Le Chien FumantPosted By Jennifer Ho May 13 2012 · 0 comments · Dining Out
Le Chien Fumant was one of our top restaurant choices to celebrate Alex’s birthday. It had been roughly a year since we last went and recollections of our time there were rosy. With the likes of food celebrities such as Gail Simmons having made previous appearances, we knew that we were likely going to be in good hands. Unfortunately, our first thirty minutes there were somewhat frustrating. Upon arriving exactly on time for our reservation (and I mean 8 o’clock on the dot), we were made to wait just over thirty minutes for our table. The restaurant was completely packed and it being small to begin with, there were no spaces at the bar for us to sit and wait, neither was there an adequate area in which we could stand. So, we stood awkwardly by the door because there was no where else to go. We couldn’t really have a proper conversation as it was interrupted every couple minutes by servers and cooks squeezing past or new customers walking in.
While we waited for our table, we each had a drink. I had the penicillin which was composed of blended scotch single malt, lemon, fresh ginger, house honey and flambéed zest and Alex had the tequila old fashioned, made up of tequila cointreau, jalapeño, angostura bitters and orange peel. The penicillin was pretty delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The old fashioned, on the other hand, was crazy strong and crazy spicy. The strong part wasn’t the problem – the spiciness was. I would venture to say that Alex is an avid spice lover but even this one was a little too much for him. At first sip, you were fine. Only as the liquor slid down your throat did it get fiery intense and burn with a fury. Seriously. It became quite difficult to drink, let alone finish. To be fair, the server did warn us that it was going to be spicy, so perhaps that one was on us.
Finally, we were seated. Our drinks being long finished at this point, Alex decided to order another, this time getting something a little more familiar – a Tom Collins. After staring at the menu for so long and catching whiffs of passing dishes, we were more than ready to order and our appetites were sufficiently whetted. We ordered the lobster-bacon macaroni and the Chinatown calamari. The macaroni instantly stood out to us as a must-have. Not to mention that friends who had recently eaten at Le Chien Fumant highly recommended it, so this one was a definite go. When it came… oh boy. Super fresh, with the cheese all gooey and warm, strings of cheese hung off almost every piece of pasta making each bite just amazing. The lobster chunks were hearty and generous – more than I expected, actually. Pairing perfectly with the bacon bits, this dish was one of my favourites of the meal in its entirety. Mm-mm! The Asian style calamari was almost equally as good. The Asian influence was obvious as it was flavoured with typical Asian ingredients like mint, basil, sweet Thai sauce and peppers. While it strayed onto the sweeter side of the palate, they did a great job here as well and both plates were scraped clean by the time we were finished with them.
The real meat of the course had yet to come. I had the soft shell BLT which came in a basket lined with checkered red paper, giving it a sort of homey-comfort type feel at least in terms of presentation. The soft shell crab was well fried and came stuffed between bread, mayo, lettuce, tomatoes and bacon. This one was good, but it wasn’t very memorable. I enjoyed it but there was nothing that made the dish go above and beyond. The same goes for the ribs and shrimp dumplings. The amount of meat that the ribs carried was astonishing. They were portioned extremely generously. Here, the Asian influence surfaced again, with the side of the shrimp dumplings. They were surprisingly done in a way that reminded me of my mother’s cooking. Props to the chef for making these taste really authentic.
Finishing things off, we had some complimentary drinks on the house. We had originally asked if we could have the two drinks we had while waiting for our table on a discount in response to our dissatisfaction regarding the 30+ wait at the start of our meal, but that wasn’t possible. Instead, they offered to serve us two additional drinks gratis. They were very sincere about it as well (the server even suggested one of the most expensive scotches on the menu), which was nice. I had the rum flip which had a whole egg in it along with rum, fresh mint, sugar and angostura bitters. Recommended as a dessert cocktail, this was one that fit that description to a T. It was sweet and thick, with just the right amount of alcohol.
Usually by the end of the mains, we have a tiny bit of space left for dessert. But this time, I have to say, we were stuffed to the brim. Even though we wanted dessert, it was practically physically impossible. We let it go this time, but the next we come back, we’ll have to make sure we save room! Overall, we had a decent time at Le Chien Fumant apart from the wait time at the start. It’s a cozy little place that’s tucked away on an unassuming corner. Make sure not to underestimate it though, because they do pack a couple of mean dishes that will get you salivating and wanting more.
View Larger Map>