Sunday, November 14, 2010

Brunch at Chien Fumant

Brunch is THE thing now. Every foodie sites talks about it.  Marshall and Lily from HIMYM do it every weekend. For sure, we had to follow the trend, don't we?

Brunching usually occurs on weekends, especially sunday, from 9AM to 3PM.  It it the perfect occasion for a girly get-together or a fun and relaxing date or even a family activity.  Consisting of mostly breakfast on the menu, some restaurants go beyond and offers creative dishes that mixes sweet and savoury while keeping in mind the concept of brunching.

Thus, I've found a new partner in crime to investigate further.  Also a passionate foodie, my friend had traveled to numerous places and tried the weirdest things! He suggested this restaurant to me since one of his friends work there. Le Chien Fumant, just by the name, I can only imagine the food they serve.... mmmmmmmmm!

The restaurant is located on the Plateau Mont-Royal carefully hidden on De Lanaudière street.  The place is super cozy and the kitchen is opened to everyone.  I love the concept that the customer can see, smell and hear what happens behind the scene. 

It turns out that every last sunday of the month, there is a theme to the Brunch. On the day that we went, spooky Halloween, it was Dim Sum.  Dim Sum is the Chinese kind of Brunch.  Every weekend, Chinese will gather around a big round table and order small plates from the carts that the waitresses push around the restaurant.  Everyone share and eat from the same dishes and it is great to try different things at the same time!  Going from dumplings, to vegetarian dishes to buns, the choice can easily satisfy anyone.

To tell you the truth, I was a bit disappointed that it was Dim Sum day since I was really expecting typical Quebecer dishes.  I am fairly critical when it comes to Asian food, especially when it is not made by Asians.  My mom makes the best asian food there is! (I know, moms are always the best cooks!) But I remain objective here, who knows? I can be pleasantly surprised.

The menu is written on a blackboard.  We decided to chose a variety of items to test everything out. While waiting for our plates to come in, I ordered a soft drink and it came with a stainless steel straw.  I really found it interesting, it kept my drink cold during the entire meal.

We started off with Pekin Roast Duck, priced at 12$, which is very reasonable given restaurants usually charge 30$.  In traditional restaurants, Pekin Duck is a delicacy as it takes numerous exhaustive hours to achieve perfection.  We mostly crave for the thin and crispy skin and it's served with a little bit of meat, pancakes, green onions and hoisin sauce.  The version of Chien Fumant  featured a duck leg with two pancakes, coriander, bean sprouts, green onions, hoisin sauce and chili.  The duck unfortunately lacked the crispiness of the authentic thing and the meat was somehow dry. I appreciated the effort of the homemade pancakes which is quite a challenge as it requires it to be light, thin and fluffy.  Their pancakes' formula surprisingly tasted very good but were too thick.

We also ordered some pot stickers as well as steamed dumplings.  Pot stickers are basically dumplings that are cooked on a skillet to provide the desired sticky and crisp texture of the dough.   The mixture in the pot stickers missed flavors and were bland.  The steamed dumplings however had more punch. My friend even described the aroma as that of black licorice.  The shrimp dumplings had very strong 'fishy' notes though.

The Lap Cheong 'en croute' really intrigued me.  Lap Cheong is a chinese dried sausage that has some sweet notes to it. Usually cut in slices and fried on a skillet until the skin is brown and delivers a sweet and meaty aroma, Lap Cheong are often added to fried rice.  Here, they've wrapped the sausage with a caramelized bun.  The bun by itself was fluffy and had the right amount of yeasty flavor to it.  It was a also visually appealing.  However, paired with the sausage, the combination created a heavy result.  It would have needed a fresh maybe picked vegetables to balance it out.

We also chose the pig ears salad.  Personally, I did like it a lot.  The pig ears were perfectly cooked and crunchy.  The zucchinis, green onions and coriander with the drizzle of an acidic dressing complemented well the flavor of the pork.  We would have liked a little bit more dressing to enhance the overall dish though.

Finally, the house had the courtesy to offer us BBQ pork buns.  They were wrapped in the same pancakes as the Roasted Pekin Duck dish.  The pork tasted exactly the like the BBQ pork I would buy in Chinatown and had the crispy roasted bits I love on the sides :)  But their choice of garnishing was not ideal as the sourness of the pickled vegetable overpowered the sweet and delicate BBQ sauce.

