Sunday, September 9, 2007

Trip Report: Montreal - La Montee de Lait

La Montee de Lait
371 Villeneuve Est (just off Rue St. Denis), Montreal, 514-289-9921 (reservations recommended)
Metro: Laurier or Mont-Royal

La Montee de Lait is a tiny place. 12 tables fill the space and a banquette runs down one side of the room. The menu is only available in French but is conveniently posted in the window, so we spent a few minutes deciphering everything before we went in for our reservation.

The restaurant serves a four-course prix fixe menu for about $40 (Canadian). You select any four items from the menu to create your meal (the portions are all about the same size, and while they looked small, we both we quite satisfied by the meal). We took quite a traditional path through the menu: seafood, pasta, meat, cheese, then dessert, but you don't have to be that rigid. Get four salads if you want, or four desserts!

The wine list is extensive but did not have anything we recognized on it. We relied entirely on our server's recommendations for our wine choices and were extremely happy with them.

For our first course, we had two seafood dishes. One was an incredibly thick piece of swordfish, sear-roasted and placed over roasted chanterelle mushrooms and an aioli. It was garnished with a tempura-battered scallion. The swordfish was incredible: juicy throughout and cooked properly. The other was a "Nicoise scallop": a seared scallop served with green beans tossed with tapenade, cherry tomatoes and a hard boiled quail egg. The platings for these dishes (all the dishes actually) were just gorgeous.

Our second course was two pasta dishes. The first was a bowl of ricotta-stuffed gnocchi served in a "bacon broth" (I don't know else what was in it, but it was really delicious). The other dish was a mimolette ravioli with roasted tomatoes, parsley and onion rings.

The third course was two meat dishes. We had a rabbit terrine (served at room tempertature) with a foie gras mousse, arugula salad and a red berry jam. We also had quail, the leg was given a confit treatment and served with morels, the breast was stuffed and served with flash-fried carrots.

We finished the night with a cheese plate and dessert. One cheese was a camembert and I do not recall the name of the other. They were served with poached apricots and toasted pecans.

For dessert, we shared a caramelized fig tart with ice cream (I recall the ice cream was a very interesting flavor. Ricotta? Goat's milk?).

This meal was really the highlight of our trip. The service, the room, the food and the wine were all excellent. Everyone else seemed to be having as lovely a meal as we were. I can't thank the folks over at ... an endless banquet enough for this recommendation.

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