Tuesday, December 20, 2005

White Plate Special

If the hijinx at Holt Renfrew weren't enough, yesterday we had the pleasure of luncheoning at Les Chèvres. "Lunch? At Les Chèvres? But I thought..." No, you read correctly, friends. Every year, during the holiday season, Les Chèvres offers a special lunchtime menu for 2 1/2 weeks before Christmas. For those of you who've been thinking of going to Les Chèvres, but haven't yet, this is a good opportunity: the two chefs there, Stelio Perombelon and Patrice Demers, have put together an excellent menu, and at 4 courses for $32 (3 savory, 1 sweet), it's a very good deal, considering the calibre of the cuisine, the atmosphere, the service. You'll have to hurry, though, the menu only lasts until December 23rd.

The rundown: together with our friend Ana, we had

Butternut Squash Soup with Cortland apple gelée and an apple-radish-herring roe garnish

Wild Mushroom Flan with stewed portobella and trompette des morts mushrooms and mousse de lait à la truffe

Pan-seared Salmon with braised fennel and a mussels-saffron bouillon

Cod and potato cake with a red wine and Cornish game hen ragout and an asparagus salad with chive oil

and our two favorites

The Roasted magret de canard, which came with a white turnip ziggurat, a few delicately sautéed Brussels sprouts, and a bitter orange purée that worked magic with the duck

Magret de Canard


The Longe de porc rôtie, which came topped with sautéed shiitake mushrooms and smoked onions, and was flanked with a lovely gravy boat (in this case, jus boat) made of celery rabe purée

Longe de Porc

We'd already gotten spoiled a bit by the management by the time we'd finished our main courses (extra-special service, some extras, etc.), but then came the desserts, and with Michelle and her friend Ana (another pastry chef) in attendance, all the stops got pulled.

We were served a fantastic pre-dessert consisting of fresh pineapple and mango, a coconut gelée, passion fruit foam, pineapple sorbet, and, the crowning touch, micro-cilantro


and then one of each of the three dessert specials

the legendary Pot-de-Crème au chocolat Manjari with caramel and Maldon salt [front, center]

a clementine and hazelnut bagatelle with fromage blanc [back right]

and my favorite of the day

the cranberry and pecan frozen nougat with cranberry purée and a caramelized pear [back left]

trio of desserts

Finally, if that wasn't enough, we were treated to a plate of Patrice's beautiful mignardises to go along with our coffees.


Granted, it was all a little bit decadent, especially at noon on a Monday, but any guilt feelings we might have had sure didn't last long.

Les Chèvres, 1201 Van Horne, (514) 270-1119. Their annual lunch menu lasts through Friday the 23rd.


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