Again, I might sound harsh in this review but I am Chinese after all, what do you expect? The customers around us seemed very much satisfied with their meal.  I must say I will return to Chien Fumant without a doubt as their regular menu offers more than interesting choices! They even have a mug made out of bacon and filled with gravy! I mean come on! Who wouldn't be curious about it? And their take on meat is the dream to every carnivore out there! And I am positive that their regular brunch must be tasty enough to figure on the Montreal Brunch and Breakfast Reviews website.  

Click here for a review on their regular menu :)

Le Chien Fumant
4710, rue de Lanaudière
H2J 3P7

Le Chien Fumant on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Laloux - Oh la la French Cuisine

My circle of foodies grew significantly larger since i've been working in the field. I am fortunate to have hungry epicurians around me to try different restaurants to satisfy our taste buds :) This week, i went with fellow colleagues to a French restaurant opened since the 1980's: Restaurant Laloux. There have been many changes in the staff since the last years. Despite the departure of Marc-André Jetté, Danny St-Pierre and Patrice Demers, Le Laloux still kept the quality and authenticity of his dishes. Demers did, however, leave his trace with his infamous chocolate pot de crème :)
My friends are fine connaisseurs of restaurants. One of them is from Chicago, the greatest city there is for a foodie. He knows his stuff; he seeks out the best of the best and is not afraid to try funky food! Love that spirit! His palate is very refined as he did his graduate studies in sensory. My other friend is a jet-setter! She lived in amazing parts of Montreal and knows every high-end restaurant there is! She really tried everything! Her curriculum of restaurants is impressive :) Thus, i am in good company!

The menu changes daily, which I appreciate a lot since they use fresh local produce. They also use Ocean Wise Sustainable seafood product which means that the species served are not in danger of extinction. We decided to select the tasting menu which was priced very reasonably: 55$ or 85$ with wine pairing. Wine pairing is usually a rip-off and we thought choosing a bottle will be wiser. We chose a light red wine: Petit Taureau from Padié, Côtes du Roussillon.
We started with an amuse bouche consisting of fried veal sweetbreads, duck jerky and cranberry jelly. Although the combination of texture from the three items were interesting, we found the duck jerky too salty and didn't complement well with the sweetbreads. There were also a bit too much jelly thus making the overall dish too acidic.

First appetizer: Smoked black cod with apple julienne, caviar and aioli sauce. That dish was breathtaking! Wow!!!!!! The black cod (my fav!) was cooked perfectly, detached easily and had its distinct sweet buttery tasted with a hint of smoke, just enough. The apple added the right amount of crisp and acidity whereas the caviar pleasantly burst in the mouth. It was a party in the mouth! Love love love love!

Second appetizer: we had the choice of blood sausage or Foie gras terrine. We took one of each. The presentation of Foie gras was astounding and they did an awesome job playing with colors, texture and taste. The foie gras by itself was au torchon and melted in the mouth releasing its nutty flavor with a hint of cider. It was paired with candied figs, croutons and skinless hazelnuts. The portion was huge! The blood sausage on the other hand was more sober. The spices were perfectly balanced and the clementine, parsley and puree (unknown sweet substance) lightened up perfectly the dish. Highly satisfied!

Entree: Veal cooked in olive oil on a bed of acorn squash puree, everything topped with tender pieces of beef in a meaty sauce. The veal was incredibly tender, i suspect that it was cooked under vacuum. The taste of this lean meat was clean and delicate. I must say i found the addition of another meat weird in this already very meaty dish. The beef overpowers a little the veal. But overall, it wasn't bad but not our favorite.

Dessert: The dessert in the tasting menu was Peach Tatin with a square of homemade nougat. However, I HAD to taste the chocolate Pot de Crème and they didnt charged me additional fees :) It is featured as Montreal's 10 best desserts! This dish came in a cute marinade glass jar with a lid. In layers, dark and rich chocolate, crunch clusters, caramel with Maldon salt. The creaminess of the chocolate and caramel creams contrasting with the crunchiness of the clusters was a perfect harmony! The dish of my friends was also very good! Their peach tatin was made of a poached peach over layers of buttery crispy base along with a good piece of creamy nougat. The peach was just warm out of the oven and had just the right balance of sweetness. According to my friend: '' [The nougat] was smooth and silky, not too firm or soft. Very delicate flavor that let the roasted hazelnuts (more of them!) shine.'' How professional is that, heh?

