By the time dinner rolled around, I was at just the right level of hungry. The kind of hungry that has you enjoying some bread when they bring it to you, not the kind where you’re mindlessly inhaling it. We were eating at Le Club Chasse et Pêche (423 Rue St-Claude, Montréal) and with the week’s menu in our hands, we narrowed our apps down to the homemade gnocchi in a shellfish stew and the braised piglet risotto with foie gras shavings. For our mains, we selected pork short ribs with root vegetables, sage, and jus, and an order of braised veal, sweetbreads, bacon, artichokes and hon shimiji. And it was all really, really, good.
How good? When our apps landed on the table (and after the requisite photo documentation!), we got down to it. There was a bit of silence to eat, a pause to taste, and then a brief exchange to express how awesome we thought our respective dishes were. We then quickly returned to silence as we ate more, tasted more, and reveled in the intensity of our dishes. That’s how good it was – we were quiet.
The shaved foie gras on the braised piglet risotto had quickly melted into the mixture of rice and shredded pork. The rice was a bit harder than what risotto should be and we felt the dish could have been improved with less pig, as more rice would have carried the intense flavours of the dish better than the pork. The homemade gnocchi, sitting in a shellfish stew that I would liken to a very refined chowder, had just the right texture – soft, but not crumbly or mushy. Maybe a little more chew to them would have made me incrementally happier. And the stew? Creamy with a hint of sweet and a generous mixture of fresh clams and mussels. The flavours of the stew weren’t heavy and cloying, but had a fine, clean, intensity to it. After spooning up what I could, I cleaned the bowl with a piece of bread. I wasn’t letting any of that seafood goodness return to the kitchen.
The two apps had us anticipating the rest of our meal. Thankfully, we would not be disappointed.
From the veal dish, the large portion of sweetbreads in particular were excellently prepared. A lightly crisped exterior with a meltingly soft interior sitting on a bed of smoky bacon and braised veal. While the bacon paired well with the veal and with the sweetbreads, the three of them together never quite harmonized. The boneless pork short ribs were soft and flavourful, the jus a perfect complement, and were sided by very tasty saged root vegetables. Of note was the golden beet; the potatoes were the only jarring note in the dish. A very complete and wholly satisfying dish. We both favoured the pork over the veal.
Arriving at dessert, the salted caramel tart immediately jumped off the menu at me and claimed its spot on the table. The apple and banana crumble took the other place. The caramel tart was nice, with a hint of salt, but a bit too sweet. The sweetness was, however, tempered by the bitterness of the dark chocolate sorbet that accompanied the tart. Still, if the sweetness had been toned down a bit, the tart would have left me craving more, instead of feeling like I’d had too much. The crumble was a more satisfying end to the meal — warm and crunchy and soft with a hint of cool from the ice cream. The banana and apple flavours and textures combined especially well, and the ice cream, though not particularly dulce de leche, was the perfect touch to mellow it all together. Tea and Calvados drew our night to a close, leaving us replete.
All in all, an excellent meal – overall better than APdC. So excellent, in fact, that we made reservations for lunch tomorrow.
- Le Club Chasse et Pêche 423 Rue St-Claude, Montréal
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