Toqué MontrealPosted By Jennifer Ho Sep 09 2011 · 1 comment · Dining Out, Old Montreal
I finally got a chance to go to Toqué for my birthday dinner. After having heard so much about the gourmet eatery in the Old Port, I can say that the restaurant went above and beyond in every respect, including the hype surrounding it. I was completely blown away by the impeccable service, the great food and the amazing ambiance. Walking in, the atmosphere of ‘high class sophistication’ is apparent from the get go.
As we sat down to eat, a group of business men and women were having their 5 a 7 by the bar and most other diners seemed to be quite a bit older than us which definitely set the tone as a more formal and mature vibing restaurant. With absolutely gorgeous interior design by Jean-Pierre Viau, the glass wine cellar really caught my eye at the center of the main dining area. Wine bottles artfully hang from long metal rods extending from top to the bottom (hidden from view), accompanied by a soft backdrop of luminescent circular bulbs making the thing was a wonder to look at. Do they really make the effort to grab the bottles from their respective nesting spots every time someone happens to order the specific wine and then replace them? Or are they all just for show? Anyhow, they look very cool.
Our waiter was courteous and well educated on the menu, starting off with some suggestions for the two newest cocktail inventions by the Toqué barmen. I chose the pineapple, gin and Russian sage cocktail while my friend had a St. Ambroise pale ale (sidenote: they don’t have beer on tap). As a “welcome” dish, we were served a shooter of cod mousse, olive oil, tomatoes and chives which was a tempting prelude to the things to come. After contemplating ordering the tasting menu (every single one of the seven courses is a surprise! Leave it to the chef to pleasure your taste buds..), we decided to go with choosing directly a la carte. We had poached lobster with lemon butter, basil, apple cabbage and peperoncino oil and confit of char with maple syrup, iced beets, sesame and chanterelles to start. The presentation of every single dish that we ordered was 100% – no, scratch that. Make that 200% aka an A +++. Everything was gorgeous – we literally ate everything on the plate, scraping off any leftover sauce or juice. Yeah, it was that good. For our mains, we had the confit of chicken supreme with cocoa beans, bacon, onions and brandy sauce as well as piglet’s loin with ravioli, garlic purée, beets, shallots and Dijon maple sauce. Mmmm hmm. Absolute heaven. The cut of the piglet was tender, a little fatty, with the skin just a touch crispy. Surrounded by fuschia colored beets, thin slices of radishes and a few raviolis, the plate looked like a visual taste of autumn. For dessert we had the lavender ice cream with basil jelly, dried olives and Pastis watermelon – everything tasted great together, but the lavender taste didn’t come through all that much, at least to me. We also had the honey roasted peach that came with dried olives, caramel olives and peach sorbet. Mostly tasted great but not going to lie, the olive oil was kind of a strange addition as it wasn’t really mixed in to the dessert, rather just poured into the inlets of the stylized dessert. A plate of very cute miniature macaroons – apple and white chocolate flavored – came along with the check. If you check out the photos, I think you will agree that everything put onto the table that night was beautiful. While Toqué is on the pricier side it is well worth it. I would suggest making reservations in advance if you’re interested in checking it out.
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