Mignardises: We each had four bite-sized desserts, or petits fours, to end our meal beautifully. We had sesame cookies which had a very flavorful and nutty aroma. Then, there were some wannabe oreos which were very a better version of the real thing. Its icing was suprisingly similar to our beloved licking good one. Then, the favorite of our jet-setter was the fruit jelly which had subtle aroma of green tea, apricot and ginger. It was also incredibly soft. Finally, there were some homemade taffy which had a strong caramelized flavor and perfectly sticky :)

Overall, we were very pleased with the meal and will definitely come back. Thumbs up to chef Seth Gabrielse and pastry chef Michelle Marek!!! The decor was simple and classic. The music and lighting were appropriate for an optimal dining experience. I highly recommends this restaurant :)

250, avenue des Pins Est
Montréal Québec
H2W 1P3
T: 514 287-9127

Laloux on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Culinary Roadtrip - City of Quebec!

Working and studying in the world of food is the best thing that can happen to any foodie. We are surrounded by knowledgeable and passionate peers that are always more than glad to transmit their contagion! During my school year, I was fortunate enough to meet a fellow classmate that had loads of experience in some of the most known restaurants in Quebec and some more in Europe. He was an amazing connection to infamous chefs and was himself an encyclopedia in the world of restaurants.

Thus, i decided to pay him a visit with a good friend of mine last summer. At the same time, the Festival D'Été de Québec was taking place where artists such as Black Eyed Peas, Rammstein and Billy Talent entertain thousands and thousands of fans. In our three hours drive to Quebec, we familiarized ourselves with their hits to be able to sing along with everyone once we were there :)

The concert of the BEP was absolutely crazy!!!! Over 100 000 persons invaded the Plains of Abraham! We were screaming our lungs out and dancing the night away along with all these energetic spectators. Needless to say, we slept like babies that night. We were pleasantly awoken with the smell of fresh pastries and robust coffee aroma that our host kindly prepared for us :) And on it started! our foodie journey in the wonderful streets of Quebec city!

We stopped at a fine chocolate shop, Champagne Chocolatier, where we bought some exotic truffles to excite our taste buds! We tried Porto, Chili, Goat and Basil, Caramel au Fleur de Sel and finally Whiskey. Goat and Basil was definitely the most surprising in terms of flavor. The unexpected grassy taste of Goat cheese combined with the fresh and minty notes of Basil complemented marvelously the dark chocolate.

While strolling the streets towards the Festival, we stopped at the old Port where a local market was situated. Heaven on earth! I just love these kind of places. If it was for me, i will spend my whole days just to visit and slowly look at every single products in these markets! We found a spice shop where flavors from every culture met! On one end of the shop were a whole wall of spices! Every spice you can imagine from every corner of the world! It was sooooo exciting!

There was also the smoked house Atkins at the market! They are known for their smoked salmon and other fish and seafoods. We were seduced by the smoked trout, the salmon carpaccio, the gravlax and seal rillettes. Seal is a very controversial meat and I admit that I did felt bad eating it. But at the same time, as a foodie, I had to try it. And the mouthfeel was so pleasant! Wow! It was smooth and had the right bite to it. Its dark red color is surprising and the taste is similar to that of red meat but much more flavorful. The seasoning was perfectly balanced. I was extremely satisfied with my first experience!

The rest of the day was without much artifice in terms of food. Not the same can be said for the day after!!!! My oh my was my tummy happy :) We started the day with a brunch at the Clocher Penché, a block away from where we were staying. The atmosphere was relaxed, perfect for a Sunday morning. Included with each dish was a bowl of Café au Lait and a verrine made of mango and watermelon yogurt with citrus croutons. Fresh and delish! My friend ordered Le Seigneur des Anneaux which consisted of lamb parmentier (french dish made of mashed potatoes and meat) with old cheddar, a runny egg, mushrooms braised in the lamb's juice over a grilled bagel with a herbed butter spread. Triple wow for that dish! Every single item were bursting of flavor, it was unbelievable! The mashed potatoes had the right amount of creaminess and paired amazingly with the juicy lamb. I am literally salivating just thinking about it.... haaaaaaaaa! I ordered the Odeur de Sainteté: aragula, crystallized tomatoes, vegetarian pâté, eggs, tomme des grosse îles (amazing non-pasteurized soft cheese) on a crispy olive bread served with savourous fried potatoes. Even though the dish was good and fresh, i found it quite bland compared to the dish of my friend. It did not particularly impressed me but it is a very good choice for someone looking for a healthy or vegetarian choice.

