Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Le Mitoyen - Flabbergasting!

I must confess, this restaurant is one of my best discoveries this year! Actually, i would have never discover it without Stéphane (avosmoleculescuisinez!). The sous-chef Marc-Olivier Millette's awesome gastronomic creativity and Steph's legendary skills and passion for molecular cuisine inevitably made them good friends during Cegep.  And I have heard so much about Le Mitoyen from Stéphane that I absolutely had to try it out!

The north shore of Montreal is not particularly well known for its eateries.  Apart from big chains restaurants, the only other restaurant, Derrière les Fagots in Ste-Rose, that was attracting foodies closed in 2009.  On the other hand, Le Mitoyen has been opened over 30 years and still going strong. Lesley Chesterman reviewed the place three times now and the Gazette critique is recommending this lovely gourmet oasis.

The building, old vintage style, is well dissimulated within the heart of Ste-Dorothée.  The terrace is ideal for a relaxed brunch on a sunny sunday whereas the interior decor is sophisticated and perfect for a romantic date.  The list of wine is extensive with reasonable pricing and will satisfy any fine palate. In order to fully experience this flavorful journey, we ordered the 10 service sampling menu.  

Amuse Bouche - Roasted Red Pepper Gaspacho, Deer Tartare and sweet potato chip, lobster and nordic shrimp arancini

Gaspacho as most of you already know is a cold soup, originally from Spain and typically served during hot summer time as a refreshing appetizer.  Since heat usually enhances flavors, gaspachos usually uses strong ingredients such as garlic and green onions to compensate.  Le Mitoyen serves it with a spoon filled of cucumber, onions and red pepper. The soup is refreshing indeed but I found the garlic to overpower the sweet taste of the pepper.  The deer tartare was aesthetically served in a crispy cone topped with a sweet potato chip.  The gaminess of the deer was balanced out wonderfully and  the truffle oil added a hint of nuttiness. Finally, the arancini was definitely the star of this dish! Made of wild rice, sweet peas and panko for this unique and extra crunchiness, this sicilian dish was particularly flavorful due to its subtle hint of lime. Fabulous!


1st service - Mozzarina on a bed of beefsteak tomato

The mozzarina is similar to the mozarella di buffala and is conserved in the water to maintain the desired creamy texture.  Le Mitoyen paired it wonderfully with cucumbers, ground cherries and watermelon. The refreshing squirt of the fruits combined with a genius tarragon sauce along with upgraded mozz and tomato, Chef Bastien and his team wisely reinvented this classic dish.

2nd service - Unilateral scallops, ratte potato, sweet pea mousse, red curry sauce, tomato confit

The unilateral cooking method consists of forming a delicious golden brown crust on the stove top first then finishing it in the oven to achieve uniform and thorough cooking.  The scallops are insanely delicious here. The crust is well executed while maintaining the tenderness of the mollusk.  But the most impressive is yet to come... the sweet pea mousse is incredibly unctuous and the addition of fresh mint just results into an astounding swirl of flavors.  The red curry sauce which had us questioning its components is so complex yet so clean in the mouth. The exploding and juicy tomato, the slightly acidic sauce, the sweetness of the mousse and the buttery flavor of the potato truly made an incredible orgy in the plate with the scallop. Like. Seriously.

3r service - Lamb flank, polenta and carrot puree

A secret technique has been used by the kitchen team in order to 'glue' layers of lamb shank together thus creating a thick slab of meat that easily tears apart with the only use of a fork.  And trust me, it really does not necessitate any knife to eat this dish, it is THAT tender.  Again, the extensive knowledge of Le Mitoyen's culinary champion successfully achieved a faultless puree; a creamy carrot puree enriched and intensified with a polenta exploding of flavors with a well-thought choice of herbs.  The complementing brown sauce along with the tomatoes balanced perfectly the lamb which was a tad salty.

Trou normand (palate cleanser) - Strawberry and orange blossom water sherbet

In preparation of the next dishes, this palate cleanser was refreshing and the sherbet was executed nicely as the ice crystals were infinitely small resulting into a smooth mouthfeel. The orange blossom water, although subtle, adds a nice aroma.

