Bouillon BilkPosted By Alex Chinien Feb 26 2012 · 0 comments · Dining Out
We arrived at Bouillon Bilk on an infamous restaurant night – Valentines day. Yes, it was a night of overbooked restaurants and high expectations. Bouillon Bilk can be hard to notice from the outside – it is situated on a sketchy stretch of St Laurent between St Catherine and Ontario. As soon as we entered I first noticed its size – smaller than expected for the amount of buzz it has around it. From then on I can’t help but frame it as an upstart restaurant punching above its weight.
Its menu is indeed ambitious and the staff, while friendly, do not feel the need to be humble. This restaurant means to be taken seriously. With that we ordered a bottle of Villa Dondona as we waited for our table to be ready (we were on time but it was V day after all).
We began with two orders of Grilled Squid romesco, fried chick peas and pineapple – we were told the squid was a favorite. The squid was absolutely the thickest and best cooked in recent memory. The dish ensures that nothing else distracts from the taste of the squid and it was a great start to the meal.
Red snapper in artichoke sauce, chanterelles, blood pudding tortellini
Grilled venison with polenta, beets, brussels sprouts, and chocolate
Guinea fowl with foie gras, squash, coffee emulsion, shiitakes mushrooms, dates
One of the strength of Bouillon Bilk is certainly its plating and use of inventive ingredients. This was immediately apparent as our mains were served. Each dish was plated artfully and had some surprises. The red snapper was as soft and melting inside as it was crispy on the very outside. The accompanying artichoke sauce was understated enough to almost go unnoticed but tasted outstanding along with the blood pudding tortellini.
The venison was cooked sous vide and then lightly grilled to a nice tender point. The beets and brussels sprouts gave this dish and undeniable earthy feel and the chocolate was that “bouillon bilk” x factor ingredient. The Guinea fowl with foie gras was absolutely delicious – this is one dish that could have benefited from more foie though. The foie gras we did get was soft and melted probably by design. The coffee emulsion and dates are a playful but delicious extra layer to the already complex dish that really make it stand out.
For dessert we ordered Chocolate ganache with bourbon, banana and bacon, Grapefruit gelée suprêmes, with champagne and white chocolate and Foie gras pain perdu, dulce de leche, cherrys and cinnamon. This is an extremely strong dessert menu for any restaurant – no afterthoughts here. The chocolate ganache was dense and paired so well with the bacon and bananas. Each banana slice was individually torched and caramelized like a “creme brule”. The grapefruit gelée was light, fresh and playful and make good use of the champagne and white chocolate. The foie gras pain perdu speaks for itself – it was a very rich dessert with the cherry and cinnamon adding a spicy element.
Bouillon bilk is specific. Almost every protein on the menu is cooked sous vide. It sticks to its strengths with a discipline many similar restaurants lack. I’m very glad this place opened up and on stretch of St Laurent that could use some cultivating. Definitely recommend this place for a duo or small group.
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