Our beloved friend then had the courtesy to reserve us a spot for dinner at the most requested table in Quebec city: Le St-Amour. Celebrities from around the world such as Alicia Keys stopped at this destination for a bite. We were quite honored to have the opportunity to taste the work of Chef Jean Luc Boulay. We let the expertise of our friend who worked there and let them design our menu :)

We first started with the trilogy of mise en bouche. That included a blini topped with caviar, a raw oyster with citrus espuma, and wild sockeye salmon with caviar. We then proceeded with a declination of foie gras: seven different ways to cook and present the meat. It was truly impressive, they did a brilliant job to showcase the quality and versatility of the foie gras. Unfortunately, my memory is playing games, i only remember a few descriptions namely pyramid of foie gras, foie gras macaroon with fig puree, foie gras with blueberry dust, foie gras tiramisu and i believe there was the traditional foie gras au torchon and i forgot the others... i'm sorry... I then ordered the giant shrimps and they were seriously GIANT!!! I had to take three bites to finish each. They were vacuum cooked in espelette pepper which gave enough of a kick and were paired with fresh and crispy salad in chilled fennel soup. Miam!!!

As entrée, I chose the veal sweetbreads and wild shrimps. Mmmmmm... Very hearty meal, perfect for wintery and cold nights. The side dishes were very original! Interesting twist to a classic: roasted butternut squash gnocchis! Also served with Swiss chard stems and leaves dome, morrel mushrooms swimming in Samos Muscat creamed juices. Although extremely satisfying and full of complex flavors, i found the dish too salty and the sweetbreads were a little on the chewy side. On the other hand, my friend's dish completely blew my mind!!! The downright stunning Gaspé lobster was the best piece of meat from the sea that I have ever eaten! The combination of spices and herbs they've used, OMG! It brought out the sweetness of the lobster while underlining the freshness of the sea. I am not sure but I think I also detected hints of saffron in the sauce too. I am astounded by the awesomeness of this plate! WOW! And the finale: L'Inspiration - seven ways to present the world's best péché - CHOCOLATE!!! Again, I will try my best to describe what I can remember: so we had a chocolate creme brulée, a chocolate sherbet, a chocolate macaroon, a chocolate mousse, a truffle made with fizzy sugar, etc. This assortment of sweets clearly demonstrates the talents of pastry chef Eric Lessard. The techniques required to accomplish some of these desserts are of high expertise! Dangerous addiction to any chocolate lover out there :)

All in all, the meal highly met our expectations. I must say that we were very fortunate to be accompanied by someone who knew all the staff of the restaurant and knew well the best recommendations. Given the price of the menu, it may not be affordable to all to have a six courses meal but one should at least try their declination platter. It is well worth the money when such a great variety can be tasted in a single dish :)

My trip to Quebec was fulfilled of good eats and great company! Couldn't have asked for more! Stay tuned for further yummy reads!

Le Clocher Penché
203, rue Saint-Joseph Est
Québec (Qc) G1K 3B1

Restaurant Le St-Amour

Restaurant Le Saint-Amour
48, rue Sainte-Ursule, Vieux-Québec
Québec (Québec) G1R 4E2

Tél.: 418 694-0667
Fax.: 418 694-0967

Café Clocher Penché on Urbanspoon

Le Saint-Amour on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mission Apollo Accomplie! Services 3 et 4


Troisième service: gibier
. Un repas n'est pas un repas sans viande rouge ;) Nous sommes
tous deux carnivores alors le choix du gibier était quasi évident. L'autre choix sur lequel on penchait était le spécial du mois: Casablanca. Chaque mois, ils choisissent un pays différent pour laisser à la découverte culturelle. Malgré que le choix du Maroc comportait des choix extrêmement intéressant comme le traditionnel couscous ainsi que quelques fruits de mers, nous étions déçus qu'ils n'incluent pas l'agneau. Nous sommes donc allés avec un choix safe.