4th service - Rack of lamb, ravioli of oxtail and truffle oil

Once again, the lamb is flawless, it melts in the mouth. I am glad they use oxtails, which is a typical ingredient in asian broths and stew.  My philosophy for meat is, the more bone you have, the more flavorful your piece of meat will be. And i believe you cannot have more bone than in a tail. Voilà! Lime and tarragon are definite favorites of the chef; although I am not complaining at all. They do know how to create wonderful harmony of aroma and flavors.

5th service - Deer Medallion and sweet potato puree

Being a wild animal, the taste of deer is distinct. Moreover, its active lifestyle makes its meat very lean.  Hence, it is quite a challenge to incorporate it nicely in a menu.  Executed nicely, the piece of meat kept its moisture and its gamey taste was not too overpowering. They also thought of adding preserved red cabbage which was particular and surprisingly blended well with the rest of the dish. And needless to say that their puree was exceptional with its ginger taste just peeking enough.

6th service - Cheddar from Îles aux Grues melted on Brioche bread, apples julienne, pecans and cranberry and nuts caramel

The transition from savoury to sweet is well thought of with this dish! The bread is so buttery and crunchy under the melted aged cheddar and it reminded us of a Quebec version of a Raclette.  The caramel which had a slight note of acidity due to the cranberries enhanced the sourness of the apple.  Both of the sweet and sour fruit combined with the salty toast just made me cried of joy.  This dish reflected well the awesome ingredients available in Quebec. Love it!

7th service - Strawberry and rhubarb, mascarpone and little pancake

Fresh, light and simple will best describe this dish.  The strawberry-rhubarb duo can never go wrong but the addition of fresh basil just brought it a step further. The pancake was fluffy and crispy on the outside and the light and creamy mascarpone just create the perfect liaison for all the ingredients.

8th service - Olive oil financier, ground cherries compote, vanilla ice cream

The financier is a french pastry typically made of brown butter, egg whites, powdered sugar and almond flour. Its name derives from the shape of the mould which is rectangular and resembles that of a bar of gold.  Light and fluffy, this dessert is among the favorites of the sous-chef Marco.  Their version is made of olive oil and is super crispy on the outside.  The olive oil makes it a bit heavier and i think that it doesn't help that I had 7 dishes, an amuse bouche and a trou normand preceeding it!  Nonetheless, the ice cream is homemade and oh so creamy and rich.  Good thing there was the ground cherries compote to lighten everything up!

Final service - Chocolate Moelleux, caramelized pecans, sour cream ice cream

And we are finishing with a BANG!  Very rich. Very unctuous. Very chocolatey.  The big chunks of chocolate in the moelleux with the crunchy pecans contrast the tenderness of the cake.  And the ice cream is made of sour cream! surprising heh? Flavored with lime and served on a bed of cookies crumbles, this unusual iced treat is great on its own but might be overshone by the bitterness of the cocoa.

Overall, I was extremely impressed with the execution of each dish.  Not only were the stars of each service were perfectly cooked and seasoned, their techniques were very advanced and we can tell that the kitchen staff have done their research very well.  Moreover, every single item in each plate had their own role and complemented extremely well one another.  The quality of the ingredients, the flavor harmony, the textures and the presentation were all flawless.

I highly recommend Le Mitoyen. Shout out to sous-chef Marc-Olivier Milette; by talking to him, I can see how he contributed actively to keep the menu top-notch. Passionate by their work, his team and him constantly seek techniques to improve and perfect the dishes.  Need to return to taste their blood pudding. Nom nom nom!

Le Mitoyen on Urbanspoon


  1. Growing up in Ste-Dorothée, I know all about the Mitoyen !

    We went there for my Mamie's 80th birthday and the food was fabulous, even for a group of 30 people.

    A five minutes walk from my parents house, I should go more often.

    1. You most definitely should go more often! If i was to live besides Le Mitoyen, they will find me there a little bit too often ;) Thanks for the comment and for reading my blog Anne-Marie :)

  2. Le mitoyen is the best restaurant in Laval for sure!!! The sous-chef Marco is doing great tartares, I had 3 different : salmon, beef and Bison, the last one was my favorite! It was amazing!!!
    The place is perfect for small groups of 4 to 8 people or for couples!!! Everyone has to go there once in a lifetime!

    1. Marco is the man indeed! The best hidden gem in the North Shore!!!