So, you go to the website, you choose your dishcrawl event: truckcrawl, dessert crawl, terrace crawl, lots and lots of amazing choices! Then, you subscribe and pay! All you know is the city in which you'll have the most awesome time of your life, the date and time. The rest is a mystery... until the day before the event! They will send you an email for the first location to meet the others... love the suspense!!!
Ours was in the beautiful city of Montreal where the reputation of good eats is growing like never before!
First stop: Marché 27!
This restaurant offers a tartare bar. Yes! You read it well! A tartare bar! A huge menu offering raw servings of 10 different kind of proteins seasoned in 13 creative ways! Perfect for the beginner that can choose the most conservative dish such as French or Italian beef Tartare or the most adventurous foodie that will explore the tropical deer tartare (mmm... maybe not the best combination!)
Our lovely host, Tracy Lee, designed the tasting in a way that all palates will be satisfied:
- Fresca tartare with salmon: Jalapenos, Cucumbers, Dill, Shallots and lime
- Italian tartare with deer: Parmesan, Truffle oil and shallots
- Indian tartare with duck: Curry oil, chives, shallots served on crispy papadum
The fresca salmon tartare was fresh and flavorful, the lime and shallots came out really well. However, the addition of jalapenos was not noticeable. The Italian deer tartare tasted very gamey and the truffle oil was very proeminent. The Indian duck tartare is the most surprising one I must say. The curry came through really well and complemented well the shallots and chives. The papadum added an interesting crunch to the whole. The only thing is that I thought that duck was a bit too oily for me. Interesting place to taste tartare but not the best I had.
2nd stop: Koko Restaurant and Bar
I've heard about this place a lot, but more as a lounge/bar than a restaurant. I am quite surprised of the elaborate menu they are offering on their website! The decor is pure and chic and the terrace is absolutely awesome with huge sitting areas. We are giving introductions by the owner and the Maitre D of the place, love it!
2 or 3 plates of each dish are brought to the table to be shared by all of us. The crab salad and asparagus was served with a piece of grilled prosciutto, cherry tomatoes and calabrese olives. It may sound crazy but I thought that the star of the dish was the prosciutto, it was so so crunchy and tasted like a much better version of bacon! The crab was fresh and well balanced with its friends on the plate. Then, they served a beautifully presented dish of tomato caprese and mozzarella di buffala. Drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, it was simple but their use of again fresh ingredients made the difference.
The marinated octopus a la plancha with potato salad and caper berries wowed some of us while disappointing others. Contrarily to what the texture of octopus is known for, we are astounded by the tenderness of the tentaculed beast. The method of cooking allowed the octobus to shine with its sweet flavor. And I was amazed by my first experience of caper berries, they looked like olives and tasted like capers. So cool! The jumbo grilled shrimp and scallop, fennel and aragula was good but I wasn't necessarily mesmerized by it. I appreciated the texture of the shrimp and scallop, they were well cooked. But the flavor of the salad was a little bland and was kind of a different entity on the plate and didn't match the seafood that well. Finally, the caponata, warm feta, mint and almond oil concluded well the meal. The pairing of caponata, Sicilian aubergine recipe, with the warm and salty feta was a very interesting combination of texture and flavor. And the condiments just enhanced the aromas of this dish nicely.
I must say I am surprised by what Koko can offer. Resto/clubs are usually not my fave, I imagine the very dim lighting and the overly loud music in these typical places are not helping.
3rd stop: La Fabrique, Annexe
Yeahhh!!! I am so glad to finally try this restaurant from Laurent Godbout! I must point out that it is the sister of the original La Fabrique. In order to accomodate parties and private events, La Fabrique Annexe offers its warm and cozy place while offering the same caliber food as its brother. The terrace is also opened for the general public. And I love the sharing philosophy! Everyone just dig in the same plate, as in a big family :)
Starting off with homemade pâté de campagne and sliced pickles in a jar. The presentation is stunning and I absolutely loooooooveee the jar! The pickles are acidic just enough to cut the fattyness of the meat.
Then, they presented us their version of Caesar salad. Personally, I loved it but I thought it was nothing close to the caesar salad. The dressing resembled that of a mustard-like one which was very strong and to the edge overpowering. They also added an extremely crunchy element that I was not able to identify. Pork belly maybe? Very flavorful but I still don't get why they call it that way. Their beef brisket carpaccio and tomatoes was yummy. Very tender, it just melted in my mouth. And the tomatoes exploded of juiciness!
The hit of the night is definitely their version of taboule salad with sesame pork. The taboule was made of barley, apricot, mint, raisins and cucumbers. The addition of the fruits was absolutely refreshing and added just the right hint of sweetness. The pork was wow! Soooo crunchy on the skin and the meat was tender and juicy. But one would have done well without the other. And guess what? They gave a huge jar of cotton candy to share! It was aaawweeeesssoooommmmeee!!!!
Last stop: Les Givrés!
Discovery of the night! They make EVERYTHING themselves! From the cones (with a supercool machine bought in Asia, the only one in Mtl) to their soft serve to the marshmallow... wo! You can go to my album on facebook for more pics on the supermachine! The people working there are proud of their products and I love how passionate they are when they talk about it! You can see the twinkle in their eyes :)
We were fortunate to get to try three different flavors of ice cream (soft or regular/hard?) with a iced macaron! We can chose either rhubarb or salted caramel. Miam! They also exclusively serve a mixed soft ice cream with sherbet all mixed in one!
They highly recommend the coffee flavor which is infused for three hours to truly showcase the complex aromas of the drink. And must I say, it is very impressive indeed! There is also the maple taffy one which truly taste like our traditional quebec treat! and their homemade marshmallow!!!! Wow wow wow wow! So fluffy!!!! I will never see marshmallows the same way again! I was speechless! And although i am not a great fan of macaron (i find them often too sweet masking the flavors), I must say that iced macarons are a completely different story. The coolness of the ice cream just adds the oomph! without overpowering the baked good. But do choose the salted caramel over the rhubarb.
Overall, dishcrawling is absolutely LEGENDARY! seriously. Most amazing experience ever! Trying so many dishes in so many restaurants while meeting knowledgeable, interesting food fanatics, it cannot get any better! So be on the watchout for the next dishcrawl near you!!!
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