Alors donc: Mijoté de cerf avec compote d'agrumes, hachis parmentier de gibiers assortis, steak de bison avec sauce tomatée, tranches d'autruche mi-saignant. Le cerf était extrêmement goûteux. Tendre, effilochable facilement à la fourchette, le goût sauvage de la bête ressortait avec l'accompagnement acidulé. Le cerf est un animal relativement maigre ce qui résulte souvent en une viande résistante. J'ai donc été relativement impressionnée par ce plat. Le hachis était phénoménal! La pomme de terre était d'une consistance tellement mais tellement onctueuse! Wow! Le mélange de différentes saveurs et textures de chaque animal est intéressant. Cependant, la sauce très rehaussée nous empêche d'identifier proprement les espèces dans ce petit plat. Le steak de bison m'a beaucoup déçue par exemple. Mes expériences antérieures du bison ont trop haussé mes attentes j'imagine. J'ai toujours eu droit à une pièce qui fond dans la bouche avec un goût boisée et fumée subtil. Le goût y était et la sauce tomatée venait bien l'agrémenter. Par contre la texture laissait à désirer. La tomate séchée servant de garniture jouait davantage dans l'esthétique que dans la saveur. Finalement, la viande d'autruche était d'une tendreté exceptionnelle. Par contre, il y avait un goût de fer un peu trop proéminent.

Malgré la grosseur de notre repas, nous tenons absolument à essayer les desserts. J'opte pour l'inspiration du moment alors que mon ami choisit les crèmes brûlés. La présentation était absolument époustouflante! Pour mon plat, on pouvait compter entre autres, le macaron double chocolat, un litchi frit, une crème de pistache avec un granola maison et un 'bounty' façon apollo (comme la bar de chocolat!). Personellement, les macarons ne m'ont jamais vraiment allumés. Oui, c'est beau comme tout, il y a des belles couleurs, une panoplie de possibilités au niveau des saveurs et bla bla bli! Mais c'est tellement trop sucré! Et le sucre cache tout le goût des autres arômes. Mais bon, c'est mon opinion personnel. Dans ce cas-ci, le macaron était bon, mais sans plus. Le litchi... oh la la! Quel catastrophe!!! Le litchi est tellement un beau fruit avec un bon petit goût frais, fruité et doux... pourquoi mais pourquoi le frire? Je n'ai vraiment pas aimé. La friture emportait sur la subtilité du litchi et n'était pas du tout approprié pour ce fruit délicat. La mousse de pistache, quant à elle, a performé avec brio parmi la sélection de desserts. Bien velouté, le parfum particulier de la pistache marié avec le croquant du muesli créait le duo parfait. Finalement, le 'bounty' s'apparentait vraiment à la vraie chose! Très sucré par exemple! Mais ça tient la promesse!

Quant aux crèmes brûlées, elles ont bien livré la qualité je dois dire! Encore une fois, ils les ont décliné en quatre saveurs: café, thé chaï, fèves dont j'ai oublié le nom, et vanille de madagascar. Bien crémeuses, la couche de sucre était parfaitement caramélisée et le goût subtil des saveurs ajoutées venait rajouter une touche pour une belle finition. C'est dommage que je ne me souviens plus de celui avec les fèves, c'était mon préféré. Shame on me! Un de mes fidèles lecteurs suggère que la fève soit la fève Tonka, souvent utilisée dans les desserts et dénotant un goût de vanille! Merci Stéphane!

Bref, j'ai absolument adoré mon expérience. Le service était absolument impeccable. Le serveur était courtois et très patient. Les détails des repas ne figurant pas sur le menu, je me suis retrouvée à lui demander à maintes reprises la composition de chaque plat. Et à chaque fois, il me les répétait avec un gros sourire sincère! Love it! On ne s'est pas senti pressé malgré qu'on a passé quelques heures à table. J'y retournerais définitivement pour essayer le thème du mois ainsi que leurs autres sélections. Cependant, je m'assurerai de me limiter à deux services. Trois, c'était un peu trop. Et beaucoup trop de saveurs à assimiler en ces quelques heures. Côté prix, puisque c'était un 'apportez-votre-vin', la facture était beaucoup moins salée que prévue.

Somme toute, j'approuve :)

6389, boul. St-Laurent

APOLLO, le Restaurant apporter votre vin on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Burger quest. Stop no 4: Buns!

