Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sunday, September 4th - Le Local - Cozy Port in the Storm

Halibut with Potato Crust and Aubergine Mousseline
My sister in law offered to watch lil T for us to have a nice night out. The original plan was to see an early movie and then supper. We ran into a familiar roadblock that I had forgotten about since the days I used to live in Montréal over a decade ago, the scarcity of v.o. movie theatres. I can handle seeing a French or Quebecois movie but I can think of few things less compelling than seeing Rise of the Planet of the Apes dubbed over in French or Helen Miren in the Rachel Singer Affair with a twangy Quebecois accent. Nope. Shut it down. We decided to skip the movie. The few English theatres in town were too far or playing at very inconvenient times. Hohum.

So a longer, relaxing meal it is. We chose Le Local. Bro in law was familiar with their chef and his other restaurants and TV shows. We wanted to avoid the downtown core if we could. That said, Vieux Montréal was not the less crowded alternative we naively anticipated, particularly on a Sunday, duh! We've definitely been away too long. After crawling along behind a caleche we arrived at the patio we where we were going to have a cocktail. Unfortunately the sky opened up into some serious west-coast like rain. We were early so headed straight to Le Local for drinks instead.

We were lucky to park right out front. The patio we originally reserved was far less appealing in this weather. It was covered in a platic tent which seemed to cheapen the chrome bistro tables with a view of a parking lot. On a nice sunny day, I could see how it might be nice but the canyon separating the decor and ambiance from inside to out, made me request a table inside. They were very accommodating. The bar area looked just as chic and welcoming if had had to wait for our table.

We ordered two very interesting cocktails with described with enticing herbal accents that neither of us could detect. It's not even worth telling you the name of the cocktail as they both tasted of hummingbird feed, pure simple syrup, sweeter than koolaid. Sad.

Escargot Cromesquis with Fennel Gorgonzola Salad
I was than slightly worried about the food but needn't have been. I ordered the Escargot with Fennel Salad in Gorgonzola dressing. D ordered the Tuna Pissaladiere. When my dish arrived, I was a tad apprehensive at the stylized plating. That said, it was delish. The escargot was lightly battered and tender. The salad was well balanced and bright. The portion was on the modest side. It was the only dish that was. D's was more bistro classic plating and quite generous on the amount of Tuna. The Tuna had a lovely smokey quality, Yummo.

As a main, I ordered the Halibut, as a default. Though there was a number of seafood options, the majority were accompanied with a meaty element. They were not willing to substitute, only leave off. How odd. How can you offer to simply remove a crucial element of a 35$ dish without offering a replacement. Anyhoo, I did not order that dish. D did though, so I did try it. It was the Scallops with Ravioli Stuffed with Carbonara inspired filling.

The Halibut was gorgeous. It tenderly cooked and not dry.  The Potato crust was not what I had expected, more of a dusting of potato than a potato layer but the fish itself compensated.  The Eggplant mousseline was light and flavourful.  Actually, I want to specifically call out that everything was PERFECTLY seasoned which has become rather rare now.  There is too much bravado salting in kitchens these days.  We're not on food tv ladies and gents, let's go easy with the flare.  The salting tends to happen at every layer whilst cooking leaving a final plate of such saline dimension as to preserve the tongue.  Not here. D thought it was a hair on the under seasoned side, a hair but that is far easier to rectify than an over salinated dish.

Scallops with Carbonara Ravioli
D's dish of Scallops and Carbonara filled Ravioli was gorgeous as well.  It was a nice portion of very happily large Scallops done to perfection.  D told me the ravioli was light on the offending bacon flavour so I might have been able to handle it.  Though as an avid fan of bacon, his judgement on the subject is a biased one.  He has been trying to convert me for years.

To accompany or meal we had a Bourgogne, a Clos de la Combe Chardonnay 2009 by Jean Chartron. Very nice.

Jean Charton - Clos de la Combe Chardonnay 2009
The service was lovely and attentive with the whole staff working as a team.  Should our glasses appear empty, a passing server from another station would replenish.  The ambiance was warm yet not suffocating or heavy.  We did not bring lil T so I could not comment on family friendly though there was a infant at the booth next to us.  Which even as people with a small infant, I have to say, seemed out of place.  The staff seemed understanding and accomodating enough, though.  The baby was exceptionally quiet so we were not bothered on our night off either.

Cost: $$$$
Service: attentive and friendly
Ambiance:  Chic, cosy
Wine list: extensive

Le Local
(514) 397-7737
Old Montréal
700 Rue William
Montréal, QC H3C

Le Local on Urbanspoon


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