Friday, May 30, 2008

Le Club Chasse et Pêche - Montreal
After the very last of my undergraduate classes (an amusing Thursday afternoon section of Art History: the Modern Era in which I stretch my wits to see how much insight I can provide on inconsequential nuances) had ended, a couple of us decided on a whim to go to Montreal. After all, it's "Paris without the jetlag"; surely, I like Paris, and I do not like jetlag, so Montreal it was.

Veal cheek, fried oyster, shiitake, bearnaise (14)

This was one of my favorite dishes of the evening. The veal cheek was tender and well flavored, accompanied by some delicate mushrooms and pearl onions. The Béarnaise was surprisingly light, with a healthy dose of tarragon. An auspicious start to the meal.

Octopus salad, fingerling, celery, saffron vinaigrette (16)

I usually do not order cooked octopus, since it more often than not arrives hard, chewy, and almost rubbery to an extent. This was no exception. The textures of the dish were pretty interesting though, with the creamy ripe avocados, equally hard fingerling potatoes, and the octopus a la latex. The saffron vinaigrette was not detectable.

Vegetables with panache (8)

Do vegetables have panache? If they're prepared by the French. Our server set down the plate and proclaimed it the "world-famous vegetable dish." I thought, seriously? As a lover of all things vegetables, I decided to take him up on this. Four presentations: sauteed pearl onions and mushrooms, cabbage salad, mashed potatoes, carrots with cheese. My level of enjoyment went exactly in that order. The onions and mushrooms were delicious, similar to the sides on the veal cheeks. I wasn't too big a fan of the carrots and cheese. It was cold, not spiced correctly, and it was just an odd pairing of the sweet carrots with the crumbly cheese.

Arctic char, mushroom, truffle slivers, eggplant (29)

The char was perfectly cooked, with a crispy skin holding together the tender flesh. The broth was clear and sweet, uniting the flavors of the mushrooms, eggplant, and tomatoes. It was, however, too salty. As I started cutting into the fish, everything was swimming in a sea of salty broth.

Duck magret, honey glaze, cauliflower, faro (28)

The duck was great - perfectly cooked medium rare, tender, and with a sweet, smoky, Asian-tasting crust. The bitterness of the cauliflower was a well thought out pairing. The faro pasta with duck shreds and the brown honey glaze was once again too salty. The meat + cauliflower paste more than made up for that, though.

Romance - Fruits frais de saison, baba au grand marnier, sabayon

We concluded with a fruit sabayon that had been torched. It was good, but more pedestrian than I had expected. Some fruits other than cantaloupe and honeydew would have been great, given Montreal's abundant supply of fresh fruits. The bread could also have used a more excessive dosage of grand marnier. I think we were trying to relive the memories of the wonderful dessert at L' Entredgeu we had in Paris, but alas, Montreal still is not Paris (albeit with no jetlag).

Le Club Chasse et Pêche
423 rue St-Claude
Montreal, QC, H2Y 3B6



Blogger needcaffeine said...

those look delectable

I have your feed on my snackr rss random feed reader. I lose all concentration after seeing your photos, then reading the descriptions. I've been meaning to take a trip up north, this and your past review about Montreal are encouraging me to do so.

5/30/2008 6:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, LCCP is probably the best restaurant in Montreal - it only goes (way) downhill from there.

5/31/2008 5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Definitely disagree with the above comment, but I am a Montrealer so admittedly a bit biased.

I've had some of the best food of my life in this city, any foodie would be more than happy here.

this list is what I've used my whole time here, definitely worth a look if you're interested in coming to visit: and look for "the list".

1/21/2009 10:44 AM  
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12/13/2009 12:12 AM  
Anonymous S Lloyd said...

Awesome review from your part.
Sorry for disagreeing with Chuck on this one (I hate contradicting him since he is a huge inspiration to me, but here there is the need of a rectification when he wrote "Unfortunately, LCCP is probably the best restaurant in Montreal - it only goes (way) downhill from there.
": No, it does not go downhil from there. Although Montreal does pales in comparison to Paris and many other gastronomic cities, I would be confident on a final opinion on Montreal top restaurants only after having dined at it's top tables like La Porte, Toque!, Nuances, Raza. Again, nothing comparable to the Guy Savoy, Joel Robuchon or L'Osier of this world but definitely a better picture of what Mtl is offering at this moment as it's top finest tables.

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