Sometimes, the smallest and most unexpected place is the best. Here is the perfect example: well hidden between two shops on Ste-Catherine and sharing the place with a ice cream shop and a sandwich place is Buns! The guy behind the counter looks like someone you don't want to mess with, tattoos all over the body, facial hair reaching his chest, with some flip flops! I know that it is wrong to assume anything from him but it just makes our trip more fun by doing so! For those who watched 'How I Met Your Mother', the place reminds me exactly of where Marshall went to. And I was expecting an orgasm when bitting into my burger! Did I have one? He he, read along!

The menu is simple, you have hamburgers, fries and soft drinks. All taxes included and the extra cheese is free!!! We ordered the hamburger all dressed (tomatoes, lettuce, onions, pickle, ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise). He served it wrapped in checkered paper which was put in a brown paper bag.

Well installed on the stairs in the 'Quartier des Spectacle' during the Jazz Festival of Montreal, we excitedly revealed the mouthwatering hamburger from its little paper. Mmmmmm, by cooking the pattie on the charcoal, it gave the perfect amount of smokiness and provided a certain crispiness to the edges of the meat. And must I say, the ingredients were perfectly balanced. For once! The pickle was the best part! Miam miam miam! Did we found the perfect burger? I am not sure I want to say that yet since it is only our 4th destination but I will give a 9 on 10. I would have liked more pickles :) Hi hi hi hi! Stay tuned for the next burger stop!!!

Buns Hamburgers
1855 Rue Sainte Catherine Ouest, Montréal, QC(514) 303-8889
Buns Hamburger House on Urbanspoon

Burger quest. Stop no 3: Frites Alors!

I know, I know... Isn't Frites Alors a place to eat fries? Why would you go there to find the perfect burger? Oh well, indeed, their fries are yummy with their wide selections of sauces but I've also read a few foodie blogs which claimed that this restaurant also served some delish hamburgers!

Off we go! We have decided to establish some ground rules from now on when evaluating an hamburger. First, we order an ordinary hamburger with simple garnish, nothing special. And if there is an interesting and intriguing choice available on the menu, we may pamper ourselves a little ;)

So the regular hamburger has mustard, red onions as well a few lettuce leaves. The mustard is kind of overwhelming and overpowers the whole thing! Now... the pattie... oh god... where to begin. It's dry and seriously taste like frozen. It was not cooked well enough and was still pink. Very deceiving. At least, the choice of bread did help a little. They choose to use ciabatta which added some texture.

As for our 'special' choice, we chose pear and blue
cheese. Extremely interesting combination. Also served on a ciabatta bread, the pears were super juicy and balanced perfectly the creaminess and saltiness of the blue cheese. We also agreed that the texture and taste of these canned pears were a better match with the cheese than fresh ones. Downside, the waitress did not know which blue cheese has been used... hmmm. Overall, a recipe to reproduce at home with a real pattie!

Stay tuned for our next stop: Buns!

Frites Alors!
refer to the site for address and contact info

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mission Apollo Accomplie! Services 1 et 2

Depuis le temps que j'en parle! Finalement! C'est le moment ou jamais de l'essayer! Nouvelle job de rêve. Graduation. De quoi célébrer quoi!

Mon rêve! Apollo!!! Le fameux restaurant du réputé Giovanni Apollo!!! Un des rares chefs au Québec à exercer la cuisine moléculaire dans l'île de Montréal. Cependant, attendez-vous pas à un spectacle avec un nuage d'azote ou encore des billes multicolores. Non, non. Chef Apollo démontre ses connaissances scientifiques de la nourriture d'une autre façon. Le mariage des
saveurs, le jeu des textures et l'agencement des ingrédients de différentes couleurs se font harmonieusement tout en gardant une subtilité. Il sait nous impressionner par la qualité de ses mets sans aucun tralala.

Le concept est simple. Il y a pas de menu entrées ou plat principal. Ce dernier est écrit en thèmes sur un tableau noir. Chaque thème, dont foie gras, gibier et basse-cour entre autres, se décline en trois ou quatres présentations dans le même plat. C'est fort intéressant de voir toutes
les différentes techniques qui peuvent s'appliquer sur un seul ingrédient. Également, le restaurant est un 'apportez votre vin'. Bonne nouvelles pour les amateurs qui veulent choisir leur propre alcohol sans dépenser les yeux de la tête! Dans notre cas, mon ami, grand connaisseur des vins, a opté pour le St-Clair Sauvignon blanc 2009 et le Celeste Ribera del Duero 2007.

