Monday, 16 February 2009
Event: Dinner on Friday February 13th 2009 19:30
Addr: 3003 boul. Ste-Adèle, Sainte-Adèle, Québec, Canada, J8B 2N6
READ: Click here for the report on the second dinner there on Febr 27th 2010 (The 2nd dinner impressed me less, perhaps of a standard 1 Michelin-star Caliber rather than the 2-star caliber level experienced on this below reported dinner. We took the tasting menu on both occasions, so I hope I can fairly give a better and definitive opinion once I'd sample the A la Carte menu)
Web site: http://www.leaualabouche.com/
Aromes's mention: EXCELLENT
It is a restaurant we wanted to try for a long time. We found in St Valentine's week end, the perfect excuse to book a table there on top of lodging at their hotel as well. Saturday Febr 14th was already fully booked (not a surprised since it's the V day!) , so we picked the day before. For the room, we took the $240/pers suite (We see lots of ppl complaining over the web about average rooms at this hotel. Well, you get what you pay for, right? The suite we had was definitely up par with the most luxurious Relais & Chateaux that you will find in the world. But if you go for the classic room, oh well...it will be classic!). Yeah, I know..it's relatively $$$, but this is no cheapie B&B!
So, back to the restaurant. That was our very 1st time there. It is not connected to the suite, so you walk 5-7 little minutes to get there. It is very small, plain, very low ceilings: when you enter, you face a small bar. Then you have one part of the restaurant on the left and another on the right. Both parts, although tiny and plain, are a bit different: we dinned on the right part. That part is as small as about 6,7 small to medium size tables, was sparsely and simply decorated, with a predominance of white everywhere (white tablecloths, white walls). I"ve read about ppl complaining that the restaurant beeing small and average. They are missing the point here: this is the countryside and the restaurant is in perfect harmony with it. I don't want to see a super luxurious modern restaurant in such surroundings.
There was a choice of either à la carte menu or the $150 six course discovery (tasting) menu. As it seems common with most restaurant's tasting menu offers, if you take the tasting menu, your dinner partner has to take that tasting menu as well.
First course is called "Trois demoiselles lascives offrant leurs chairs nues à vos regards amoureux, Rasberry point, Colville Bay et Beausoleil"...Lol, I am not kidding! Translation: "3 young ladies offering their naked flesh to your lover's glances, Rasberry Point, Colville Bay and Beausoleil"! OMG!! Well, I guess they wanted to be original with those poetic sentences, BUT I'd strongly suggest they rethink this...lol..no biggie mind you. Ok, behind this poetic sentence, it was basically 3 oysters beautifully presented on s small rectangular plate. The 3 oysters were reworked by the chef: One had a subtle soya-ginger dressing (not impressed!), another one had a celery-apple subtly flavored dressing (a big no..no! Celery nor apple are not what you should put up against sea food...it not only brings nothing but actually kills the natural taste of the oyster. Bland!). The 3rd oyster was nice: it had what you expect on an oyster: a lemon zest!! Ha..finalement! Of the 6 services, this is one was the only flaw: I rated this dish with a 1/5 rating. Keep my oysters natural!! Do not try seducing them! The wine pairing was nice though: a Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene 2007, Crede, Bisol, Italy (nicely balanced with the oysters). Fyi: Rasberry Point (http://www.raspberrypoint.com/index2.htm) is an oyster provider company. Same for Colville Bay (http://www.colvillebayoysterco.ca/) and Beausoleil (http://www.maisonbeausoleil.ca/).
Second course was: "Coup de foudre à l'unilatéral d'un pétoncle languissant d'émotion". Translated into "Unilateral crush of a scallop full of emotions".... Basically, it was one nice scallop, perfectly seared on one side (à l'unilatéral), fully flavoured. Really nice. It was accompanied by the best and finest ribbons of brussels sprout (chiffonade de choux de Bruxelles) I ever ate at any high end table (technique of execution that is as complex as perfectly achieved + the taste was heavenly). Paired with an ok Viognier 2007, Tous Ensemble, Copain Wines (California). I rated this dish with a 10/10 (Really flawless. You would complain only if you are into absolute huge portions of food...but well, for that, fo to "Au pied de cochon"! Rfaol!)
