1077 Rue Drummond
I had been wanting to try this restaurant for a while now, so I was very glad to receive an invitation to try out the food there. At first, we got seated on the brasserie side but when I saw the menu, which probably suited the hockey game attendees just fine, I asked if we could be reseated in the dining room. I had read wonderful things about the tasting menu so we asked the to be treated to the chef's whim. Honestly, I can get a bit overwhelmed by the choices and it's a great way to see what the restaurant is trying to achieve, especially when you know that the executive chef, Sébastien Giguère (formerly of Toqué), is Normand Laprise's protégé. The restaurant boasts a fully-stocked cellar and their list was overwhelming so we asked for the restaurant's suggestions.
We were brought two cocktails: a hibiscus/grapefruit sparkling wine cocktail and an Elderflower gin cocktail. The hibiscus cocktail was nice and bitter but we much preferred the smooth flavor of the Edelflower gin cocktail with cucumber slices.
We were soon brought an amuse-bouche slate of oysters topped with a mignonette-like dressing and... raspberry? It was an unusual combination but still worked to bring out the brininess of the oyster. I've never really seen an oyster that I haven't liked. We did notice that the oysters were not freshly shucked and they felt a bit dry or rather were missing some of the savoury liquor.
Following the amuse-bouche, we were treated to two appetizers. First, a lovely butternut squash soup with foie gras poêlé and lardons. The soup had a very mild squash flavour, and was nice and creamy. In addition to being topped with a generous (read gluttonous) portion of pan-seared foie gras and thick cut bacon, there were also some lovely wild mushrooms. The sweetness of the creamy soup was perfectly matched with the salty bacon.
Second was a lovely half roast quail on toasted brioche. The description on the menu included compote of artichoke and a cranberry sauce. I didn't remember this while eating, nor did I notice any artichoke in the dish. The kitchen may have opted for the in-season wild mushrooms because they were generous in all our courses, including this one and I thought the cranberry sauce was more of a tomato compote. Either way, it was a well composed dish, and although I loved the quail, I could've gone without the toast. This course was served with Mapmakers Sauvignon blanc from New Zealand which was crisp and paired very well with the dish.
The main dish, which my dinner partner was very glad to see, was a filet de boeuf with squash purée and pomme de terre rate, roasted baby coloured beets (which I got to eat from both plates! Who doesn't like beets?!) and another welcome addition of sautéed wild mushrooms. The beef tenderloin was perfectly cooked and the accompaniments were all delicious. This dish was accompanied by a Rosso di Montalcino, a great sangiovese to have with red meat.
For dessert, I was very happy to see that they chose the soufflé. The apple and Calvados soufflé had a lovely apple flavor but had a very strange texture and was not my favourite. I've made savoury soufflés and chocolate soufflés and I feel like this soufflé lacked flour. I read another review that mentioned its texture being overly eggy and I would have to agree.
The macarons however were winners and in my opinion, the basil one rivaled the explosive flavours of Pierre Hermé's macarons in Paris. In addition to the excellent basil macarons, there was chocolate and peach which were both mild in flavour, and the raspberry macarons with a chocolate ganache, which was my runner-up.
All told, this is a delightful special-occasion restaurant. The food was beautifully plated and delicious. I appreciated that the kitchen used seasonal (hopefully local) ingredients like wild mushrooms. For those less inclined for fancy meals, the Brasserie menu looked good: I would return and try that next time!