Le souper commence donc avec des amuses-bouches: des bouchées de crabes froides et sucrées. Vraiment adorablement servis sur des petites cuillères avec une pétale de fleur sur chaque! C'est une explosion de saveurs et de textures étonnantes! Tantôt sucrées, tantôt aigres, dénotées par une touche de vanille, ces petites boules regorgeaient de surprises du début à la fin!

Je vous avertis d'avance, le souper a duré 5 heures. Il y avait 20 plats en tout. C'était intense. Mais vraiment intense. Mais ça a vraiment valu la peine! En bonne compagnie, du bon vin, de la bonne bouffe, quoi demander de plus?

Donc, premier service: foie gras. Malgré la réticence de mon ami face au foie gras dû à une récente surconsommation, le serveur a néanmoins réussi à le convaincre. Une chance! Dans le sens horaire à partir du plat au coin inférieur gauche: Gâteau de carottes, tiramisu de foie gras, poelée de foie gras avec sirop de vinaigre balsamique et fraise avec un yogurt à l'estragon servi dans une pipette, semi cuit de foie gras mi cuit avec une compote de rhubarbe et d'olives. Au milieu: une salade de carottes et de panais arrosée d'une vinaigrette de sésame.

Le gâteau de carotte était marqué d'un goût de beurre éminent. Le tout reposé sur une salade de juliennes de carottes et d'une gelée de carotte. Jeu de texture encore une fois mais le goût de la racine est un peu caché par le beurre. Le prochain plat combine d'une façon inattendue le café et le foie gras. Dans une expérience précédente, je trouvais que le café était trop fort pour le goût délicat du foie gras. Dans le cas d'Apollo, ils ont su mélanger habilement l'arôme de café au goût de noisette du foie gras créant ainsi un dessert sortant agréablement de l'ordinaire. Je percevais également un arrière goût de chèvre lorsque ces deux ingrédients sont combinés. Le troisième plat est de loin mon préféré de l'ensemble! Le foie gras était servi en escalope laissant place à une texture plus rapprochée de la viande si on peut dire. Le goût caramalisé de la surface de l'organe était rehaussé par la fraise et le vinaigre balsamique. La touche finale du yogurt confère ne conclusion parfaite. Finalement, l'onctuosité du foie gras pour le dernier plat caressait le palais alors que le croquant de la rhubarbe venait apporter un contraste intéressant. Au niveau du goût, la combinaison sucré, salé, acidulé était définitivement gagnante.

Deuxième service: Fruits de mer! Très impressionant! Encore une fois dans le sens horaire à partir du coin inférieur gauche: pétoncle saisie garni de corail de homard sur lit de risotto aux petits pois, homard avec sauce au safran sur une purée onctueuse d'une racine qu'on a pas réussi à identifier, salade froide de pétoncles crues et de portobellos, sushis de thon et saumon légèrement panés avec sauce au citron et oignon vert.

La pétoncle est juteuse à souhait et le caramélisé ajoute un petit côté croquant. Le risotto est bien crémeux tout en gardant une certaine résistance sous la dent démontrant le côté al dente du riz. Cependant, je trouvais que le fromage n'était pas bien fondu et laissait un peu de grumeaux en fin de bouchée. Mais bref, petit détail. La superposition des différentes saveurs est intéressante mais sans plus. Le prochain plat: wow! Double wow!!!! De un, comment ils ont réussi à démanteler le homard pour être capable d'en sortir indemne chacune des pattes, je l'ignore mais c'est très impressionant! De deux, l'explosion de saveurs est indescriptible!!! Malgré que le serveur insistait sur le fait qu'il n'y avait pas d'aneth, ce plat en goûtait définitivement! La saveur du homard était prédominante et les accompagnements jouaient parfaitement leur rôles: rehaussaient bien le goût sans en voler la vedette! La tomate cerise avait un goût étonnament anisé! J'ai absolument adoré l'ensemble du plat!!! La salade froide, tant qu'à elle dénotait d'une odeur de mer très forte. Les pétoncles n'étant pas cuite, s'apparentaient à la texture des moules. Bon mais pas mon favori. Finalement, les sushis au thon rouge et saumon étaient superbes. La fraîcheur des poissons avec la croustillante panure procuraient une merveilleuse sensation. Évidemment, la sauce citronnée venait bien couronner le tout.

