November 23, 2012
Montreal a Table, or, in English, Taste Montreal, was this city’s first attempt at a “restaurant week,” where over one hundred Montreal restos offered menus at $19, $29, and $39 during the first week and a half of November. Most of these restaurants would be otherwise pretty expensive, and so as soon as we heard of the event, I booked two meals at places I’ve been itching to try: Brasserie T! and Les 400 Coups. I loved both of the meals – they were very different from each other, but both are restaurants that I would return to and recommend.
The first restaurant we went to was Brasserie T!, Toque’s sister restaurant, which was offering a three-course meal for $29/person. Located in a narrow, window-laden building looking out at the Quartier des Spectacles, the place itself certainly is interesting and eye-catching. Our table was all the way at the end of the restaurant, the last table before the bathrooms, which is always a bit disappointing. However, the food made up for the somewhat awkward table location.
There were two choices of appetizers, mains and desserts. Since there were two of us, it only made sense to order all the choices and just share everything. Wise choice!
Our appetizers were both great. One was a horse tartare, served with a lightly dressed and tangy salad. The tartare was mild-tasting, with a slight heat. The dish was light and fresh – great start to any meal, for sure. The other appetizer was the house terrine. This wasn’t heavy either, despite being packed with livers. Not too salty, not too fatty, it was excellently seasoned and served with crunchy toast points and some sweet and lovely prune compote.
The main dishes were the star of the show, though. I especially loved the pork ribs and fries, served with a side of coleslaw. I will always love pork ribs, but these were exceptionally good. The sauce was perfectly balanced, sweet, salty and sticky, while the meat tender and slid right off the bone. The coleslaw was not all that exciting or memorable when eaten by itself, but when combined with the ribs, iuts character completely changed. It was no longer slightly bland and slightly boring, but an active character supporting the heavy heartiness of the pork ribs. Oh, and the fries!! These were, by far, the best French fries I have ever eaten. So crispy on the outside, so soft on the inside, fried in savoury duck fat. They were actually my favourite part of the meal.
The other main dish was a little less exciting for me, but I think Soli preferred it more – skate with hazelnut butter. I found the skate a little difficult to eat (maybe more apt is to say difficult to share) and the romanesco was bland. The hazelnut was a nice complement to the fish, but was perhaps a bit too buttery. For me, this dish was simply just okay.
Soli and I disagreed again with the desserts. We received the paris brest and cardamom rice pudding with slightly sour preserved fruits (can’t actually recall what these fruits were!). Soli adored the paris brest, while I did not. In fact, I only had one bite and let him devour the rest. Paris brest is a choux pastry with a light praline cream inside, so it’s understandable that Soli would love it – this seems to always be his favourite kind of dessert. I found the pastry not sweet enough and overall, not very interesting. I tend to like my desserts rich and sweet, and I wasn’t disappointed in the rice pudding. It was very creamy and heavy on the cardamom – just perfect!
Overall, a good experience, and I would happily go back to Brasserie T! to sample more from its regular menu.
1425 RUE JEANNE-MANCE
Montreal, Quebec, H2X 2J4