Posts Tagged ‘oysters’

Pursuing my tour of some of the finest steakhouses of New York, having tried Peter Luger, Keens, Strip House, Quality Meats  and Wolfgang.

Dropped by Gallagher’s Steakhouse, a historical steakhouse, which, during the days of the prohibition, was the first illicit establishment selling alcohol where gamblers and stars of Broadway would meet.

In the incredibly competitive steakhouse market of NYC (perhaps, the steakhouse mecca of the world – I mean, do you know any other major city with that many world class steakhouses? Do you? ), you know you have reached the enviable status of a historic shrine at whatever you do when the NY Times writes romanticized write-ups with eye-candy photographs of this sort about you – .

At Gallagher’s Steakhouse,  I ordered:

Platter of 12 oysters – Dabob bay from Hood canal (Washington) and Canadian lucky lime. Nicely shucked quality fresh oysters. The lucky lime had the advertised citrus-tone finish in evidence. The intertidal beach cultured  Dabob bay oysters, quite briny for an oyster coming from the Pacific. The mignonette properly done. A platter of fine oysters. 7/10

The 20 oz rib eye steak (Grade: USDA Prime), dry aged for 28 – 32 days on premise in their glass-enclosed meat locker ( You can see it from the street – a sight to behold). The meat is grilled on hickory coals, a rarity in a city where most steakhouses do broil their steaks. Grilling meat over an open fire has always been my preferred grilling method for meats. The requested medium rare doneness achieved with utter precision. It delivered on flavor (the seasoning, exquisite –  the steak  as delicious as it gets) and was superbly tender throughout. The great grilling effect of the open fire in evidence to the eyes/smell/palate.  Dazzling crust. My steak had its juices settled within the meat, therefore timely rested. A steak is not a moon landing mission and one can do great steaks at home, indeed, but what matters here is that this is a steakhouse and it is doing one of the better steaks in NYC. Easily the best rib eye steak I ever had at all the top tier steakhouses of NY. 10/10

The creamed spinach. Here too, the G seems to have the edge as the creamed spinach had superb taste and great balance between the cream and spinach flavours. Superb texture too. Just some delicious creamed spinach like few — surprisingly, indeed – seem to be able to pull out at the NYC steakhouses. Vibrant fresh and delicious flavours. 9/10

Even the crème fraîche to accompany the baked potato was not of the ordinary sort. The baked potato managing, somehow, not to be just an average piece of tired looking baked potato simply because most kitchen brigades keep such simple things for granted (as most diners do, actually), when, in reality, the sourcing of your potato and how you timed its baking makes a big difference. Here, they did care about that difference.

Bottom line: A very beautiful steakhouse (the warmth of materials such as  wood and leather never failing to entice) in the classic genre. But the food was as great. Where many steakhouses seem to deliver  tired renditions of classic steakhouse food, the G seems to find a way to make it a bit more exciting in mouth (even their homemade sauce to accompany the steak, made of tomato/garlic/Worcestershire sauce, was well engineered as far as balancing flavors go, its taste great ). A commendable steakhouse, indeed.

Overall rating: Food 9/10 One of the very best steakhouses of NYC.   The steaks are great here, but everything else as well. For my taste, the G and Peter Luger are my No1 steakhouses in New York, with the G being a better all rounder, for sure. Furthermore, nothing beats the appealing  texture as well as memorable grilling aromas of a steak that is grilled on open fire (a broiled steak looks unappetizing in comparison). Service 8/10 (superb service in the typical classic NYC steakhouse way). Gallaghers Steakhouse Addr: 228 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019 Phone: 212-586-5000 URL:


NICE, COTE D'AZURSome few bistrots that both my wife and I had recently tried in Nice.  Sorry for the lack of photos. I took no picture of the meals at each of those places for the simple reason that I find it more important for a couple to share the moment of being together  rather than being constantly distracted by such subjects as food photography or food discussion in general. It is one thing to know your food and appreciate it,  it is another thing to have it invading even the private moments you need to enjoy. Though we happened to cool down with this photo restriction as we, during this trip, took pics of  our meals at 3 star Michelin L’Arpège and Le Louis XV (see other reviews on this blog).

