L’Express MontrealPosted By Alex Chinien Apr 22 2012 · 0 comments · Dining Out, Plateau
Montreal is a city with no shortage of culinary institutions and L’Express is one of my favorites. Established in 1980, this Parisian bistro has long been a fixture of St Denis street with its name written out on the iconic tiled terrace. The last time we were here was over a year ago and as we settled into our table, we were happy to see the menu virtually unchanged. The beauty of L’Express is in what it doesn’t do – no flash, no grandeur, no twists – just a draconian adherence to classic french cooking.
There is a comforting sense of accessibility to the place as well, the dishes are almost entirely priced under $25. This visit we decided to order a bottle of white wine along with:
Roasted Quail with Wild Rice
Sauted Duck Confit with Salad
Before our starters arrived we snacked on baguette and the signature pickles with spicy mustard. The ocotopus lentil salad is absolutely my favorite dish at L’Express. The citrus vinaigrette binds so well with the cold perfectly cooked octopus and lentils – I could eat this salad every day. The beet salad was served with crunchy nuts and sweet fruit – also vanished from the plate immediately.
The roasted quail was a lighter main and I have to say I don’t usually go into a french restaurant planning on eating wild rice. The rice was tossed with some kind of sweet and citrus almost syrupy vinaigrette and I absolutely loved it. It had a great earthy flavour that complimented the roasted quail perfectly.
The Sauted Duck Confit salad was also on the lighter side and was tossed with apple slices and spinach. The duck confit was (of course) perfectly cooked and just crispy enough. The apple slices added some great crunch and sweetness to the dish and we were left full but not stuffed.
For dessert we shared a Rum Baba which was served covered in A LOT of rum. We cut our forks through the spongy baba an soaked each piece in rum and sweet syrup. Delicious ending to the meal.
Our service was on point and helpful. Don’t expect to be coddled – they run a tight ship and don’t waste time with small talk. Again, these dishes aren’t designed to be exciting or different – it’s about flawless execution and classic flavour profiles. We love this place and feel an obligation to make a pilgrimage at least once a year.
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