Restaurant L'Initiale Lunch Friday September 17th 2010, 12:30 Type of Cuisine: Fine french dining 54 Rue Saint Pierre, Quebec City Phone: 418-694-1818 URL: http://www.restaurantinitiale.com/ Particularity: One of the few Relais & Chateaux of Eastern Canada
Restaurant L'Initiale is regarded as one of the elite restaurants of Eastern Canada's fine dining scene along with restaurants like XO Le Restaurant, L'Eau à la Bouche, Quintessence, Toque!, Poivre Noir and some few others. It's also a Relais & Chateaux (Toque!, L'Eau à la Bouche and L'Initiale are the only three R&C restaurants of Quebec's province).
The restaurant is located in Quebec City, at approx 3 hrs drive from Montreal ---- and I hate driving hours and hours --- but when it comes to discover outstanding tables, your humble host will never back down! Well, with one last condition: when I called, I had one major question for them: '''Is Chef Lebrun going to be there on this lunch???'. YES was the response! ''Done deal'' was my reaction. Sorry, but from now on, I am investing my hard earned money on restaurants which master Chef are there...for real..where they should be: behind their stoves! No wonder I have the highest respect for Chefs like Alexandre Loiseau (Bistro Cocagne), Michelle Mercuri at XO Le Restaurant, Mario Navarrette Jr's Raza, Normand Laprise's Toque!, Axel and Mathieu Bourdages at Kitchen Gallerie .... they are right there, where they should be!
I have, I must admit, a deep preference for Classic French fares. The Chef (Chef Lebrun) and co-owner of L'initiale are from Brittany, France. France's classic deep rich savourish meals are to me the summum of food enjoyment. It must be done well, though. Bloodily well!
Foie gras poélé, betterave confite, coulis de prune et orange, tarragon - Seared to perfection, the foie was oozing of pleasantly livery savour. Excellent smooth creamy consistency. The foie was complemented by an enjoyable beet confit (nicely done), succulent drop of prune/orange coulis and some fresh tarragon leaves. In between good to very good 7.5/10
Jannice's roasted duck breast was perfectly roasted and seasoned, juicy and full-flavoured throughout. The accompanying celeriac purée was well executed, had a refined texture and tasted delicious. The elderflower touch was a smart additition to the overall. Good 7/10
Fricassée de veau et cuisse de pintade farcie, sauce moutarde et romarin - Savourish, flavorsome roasted guinea fowls. Cooked perfectly. The morsels of veal were delicious. Harmonious flavors nothing heavy and yet enjoyably filling). Well composed dish where all ingredients did complement each other flawlessly. Good 7/10
Ended the meal with several sweet bites: from right to left, an amazing arlette (9/10 stunning taste, Very good) was disposed atop the chocolate pudding (7/10 nice custard texture, deep taste of excellent quality dark chocolate). On the left, a rich and decadent caramel ice cream. 8/10
As it is the case with most restaurants and based on the interesting menu they serve on evenings, a dinner here might be more elaborate. Other Quebec City's tables that I liked throughout the years: Le St-Amour, Toast, Le Panache.
Bottom line, the food was cooked with great precision and care, the ingredients were of high quality. Not some boring classics. To the contrary, it was an enjoyable modern take on French fine cuisine: refined, updated.
Service by the Co-owner, Rolande, was courteous, very attentive and helpful. Two waiters serviced at our table: both were offering a service of high standard.
The decor, as you can see from the above photos, is chic with colors of cream, brown, large windows, high ceilings and plenty of space between most of the tables.
Next, I went to dine at another highly regarded table of the province of Quebec: Le Poivre Noir at Trois-Rivières.