L’Orignal MontrealPosted By Jennifer Ho Nov 05 2011 · 1 comment · Dining Out, Old Montreal
L’Orignal means “moose” in French. Based solely on the name, you would expect the food served here to be big, hearty and gamey. Actually, after spending over three hours eating here and sampling a good portion of the menu (we were a party of eight ordering a variety of dishes), we came to the conclusion that the portions here were just perfect (what I mean is not overwhelmingly large) and that the food was even better than any of us had anticipated. We first took notice of the restaurant at Oysterfest earlier this September. When we tried L’Orignal’s wild boar-lobster roll, we were hooked. We finally had the chance to come by and it did not disappoint.
Drink-wise, we ordered 3 bottles of red wine. This one in particular was called “Roagna” and from 2009. One of our party particularly liked this bottle, so that sort of explains why we had so much of it. I had our server’s top two recommendations from the cocktail menu – a cinnamon sidecar martini and the pepper stretch cocktail. I absolutely loved the cinnamon sidecar – would definitely order that one again. At the moment it actually smelt like gingerbread cookies and applesauce which was totally appropriate for the fall weather. Several Mooseheads and Bierbrier‘s were ordered. As you can probably tell, we had a good time. I mean, good food, a few drinks and pleasant company is all anyone needs, amiright?
As a prelude to our three course meal, we were served two dozen oysters. These were a mix of L’Orignal’s freshest: Summerside’s, Colville Bay, Thatch Island and Chopper’s Choice. I can’t tell you how much I love oysters – I’ve probably mentioned this before in some other post. Nothing really tastes as good, as fresh and as delicious. Just a squeeze of lemon and you’re good to go. Not to mention, they are known as an aphrodisiac (that’s not why I like them, come on guys). Not that I really felt anything afterwards, but if anyone has, feel free to email me or comment with a story. I’d love to hear it.
I started off with the piglet heart foie gras parfait with a pistachio pain de genes. Presentation was gorgeous and tasted as good as it looked. I had some trouble finishing the foie gras parfait though, not because it wasn’t good but because it’s a problem inherent with eating a somewhat larger quantity of it (at least for me). Starts out great, really rich and decadent but as you eat more and more of it, it gets harder to finish it all. This particular dish had such an interesting arrangement of different components on the plate and pairings of flavor – like the pistachio element and the bergamot creme fraiche. Very cool idea. It makes you think about what’s what on the plate and how to get a taste of everything in one bite. Others I was with ordered the mixed lettuce salad with mozzarella di buffala and truffle salsa dressing, the Quebec tomato salad with grilled zucchini, almonds and homemade ricotta (exceptionally fresh and lovely looking), the spicy tuna tartare with ginger, tobiko caviar and avocado (I had a small bite – from what I could tell, it seemed like it would have been one of the better tasting tartares I’d have had in a while) and the grilled octopus with roasted tomato puree (mm!).
Among us we ordered the pan seared scallops with butternut squash puree which was said to be quite delicious. The only complaint people had was that they wanted more! Just one more scallop would have done the trick for them. Keep in mind these objections came from very hungry guys, so perhaps under regular circumstances this may have been the perfect amount in addition to the entree and the forthcoming dessert. I got my game meat on with the boileau venison with foie gras emulsion – the meat was cooked just the way I like it, erring more on the side of medium rare. Also, it was nice because the foie gras in this dish wasn’t as heavy and apparent as it was in my entree so I could actually eat two dishes with the ingredient. Works for me! Other dishes that I won’t get into too much detail since I didn’t get enough of them firsthand were the duck breast with white beet puree, braised veal cheeks with sweet potato risotto, grilled wild striped bass with lentil ragout. But I can assure you, everyone enjoyed their dishes immensely – that much was abundantly clear as every single plate was scraped clean of its last juices.
For the grand finale, the dessert. I ordered the pumpkin pain perdu which was voted the best dessert of the evening by our table. It was moist and sweet but not too sweet and had a taste of rustic simplicity that everyone loves. There was a mixed mango and strawberry sorbet which was a refreshing palate cleanser, a vanilla creme brulee, and a chocolate cake. All were home runs. These dishes were ravaged – not a single scrap was left over for anyone to pick at. I don’t think I could make it any clearer. Go here.
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