I was not intending to blog about this meal, but it's been 2 days since we've had it and I still can't get over it. The hubby and I headed up to Montreal on Monday evening for a special dinner - a combination of my birthday present from January and an early celebration of Valentine's day. I let him do the research and he discovered a gem.
We walked into La Chronique for our 6:30 reservation and the small restaurant was empty. We picked our own table and we quickly informed by our waitress that not only were the menus only in french, but there was no selections to be made - it was a set menu of 5 courses with a fixed price and wine paired with each course to match the meal perfectly. For a heads up, cost wise, you're looking at $70 for a meal without wine, $125 for a small glass with each course, and $170 for a larger glass with each course (and even an option for wine choices). We were able to look at a list of the courses, but between our elementary french from high school, neither of us was completely sure of what to expect.
The service was attentive, but not rushed. In the European style, you knew that for the amount of the meal, that table was yours for the night. By 7pm, other diners were trickling in and the restaurant (all 10 tables or so) was full for the night. Our first course was a lobster bisque poured table-side over a mound of crab, gently sauteed leeks and topped with cream and a Parmesan crumble. While the waitress was pouring the bisque over the crab and leeks, the overwhelming aroma of lobster wafted up to my face. Each spoonful was full of flavor - the lobster and crab together were amazing and the added crab gave it a bit more bite. The leeks were unexpected but the caramelization gave it an earthiness, and the Parmesan crumbles just a bit of crunch and texture. This was served with an amazing glass of champagne. The bubbles were refreshing and light.
Now, before I continue to over analyze this amazing meal and gush (which I told myself I wasn't going to do - I just wanted to focus on enjoying the meal and my fantastic man's company). What followed was sear scallop with caramelized endive, halibut with a truffle mousse, quail over braised purple cabbage and seared fois gras (melt in your mouth indulgent). The dinner was capped off with a lovely chocolate brownie (although I bet they called it something different) with a caramel sauce, espresso ice cream and topped with a puff pastry and 2 chocolate light cookies (almost reminiscent of freeze dried). This was a lick the plate or even take their home made bread and mop up all of the sauce for every course and for each component of the meal. It was amazing.
Now I know this is an extravagant meal, but if you ever have a special occasion, this is a special treat and an intimate dining experience. Now, if you're picky or nervous about having someone else dictate your meal, this isn't the place for you. I do dare those skeptics and control freaks (and I am the later) to let go and let the experts at La Chronique guide their meal, they won't steer you wrong.
One last word of warning - this is a 5 course meal, I am still kicking myself for snacking on bread from the bakery up the road before dinner. I was getting full during the halibut course and wish I could have licked that plate as I wanted to (and I also didn't finish my fois gras during the following course). Come Hungry!