The Weekly Whisk - 7/16/18
Musings from a foodie…
Over the years – as I have had the opportunity to travel the world and engage in culinary delights – I can’t think of another situation where I’ve had back-to-back, over-the-top gastronomic experiences. So, in some respects, my trip to Montreal was an unexpected first. The first such experience was at Toque! [* * * * * ]. It’s a wonderful gem near Le Westin Hotel in the downtown area near Old Montreal. In fact, it was so wonderful that we actually went there twice. On both days, we ended lunch with a rhubarb cannolo stuffed with mascarpone and juniper cream layered over black currant leaf syrup with a dab of mint sorbet. Wow!! The menu changes regularly so reviewing our selections would be for naught – except for one dish which our attendant indicated is “always” on the menu. It’s the lamb shoulder with carrots, parsley and broccolini. It’s probably the best lamb I’ve had in a very long time. It was braised perfectly and the vegetables were just beyond crunchability. OUTSTANDING!! We tried other items as well. The guinea fowl was cooked to perfection as was the walleye pike. You can’t go wrong. But, it wasn’t just the food. The attention to detail by the staff and the ambiance along with the culinary delights makes it must go to culinary experience. Chef Normand Laprise will no doubt continue his efforts to please. Go to: Restaurant Toque! – 900, Place Jean-Paul-Riopellle – Montreal, Quebec H22 2B2 – Canada –(514) 499-2084 – www.restaurant-toque.com.
But, if that were not enough in Montreal, I happened to have a similar experience at Chasse-Galerie [* * * * * ]. First, the restaurant is far different in ambiance from Toque! It’s basically the Chef, the Sous Chef, a couple of wait staff and a small restaurant that could seat 20 some comfortably. Dinner is a prix fixe affair and well worth it. Again, the attention to detail and personal needs was highlighted at the start of the meal. We then moved on to fois gras with an apple sauce puree which not only was incredibly tasty but had a wonderful presentation with small edible flowers. The breads were brought – and, being in Montreal – we had our choice of regular or maple butter. We selected both! It was followed by an asparagus mousse with morel mushroom topping and a coddled egg as a centerpiece. Shortly after those bits we had scallops with cauliflower puree and shiitake mushroom and rice chips. Out of this world! Perhaps my favorite of the evening – or, even the couple of days – followed. It was a mixed mushroom saute with caramelized butter over a potato puree. I could have eaten this all week… The main entrée then emerged with the duck marguette and zucchini blossoms and a celery root puree. The French ambiance over the entire meal was clear and it wafted out the door and tumbled on to the street. And, finally, we got to dessert which was a lavender mousse over a strawberry gel topped with a flourless chocolate torte and a butter cracker sprinkled with strawberries drizzled in a balsamic dressing. I’d go back in a microsecond. Reachable at: Restaurant Chasse-Galerie – 4110 Rue Saint Denis – Montreal, Quebec H2W 2M5 – Canada – (514) 419-9601 – www.lechassegalerie.com.
However, at the end of the day, it was a toss-up as to which of the two restaurants was better. They basically came out equal which is not bad when you’re at the top of your game. If you go to Montreal, try one or the other – and, if you’re really into food – both!! It is well worth it.