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
T: 514 287-9127