*** Chez Acchiardo
38 Rue Droite, 06300 Nice, France
Phone: 33 4 93 85 51 16
CA is an institution of Nice, its cooking of typical provencale traditional bistrot style, its setting representative of that cooking style, though somehow packed with enough warmth, both in the décor and ambience, to  keep this place inviting, many institutions having lost that feature.
Personal verdict:  6.5/10 –  I am always nervous when I visit an institution, having high respect for the weight of their history, for sure, but that should never be an excuse for the food performance to step back (the faith of so many institutions), and  my visit here did not suffer from that aversion: the food, in the traditional spirit of Nicois cuisine, was executed properly.  Keep in mind that it is not meant to wow, and I do not see why that should be expected from it neither (unless, of course, traditional Nicois cooking is the ultimate thing to you), but things here are done as it should (which means, as it has always been).  The highlight: they bake an excellent pissaladière ! The weak spot of that meal: the chocolate mousse of my wife was average.  PS: My wife was not blown away, but as I told her, in this particular case it is surely because she is not into that kind of food.  It’s like in Montreal, where we live, we know what’s a great poutine and great traditional Quebecoise cooking is delicious to us, but for someone who knows nothing about those….it means nothing.  I was exposed to traditional Nicoise cooking in my tender teenage years in Southern France, so I know what is bad or good Nicoise cuisine, but I do understand that for someone who has no clue of what it should be (not to be taken the bad way, just trying to be pragmatic here) , it remains just food that they judge based on their own point of references.  I also understand that it is hard to get excited over a classic salade Nicoise, some farcis, but they are doing things the way it should here at Chez Acchiardo, they are doing it well  and the two brothers (Dad and Mum are still around) are amazing hosts. What they did and that younger generations will perhaps like is that they have imparted a bit of modernity to the house (for eg, the toilets, downstairs,  are very very contemporary especially when I dig into the souvenirs I have of Chez Acchiardo, last time I was there over a decade ago).  Remains one of my favourite provencale / Nicois  bistrots in France.

***La P’tite Cocotte
10 Rue Saint-Augustin, Vieux Nice, 06100 Nice
Phone: 33  497084861
This is one popular provencale/nicois bistrot, the revered cookware being the cook pot,  the cooking traditional but without the heavy old fashion feel that traditional cooking can sometimes suffer from.
Personal verdict:   5.5/10  in the classic ‘ provencale/Med/Nicois bistrot’  category. Again a score to be taken in relation to my assessment of my food here on this dinner  rather than comparing to scores of other meals.  In view of the fair prices, La P’tite Cocotte is definitely a good value restaurant. Though I  did not find the flavor combinations to rise beyond the ordinary of this type of bistrot food (for eg, my terrine of foie gras was good, but not particularly memorable as I have enjoyed at many bistrots, my filet mignon of beef was cooked well and had good taste but nowhere close to the most exciting filet mignons I had at numerous bistrots).    The highlight: the original idea of using the cook pot as their trademark tool. Even the bill is found in a tiny cook pot.  The weak spot: no particular weak spot, just not great emotion like the pissalardière I had at Chez Acchiardo  or the food I had at Bistrot D’Antoine. Still,  go find for yourself:  it’s a cool place, the staff is  nice, the Chef was there working hard in his kitchen (you should always encourage that, it’s called ‘respect’ for the customer), the food had no technical problem (all cooked well)  and as always, it’s a matter of preference / style/ taste (nothing was wrong with our  meal here, but both my wife and I prefer flavors that are bolder / more eventful).

***Bistrot d’Antoine
27 Rue Préfecture 06300 Nice, France
Tel: 04 93 85 29 57
This is one of the most popular bistrots of Nice, and it was not hard to face that reality:  almost fully booked at 7:15 pm when we arrived, 7:15  pm being their opening hour for dinner. Then it simply never stopped: hordes and hordes of diners kept getting in and out. There are two servings here, but we did not felt rushed at all.
Personal Verdict: 9/10  in the  Nicois/Provencale/French  category.   When we were there, they had (among several of their very appealing menu combos) a 33 EUR 3 course seafood tasting of lobster. The first course was a lobster bisque with texture coming straight from a photoshoot, that glamourous, and then there was  such character in the flavor of that bisque that I thought a top 3 star Michelin Chef like Joel Robuchon or Frédy Girardet came out of retirement and decided  to please some diners momentarily and  discretely in this kitchen, Lol. The rest was stunning after stunning bistrot food: a risotto of lobster like few kitchen brigades can deliver. Even a simple Panna cotta, looking not that refined at all ( rustic, traditional looking, which I think is not a bad thing after all), avenged my hasty judgements on its looks by storming my palate with divine taste.    I was a bit afraid that its online popularity would have more to do with tourists simply finding this place to fit with the usual   clichés that they are looking for,  but I was wrong: that meal was food that I  now rank in my top 10 French bistrot meals ever. I do not know if BA performs like that every night, I just know that for its outstanding work of profound delicious flavors, great texture of the food, overall enjoyment of it all…that meal…that one we were having…was one of those rare bistrot meals that I  had no other choice but to use as a point of reference. I am almost afraid to go back, lol. In facts, when I asked my wife if we could try booking  it a second time during our stay on the French Riviera, she replied ‘you do not want such souvenir to be wiped away…,lest it rest intact on our  minds‘ ..Rfaol!!l!

