I’ve decided to branch out and include restaurant reviews in my blog. My main purpose for writing this blog has been to help me remember which recipes I’ve tried and how they turned out. It’s also hard for me to remember which restaurants I’ve been to and which dishes I liked; hence, the new section to this blog. I’m going to start with a review of Laloux, a contemporary French restaurant just a few blocks from me in Montreal.
I’ve been to Laloux twice now with Derek. The first time was last summer, and we both really liked it. The food was perfectly executed, and some of the dishes were inspired. We went again last week, and were quite disappointed. Derek was still infatuated with the desserts, but the rest of the meal was pretty dull. Certainly for a vegetarian, the options are slim and I would be hard-pressed to recommend it.
Some dishes of note: The first time we went, I ordered a green bean salad (not on the menu currently) which was simple but delicious–the vegetables were perfectly crisp, and there was an excellent balance of richness and vinegar, without being at all greasy. My entree, a pesto papardelle, was again simple but perfectly executed. The noodles were al dente, the pesto was fresh and flavorful, and it included plenty of perfectly cooked tasty vegetables. For such a common dish, I was surprisingly happy with it. This time we went, there was no vegetarian main on the menu, and the papardelle dish they gave me as a consolation was not in the same league as the previous papardelle. So far, the only non-dessert Derek had that he was terribly enthusiastic about was a scallop carpaccio appetizer, which is still on the menu.
Concerning the desserts, Derek loved all three of the ones that he tried: a chocolate pot-de-creme with caramel and salt, a pistachio shortbread with creamsicle sorbet and cream, and a somewhat bizarre dessert consisting of pecan ice cream, quince jelly, old cheddar, and butter cookies. He felt the last one, while scattershot, was an ingenious reinvention of the “cheese platter” (with nuts, jam, cookies, and cheese). Anyway, he would suggest that you go to Laloux just for the desserts and share a bunch of them (or better yet, to Pop!, the casual wine bar next door, which shares much of Laloux’s menu, including the desserts). Personally, I think the desserts veer too far in the direction of “playful and innovative” at the expense of coherence of flavor, but I can see what he likes about them.