A few little thoughts on a meal I had at Laloux a few days ago, one of the suggestions from a recent thread I started. I have the ubiquitous Carswell to thank for my final decision, whose knowledge of food in Montreal, I have to say, is nothing short of encyclopedic. So thank you.
Both my partner and I were in the mood for seafood, and so decided on a 2007 Billaud Simon Chablis. A great match for the halibut and mussels on the menu that I was hankering after. The wine was a gorgeous pale yellow, with a subtle citrus nose, a slight mineral quality, and a delicate acidic finish. Great.
I kicked off with some lovely, marinated beets with soft goats cheese rolled in chives, dressed with a honey vinaigrette. I have to admit – I’ve never quite understood the combo of beets and goats cheese until I had this. The beets were fork-tender, and the goats cheese was mild enough for the flavour of the beets to carry through. A nice soft cheese, as opposed to the more popular, sharp flavoured buchettes that definitely would have been a mismatch for this dish.
My partner had a salad of Brussels sprouts, green apple and chèvre, which he deemed to be good, but nothing extraordinary.
On to the mains – I had a halibut fillet prepared paella style, in a sauce poulette garnished with a few mussels and clams. It was very good, but I understood from the menu that this dish would be more... paella like? The halibut was served atop a 1/8 inch thick sheet of rice about the size of a post-it note, which was entirely covered by the sauce poulette. So the rice was definitely not as present as I had expected. Halibut was good, the mussels and clams in particular, were bursting with flavour. Unfortunately the poulette sauce seemed to have a light frothing on the top from beating – it was clear the cooking juices had only just been beaten into the egg and cream liaison and the whole thing was dunked on top, bubbles and all. I’ve personally found froth and foam to be quite unappetizing in a meal, whether intentional or not. Overall though – the dish was very enjoyable.
My partner had the adventurous choice of sea bream stuffed with beef, served with marrow, salsify, figs and orange confit. He seemed deeply intrigued by the dish, but not that excited about it. Apparently the beef stole the show.
Dessert: I had an apricot cream tartlet (which was really just a slice of firm panna cotta placed meticulously on a sablé cookie) with orange hazelnut nougat glace. My partner let his Germanic roots get the better of him, and opted for the farmers cheese dumplings with roasted plums and speculoos. Neither of us went with the suggested dessert wines, however. I’m a sucker for a good Sauternes, and thought it a good match for something featuring apricots. My partner opted for a tawny port. My dessert was good – although the apricot cream could have done with a bit more tartness. I would probably have preferred my partner’s dessert, which looked just fabulous – truly autumn on a plate.
The service I found to be good – very accommodating even though we rolled up without a reservation, which is more than can be said for Au Pied De Cochon, whose maitre d’ seemed to be offended that we had even the nerve to come through the door without calling ahead.
I would definitely suggest to anybody to give Laloux a try. The food has a clean contemporary feel, but definitely has some accents of classic bistro. I myself would certainly be very happy to go back again.
250 Av Des Pins E, Montreal, QC H2W1P3, CA