Patientez un peu pour la suite du repas!!!

6389, boul. St-Laurent

APOLLO, le Restaurant apporter votre vin on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Au pied de cochon

J'en ai tant entendu parler. J'ai vu tant de photos. J'ai appris le menu par coeur et choisi ma sélection depuis des lunes. Le jour est finalement arrivé. Je m'en va manger au pied de cochon pour ma fête de 23 ans :) accompagné d'un groupe d'amis diversifié que j'apprécie énormément.

Je me suis assuré de réserver deux semaines à l'avance pour 15 personnes. Malheureusement, le maximum est de 10 personnes étant donné la taille du restaurant. Au jour J, on a un peu de peine et de misère à repérer la dite place. L'enseigne est aucunement évidente et le restaurant se fond un peu trop bien au décor. Dès qu'on franchit le seuil de la porte d'entrée, on est ensevri par la merveilleuse odeur de la viande. Hmmmmmmmm...

Le décor rappelle celle d'une cabane. Les murs sont garnis de bois et plusieurs clients s'installent au bar pour vivre l'expérience d'un autre angle. Quelque chose à essayer lorsqu'on est pas trop.

Alors, une fois tout le monde assis, on se lance dans la découverte du menu. Évidemment, j'avais déjà mon choix de fait! Tartare au boeuf comme entrée et le fameux pied de cochon farci au foie gras. Je vais m'abstenir de parler des repas des mes compagnons de table, on était douze quand même. Je vais vous laisser découvrir par vous même.

Le tartare! Wow! Double wow! M-A-L-A-D-E!!!! Servi en cône dans une feuille de nori, le plat était spectaculaire tant côté visuel que sensoriel. Ils ont introduit des frites juliennes avec le tartare ainsi qu'un oeuf de caille dans le simili sushi. Le boeuf était frais et parfaitement relevé. Les frites venaient rajouter du croustillant et l'oeuf était la touche parfaite pour amener tous les éléments ensembles. De loin, le meilleur tartare que j'ai goûté!!!


La pièce de résistance maintenant! Disons que quand j'ai vu le plat arriver, j'ai fait un saut! C'est géant!!! Mais géant!!! Assez pour 2-3 personnes je dirais même! Mais oh combien appétissant qu'il avait l'air! Oh la la!

Donc c'est un pied de cochon farci au foie gras arrosé d'une sauce foie gras. Intense vous dites? Ah! Essayer de le manger tout seule voir! Vous comprendrez à quel point que c'est vraiment intense! Mais je ne dis pas que c'est pas bon! Au contraire! C'est délectable! La combinaison de toutes ces saveurs riches et envoûtantes, ooooohhh! J'ai des frissons à y penser! C'est très très riche et satisfaisant je dirais. Le foie gras est cuit à souhait et vient rajouter un bon goût de noisette et de beurre au cochon. Par contre, il ne faut pas avoir peur de manger gras. Le pied de cochon consiste majoritairement de peau et de matières grasses. Étant une chinoise, je suis plus qu'habituée à m'exposer à des parties du corps animal souvent considérées inhabituelles. Mais je ne garantis pas que ce plat plairait à tout le monde. Étant entourée de mes amis nutritionnistes, il y a eu beaucoup de réactions je dirais! Mais bref, à quoi tu t'attends? Tu es au Pied de Cochon!!!

Le tout était reposé sur un lit d'oignons et de leur fameuse purée de pommes de terre. Cette dernière est tellement onctueuse. Ils mettent des fromages en grains pour venir jouer avec la texture et le goût. Très agréable! Mais encore une fois, ce plat est déconseillé à manger tout seul. Crise de coeur guarantie!

Il y a encore plusieurs plats que je veux absolument goûter! Le cromesquis de foie gras (un morceau de foie gras frit, donc il éclate dans la bouche lorqu'on le croque), la fameuse poutine au foie gras et le canard en conserve! Donc, j'y retourne à coup sûr mais je vais m'assurer d'y aller avec une gang de carnivores et je ne mangerais pas pendant trois jours. Je suivrai également une cure de désintox par la suite! Ou encore, je peux tout simplement contrôler mes portions.... nah! Impossible!!!!

Au Pied de Cochon on Urbanspoon