Third course: "Don Juan de la Canardière en escalope poélée et ses rougeurs couleur betterave". This was a delicious, evenly cooked chunk of veal. Accompanied by an elegant and refreshing nicely executed beet reduction. Perfect! 10/10
Fourth course: "Étude charnelle autour d'un canard supremement bio de la ferme Morgan". This was the standout dish! I had my fair amount of raving pan-seared foie gras at tables as high end as Ducasse, Joel Robuchon, El Bulli, Noma, Fat Duck, Hélène Darroze, Gagnaire and so on... but very few had impressed me as much as this one: beautifully presented (in the a perfect oval shape reminding an egg but flattier), the foie gras was of perfect luxury (in terms of high end quality), seared heavenly, packed with memorable flavors, sported the perfect smooth mouthsome and has a perfect succulent taste. 9/10
5th course was named "Belle tartiflette au kenogami cherchant amant torride pour fusion totale". This was basically a rich and savourish gratin-alike mix of melting-mouth creamy and tasty cheese, perfectly baked potatoes and delicious chunks of lardons. Although easy to make, I was amazed by this dish: I've tasted a lot of superb tartiflettes in France and this is the one that kills them all. As impressive as that (really hearty, stunningly tasty with the all creamy tangy flavor I do expect from a perfectly executed tartiflette).
It was paired with an Alsace 2006, Domaine Marcel Deiss (well researched pairing, imho).
Rated this course with a 9/10
6th and last course was the type of dessert I am fond of -> Named "Amour des Iles et souvenirs d'une chair tendrement épicée ", it proved to me how the talent of this chef expands to the exotic territory we do not expect him to shine at: this one fresh pineapple savory, was bathed with an irresistible mixture of high quality rhum and caramel. The banana sorbet that came along was very tasty and way superior to the usual best banana sorbets. Delicious is an under-statement! 10/10
I guess only cloud here (apart course #1) would be this one -> Both the 5th (tartiflette) and 6th item (dessert) came as one course to be shared. It's not the end of the world, BUT...when both persons are paying for a course per head...you do expect one course per head!!
The service on this dinner was super courteous and warm: the gentleman who welcomed us at the entrance is ...I believe ... probably their sommelier. Well, he was at least acting like it. He is very knowledgeable about wines and seemed to have lots of interesting strory tellings (without beeing too invading). He has the perfect charismatic Maitre D' presence and was flawless. A second waiter was a very sympathic gentleman with whom we had fun exchanging in Spanish and the 3rd was a seasonal young quebecer waiter who was polite, courteous, very helpful and we had lots of fun talking with him about anything in general. Overall: phenomenal service!
L'eau à la bouche seduced me with it's impeccable exciting cuisine du terroir (local products).
Thanks to the Lord, I was gifted with some dinners at world's best tables like El Bulli, Noma, the Fat Duck, Pierre Gagnaire, Ducasse, Robuchon ... and yet, there's that little simple table, right there in the country side, that pleases my heart as much as those big names!
It's rare..very rare...but I sometimes come around critics who dare putting down this cuisine. I'm willing to be opened to all kind of opinions, but putting down such high end well executed cuisine just reinforces my skepticism: "there's no way those whiners REALLY sat at this table!"..there's just no way!!
VERY EXCEPTIONALLY, WHENEVER A TABLE PARTICULARLY SEDUCES ME (THIS IS BASED SOLELY ON THE AMAZEMENT OF THE TASTE OF IT'S FOOD, FROM MY TASTEBUDS PERSPECTIVE), I WILL END MY REVIEW OF THAT TABLE WITH A ROSE (LOL), THE EQUIVALENT OF "BEST CHOICE" MENTION FOR OTHERS:
Check all my Mtl's restaurant quick reviews on YELP