***Café  de Turin
5 Place Garibaldi, 06300 Nice, France
Phone:+33 4 93 62 29 52
This is was a reminder that France remains one of the few greatest destinations for oysters.  I am a long time huge fan of oysters and their big plump, creamy and juicy oyster had myself going back there day after day all along our 4 days stay on the Cote D’azur, oftently 2 times per day in between 2 other restaurant meals.  Crazy, I know…but their oysters commended loyal follow up, Lol. Imagine…in France,   there are many other great and even  better oysters than those,,, That said, I did not find  CTD’s eur 42 seafood platter to be that stunning, though largely a winner when compared to any seafood platter in Montreal … just keep this in mind: no oyster in Canada or in the US, as great as some might be, do get close to the Roumégous oysters offered at Café Turin).   It’s the oysters that really kept me going back.  The rest was so so (my wife picked a pasta/seafood dish 4/10 and an Ile Flottante 3/10 that were average at best). So, CDT, for the seafood platter 7/10 ***  (yeah, perhaps ..well at least, far better than anything found in Montreal, of course) and the Oysters 10/10 (YEAH..YEAH..THE BIG JUICY/PLUMP ones with fabulous taste of the sea!!!). The Roumégous oysters are indeed among world’s finest. Oh la la! ***my seafood platter had tiny pink prawns of  not much interest ( I had far more memorable ones elsewhere ),  whelk that was excellent, winkles I did not care for and the star oysters.

NICE, COTE D'AZUR (2)Nice was really great as I remember it from almost two decades ago. They really have the sun shining for them, and it continues to be one of the GREAT FUN GORGEOUS CITIES OF THIS GLOBE. Some few places  that I regret of not having visited on this trip: Carré Llorca ( of Michelin star Chef Alain Llorca and Chez Palmyre (5 rue Droite, 04 93 85 7 Nice, France (Old Town / Vieux Nice) of an amazing Chef who trained under 3 star Michelin star Chef Guy Savoy and is now offering his food at very low cost (for eg, less than eur 20 on lunch. And he is there, in his kitchen…no wonder why France remains one of the REAL world’s greatest food destinations….

Click here for a recap of  my picks of all Montreal’s top fine dining & best Montreal’s bistrots.
Also: My  3 and 2 Star Michelin restaurant review web site

Dinner at L’Eau à La Bouche, Sat Febr 27th 2010, 18:00PM
3003 Boulevard Sainte-Adèle
Sainte-Adèle  (Québec)
Phone: 450 229 2991
Particularity: A Relais & Chateaux restaurant
Type of dining: Upscale market cuisine / French Fine dining
READ: My report about the 1st dinner here (Febr 13th 2009).

RESTAURANT L'EAU A LA BOUCHE, SAINTE-ADELE,QC(2) Second visit at Restaurant L’eau à la bouche, Sainte-Adele in the Laurentides (in between Montreal and Tremblant). As most already know, this is the restaurant of star chef Anne Desjardins and one of the very few  Relais & Chateaux tables of Eastern Canada/Quebec. L’Eau à la Bouche is one of QC’s very top best fine dining tables along with Hotel Saint-James XO Le Restaurant, Toque! / Nuances in Montréal, Initiale in Quebec City, Quintessence in Tremblant. Last time we dined there, that was on February 13th 2009 (ref: click here for my review of that dinner) and that tasting menu we had back then was simply stunning. We were excited to see if this magic would perpertuate and went this time again with their tasting menu.

Kicked off with an Ok Rhum coco/blood orange/grapefruit:
RESTAURANT L'EAU A LA BOUCHE, SAINTE-ADELE,QC - RHUM COCO, ORANGE SANGUINE, PAMPLEMOUSSE Rhum coco/blood orange/grapefruit: Ok, satisfying cocktail (7/10). A second cocktail of gin/tonic (10/10) was more memorable.

