I had a bordering-on-fairly good lunch at Le Crocodile.
-- Foie gras with balsamic vinegar-reduction sauce (one of the specials of the day)
The foie serving is huge a single serving was more than enough for two diners to share. A thick and appropriate cooked large piece of foie that I enjoyed. A dark, meat-stock-based sauce with balsamic reduction. A loose latticed deep-fried potato sliver tuile-like crisp on top of the foie. A bit of mache-like vegetables raw on top of the foie emolliated with a bit of white truffle oil.
I had a glass of Gehringer Late Harvest Riesling, 02 Oakanagan (C$8). I had chosen it over the suggestion of the dining room team member of a Sauternes by the glass. The Gehringer was a bit fruity for my preferences.
-- Lobster Bisque scented with cognac and topped with crème fraiche (C$6.50)
The soup for which Le Crocodile is known is a tomato and gin soup, with some crème fraiche and diced chives on top. Its quite acidic for a cream-based tomato soup, based on my recollection, but I had liked it. This time, I sampled the lobster bisque, which had a nice balance. The bisque also has some crème fraiche and diced chives on top of the large, traditional-styled soup bowl. The bisque was fairly good, carrying a slight hint of acidity (perhaps from the Cognac?).
I drank a glass of Quails Gate Allison Ranch, Chardonnay 2002, Oakanagan (C$11.25), with the soup and the entree. While no oak is utilized in the winemaking for this item, I thought the Chardonnay lacked finesse. As an aside, this restaurant has an interesting range of pricing on its wine list. One can go from the heights of a 45 Haut-Brion for $10,500 (first time Ive seen this wine offered at a restaurant; my preferred red is Haut-Brion) to reasonably priced Okanagan whites.
-- Menu Express; Daily Soup (potato and watercress, cream-based soup) or Butter Lettuce Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette, followed by Special Daily dish (in this case, Artic Char with a wine-reduction sauce), but no dessert, for C$20
One aspect of Le Crocodile that is not generally focused upon is how reasonably priced lunch there can be, if one chooses the Menu Express with a glass of wine. The C$20 menu changes daily, but always includes a daily soup or butter lettuce salad (a nest-like structure of Romaine with a little ½ of a boiled quails egg nestled in the middle on top) and a main course. I ordered the Menu Express because a dining companion was going to order the Butter lettuce salad anyhow, and I was able to switch with her for the a la carte lobster bisque. I also wanted to sample the artic char.
Here, the artic char was appropriately a fish that had flesh in between salmon and trout (as opposed to tasting too much like salmon). A relatively thin filet had crispy skin, and was slightly overcooked for my tastes. But the fish still tasted fairly good, and the cream-and-white-wine-based saucing was nice. Chunks of vegetables (e.g., zucchini) were appropriately cooked on the side of the plate.
Ive noticed Le Crocodile tends to make fairly good cream-based, more traditional-style French sauces. The Artic char was an example of this, as was the saucing for the daily special of veal chops with chanterelles and other mushrooms sampled by my dining companions. Members might wish to focus on dishes that have interesting saucing when they visit this restaurant.
Solicitous and professional service. A restaurant I would revisit, particularly in view of the two-course Menu Express at C$20 (US$15).
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