The setting is an old house. It has all the trappings of aristocracy, from the wallpaper to the chandeliers to the paintings. It’s quite comfortable.
The bartender has been there for 50 years. He lends a certain calmness that tells you “it’s going to be alright.” He’s friendly and a treasure.
The server is an anomaly, especially in the touristy area of Crescent. He actually tells you what he thinks about the dishes you are considering ordering. When I asked about the table d’hote, he flat out told me not to order it. “There are many good items on the menu. You don’t need to order that.” What a refreshing change.
And the guy really knows how to take care of you. When he saw me struggling a little in trying to cut a puff pastry with my butter knife, he rushed across the room “Sir, may I bring you another knife?”
He steered me to a fabulous dinner, and was there every step of the way to make sure I enjoyed it to the fullest.
The amuse bouche was two crostini smeared with duck liver pate. It was served with a selection of green and black olives. The pate was very flavorful. This was going quite well.
The busboy was equally attentive. He was right there any time I needed anything, and he brought out the dishes precisely when I wanted them.
After the amuse came a dish of porcini and sorel mushrooms in a delicious creamy wine sauce served over a tender puff pastry. The puff pastry gave it texture, and the flavors of this dish were very soothing. It was a good way to start off. This would be good to share, as it’s a fair amount of food for a starter.
The salad was huge. It had a nice selection of lettuces, endive, perfectly ripe tomatoes, olives and other fresh vegetables. Over the top was a creamy vinaigrette.
Now here’s where the timing issue comes up. The main course was ready, but I wasn’t done with the salad. They told me it was ready, and asked if I wanted it now or if I wanted to wait. Of course I said now, as the salad would still be fine after the main course. It was piping hot, and this obviously the way the dish is prepared to be served.
The rack of lamb is enormous. It’s got to be more than a half pound of meat (not counting the bones). It’s spread with a mustard breading, and was cooked perfectly… medium. It was done on the outside, a little crispy in parts, and still had some pink on the inside. It was delicious. Alongside were some carrot slices which weren’t cooked long enough (they were still too hard), some sautéed potato slices with onions and some other greens.
There was no way I was going to finish this, and never got back to finish the salad either. This is a whole lotta food. It’s all very tasty, but it’s way too much for me. If I wasn’t living in a hotel, I would have brought the leftovers home….lamb sandwich: YUM.
2137 Crescent (just south of Sherbrooke)