food preferences, I think you'll dislike APDC. Another idea for less expensive dining is one of the many BYO (called AVV) restaurants - I'm not sure which one is considered the best and I've read that some of them feature less traditional menus, but here's a typical one:

Posted Image

Also, an article from one of the free local newspapers lists some places to get offal, horse meat, etc. (very easy really, offal is on the menu nearly everywhere and the second butcher I saw had horse meat):

http://www.hour.ca/f...iIDArticle=4306

sandwiches that are large and filling and do not contain tuna or prawns


#26 Orik

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Posted 04 October 2004 - 02:24 PM

La Chronique reminded me of a more successful version of Sandor's (a place in Florida run by a Hungarian chef, lauded by Steven Shaw for no apparent reason). It was all solid European cooking, served at prices that were very high for Montreal (although not above average for the US) with service that was faux-professional - our waiter recited the entire menu without providing any detail that was not in writing, while the somellier, following some discussion of Burgundies, steered us to a very mediocre Cali Pinot Noir (Marimar Torres 2001, CAD120).

For appetizers, we had foie gras with pain d'epices and white peaches, which was extremely sweet, a good dish of Nova Scotia lobster served in a puff pastry shell (similar to the way veal with mushrooms is clasically served, I am blanking out on the name for this preparation).

A main course of sweetbreads, roasted/grilled whole, served on an intensely veal flavored risotto with bits of foie gras was very good, while cod in caper and olive sauce on potatoes was well prepared, but not too interesting to eat.

I didn't note what was included in the cheese course.

Desserts - molten chocolate cake

The weekend menu is organized as a mock prix fixe of CAD65 (that is, there's a baseline price but nearly every choice carries an additional charge). There's also a tasting menu, offered with wine pairings. During weekdays, dishes are available a la carte.

sandwiches that are large and filling and do not contain tuna or prawns


#27 Orik

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Posted 04 October 2004 - 02:51 PM

If you don't mind me asking, which Montreal hotel are you staying at?

We stayed at a B&B in Plateau Mont-Royal, which is what I'd recommend to anyone that's not particularly finicky about their accomodations. While most tourist guides will try to have you stay Downtown, I don't recommend doing the same, unless you want to experience the more midwestern aspects of this French Invasion of North America.

sandwiches that are large and filling and do not contain tuna or prawns


#28 Steve

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Posted 04 October 2004 - 02:58 PM

BTW, most of the B&B establishments in Montreal are located in Plateau Montreal(that's what my long-time travel agent friend told me not too long ago).

#29 Steve

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Posted 04 October 2004 - 03:16 PM

Sorry my memory is a little off. Most of the B&B are a little south of Plateau Montreal. This is the east end of Montreal.

#30 omnivorette

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Posted 04 October 2004 - 03:22 PM

Beachfan: We ate at a pretty casual place in the old port section where we liked the food - it's very Quebequois - it has a little gourmet food shop in the front - I can't remember the name - Steve, do you know what I"m talking about?
"It seems a positively Quixotic quest to defend food from being used as any kind of social signifier, as if it could avoid the fate of each other component of our everyday lives." -Wilfrid