Next came a mise en bouche of:

RESTAURANT L'EAU A LA BOUCHE, SAINTE-ADELE,QC - WILD MUSHROOMS, CHIVES, CREME FRAICHE Wild mushroom/chives/creme fraiche potage: evenly seasoned, not too creamy not too light, enjoyably slightly peppery with the chives adding a nice touch to the earthiness of the whole potage. Welcoming refreshing touch from the crème fraiche. Good. 8/10

Followed by:
RESTAURANT L'EAU A LA BOUCHE, SAINTE-ADELE,QC - SMOKED TROUT, CREME FRAICHE, HORSE RADISH Smoked trout from Sainte-Agathe crème fraiche, horseradish, wakamé, roasted sesame seeds – The cold smoked fish’s flesh sported an ideal pink texture. The trout was oozing with it’s enjoyable natural strong flavour. The sweet, smoky flavor of the fish was delightfully enhanced by the mix of the creme fraiche and horseradish that provided an excellent kick to the smoked trout (although common — horseradish/creme fraiche acompanying smoked fish is common affair— this was more importantlyl very tasty). 10/10 for the match Smoked Trout/Horseradish/Creme Fraiche.
Wakame: Crunchy, fresh  and tasty. Drizzling it with the sesame seeds was a great touch and turned out to be a convincing great work of taste. On it’s own, it was excellent, but not a convincing accompaniment to the smoky trout.
Precision of the cooking: 5/5 (The trout ont it’s own was nicely smoked)
Tastyness: 5/5  for the taste of the trout, same for each other element on their own
Complexity: Medium
Overall Value: 4/5
wine Pairing wine: Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Reserva Selection Limitée , Montes – Vallée de Leyda, Chile
It is a wine unknown to me, which is exactly what I seek for since I love discovering wines. And it turned out as a welcoming surprise to my tastebuds: nice medium-bodied mineral wine, aromatic with a nose of grass and enjoyably fruity aromas too (my tastebuds sensed aromas of litchi and cantaloup). I love this white wine: it’s aromatic, intense. To my tastebuds, this balanced so well with the smoky aspect of the trout. Great wine pairing.

RESTAURANT L'EAU A LA BOUCHE, SAINTE-ADELE,QC - DUCK FOIE GRAS AU TORCHON, CELERY, HONEY CARAMEL Fresh duck foie gras from “la Canardière” “au torchon”, celery, honey caramel  – To be honest, although “au torchon” preparations keep most part of the taste/flavors of the foie, I am more a fan of pan-seared foie (especially the ones concocted by Toque!, Bistro Cocagne and APDC. I have always said that Laprise-Loiseau-Picard have among the best techniques of pan-seared foie gras concoctions. L’Eau à la Bouche’s pan-seared foie on my 1st dinner there in Febr 2009 was also a blast, sharing actually the position of best pan-seared I ever had on a fine dining table — here & abroad’s included — with the item #3 of the last dinner at Toque!). It just blows my tastebuds way more than the “au torchon” version. To make matter worst, I really had average experiences in Mtl & surroundings with most preparations of the “au torchon” version (even at upscale restaurants, with only the one I had last summer at M Sur Masson being a highlight  (it was tiny in portion, but oh so intense and of high quality) along with the one at Toque!, too.
As to this one, the pate consistency was ideal: beautifully velvety, not too firm, not mushy  and enjoyably meaty, like I expect my au torchon foie gras to be. The La Canardière foie gras is a truly top quality foie produced in QC’s region of L’Estrie.
Tastyness: Excellent freshness + superior quality of the foie  reflected in this lovable tasty au torchon foie gras in it’s simplest splendour. The honey caramel was delicious and complemented so well the foie.
Overall Value: for the top quality foie gras, this is definitely of nice value. As for the accompaniment, I’d skip only the celery (not to be seen as a reproach here: the celery –you can see it at the bottom of the picture— adds actually a cute textural visual balance to the overall dish, was good and fresh on it’s own but not quite complementing the foie, to my tastebuds opinion) but the honey caramel was simply divine!
My only suggestion: put more complexity into the 3 pieces of toasts, for ie offer 1 honey-flavored baked toast, another one could be spice bread..etc. 8/10

See how they cook one stands to me as the best pan-seared foie I ever tasted on any upscale fine dining table, here and abroad included.

2670-0w0h0_Domaine_Croix_Saint_Salvy_Gaillac_Doux_Croix_Saint_Salvy Pairing wine: Gaillac Doux 2006, Grain de Folie Douce, Causses Marines – although I know so well this wine (one favourite of mine), I do also appreciate seeing it served on a restaurant table. It’s a great wine full of intensity, dense, with  aromatic nose of   prune, honey, currant, and an enjoyable long finish. Solid value. As for the pairing, it tuned out, in mouth, as  nice match to the foie (Undoubtly even better with some pan-seared foie gras).

Served in a tajine:

RESTAURANT L'EAU A LA BOUCHE, SAINTE-ADELE,QC - Roasted squab, risotto, wild and cultivated mushroom Roasted squab, risotto, wild and cultivated mushrooms, cooking jus, tonka bean and mint –

RESTAURANT L'EAU A LA BOUCHE, SAINTE-ADELE,QC - Roasted squab, risotto, wild and cultivated mushroom Roasted squab – There are some few meats that are victims of severe judgements from my tastebuds  like Squabs and Quails, courtesy — perhaps— to the fact that I seldomly get to eat them and many cooks managed to somehow serve it either bland or try to my table. The rewarding aspect of this stands in the fact that whenever  it impresses me, the squab or quail had to be an exceptional exercice of cooking mastery and tastebud wonder (well, to my tastebuds of course!).
This simple preparation of theirs perfectly accented the natural flavors of the fowl, the pigeon’s meat had the ideal texture, slight smoky-ness and tasty meaty juicy-ness. Delicious tender squab taht kept it’s gamey taste intact. The squab was roasted to perfection. 10/10 for the roasted squab.
I feel a bit uncomfortable when judging risottos: I have been perfectionning this at home for years, at least once a month, so needless to stress that in such circumstances you are afraid to be harsh on judging others risottos. Fortunately, I can be completely detached from that aspect and fully focus on someone else’s risotto as my tastebuds sense it. This  risotto was delicious and delicate on it’s own, not mushy but at ideal al-dente consistency, sporting a nice texture, ideal creaminess, delicious taste and enhanced by a subtle enjoyable citrus aroma. 8.5/10 for this risotto. The risotto I had last year at Restaurant Primo & Secondo in Montreal  is still KING, but the Desjardins are doing a really good job at this, too.
The mushrooms brought the right level of earthiness to balance with the earthy-tone of the squab meat.
Complexity: Honestly, High. Think about how time-consuming and fussy a risotto can be. I know, this is a big league restaurant and surely a simple affair for them, but it is still not as simple as 1,2,3 + it takes a considerable level of focus, patience and skills to make a delicious risotto. This was definitely not our so called easy easy home made risottos. Add to this, the master cooking behind that flawless roasted pigeon + the righful balance of flavors in there.8/10
Niagara Escarpment VQA 2006, Gamay Pairing wine: Niagara Escarpment VQA 2006, Gamay, Malivoire Wine. Being profoundly attached to  France’s terroir wines, I mistakenly left canadian wine sleeping a bit under my radars, and this was a nice reminder to look also this side of the world since some solid nice wines have made their way for a while, now. Unfortunately, this very specific 2006 Malivoire made of Gamay grapes was disappointing to my tastebud: it lacked body (way too light-bodied for me) and character. Slight nose of rosemary, tannic, just not as delicate and aromatic as I wished.

RESTAURANT L'EAU A LA BOUCHE, SAINTE-ADELE,QC - Wild Boar, roasted contre-filet, braised shoulder, Wild Boar,  roasted contre-filet, braised shoulder, rutabaga and butternut squash, cranberry and green pepper corn sauce – The best Boar dish I ever had since a long time was the braised Boar I devoured at LCCP on Nov 13th 2009 (It’s the Braised Boar / See course #4 of that dinner): that was pure cooking genius and a stunning concerto of decadent flavors/textures/tastes. Since then, I had my share of satisfying, but not memorable, boar dishes at many restaurants this side of the border. So I was looking forward to taste  L’Eau à la Bouche’s take on the Boar: the meat came in two ways: roasted (tender and flavorful) + braised (even more enjoyable to my tastebuds since it was packed with deeper flavors and tasted great. In both versions, the meat was nicely tenderized, and they manage to skillfully avoid the easy dry-ness this meat can easily indulge into. Nice work too on keeping the natural gamey taste of the meat.  8/10
Pairing wine: Palacio de Ibor Reserva Valdepeñas 2004.  It’s a wine from the Spaniard’s region of Castilla de la Mancha. Appelation Valdepenas. This affordable tempranillo (made from a small portion of Cabernet Sauvignon, too) wine (off side note: if you are seeking for nice value wines, this one is a great value red wine for the $$$, btw ) is packed with a nice tannic presence, has low acidity, a nice structure and remarquable enjoyably fruity (cherry) notes + aromas of coffee. Nice complexity. Liked it, especially with the Boar meat ( found it to pair nicely with this meat).

RESTAURANT L'EAU A LA BOUCHE, SAINTE-ADELE,QC - Heirloom beet salad, creamy goat cheese, ham salt, r “Heirloom” beet salad, creamy goat cheese, ham salt, roasted nuts  – The quality of the beet is remarquable here. Nicely boiled, the various types of beets tasted great and the work of textures at display on this dish is appealing to the eyes. The creamy goat cheese was tasty. Roasted nuts adding an enjoyable nutty touch to the overall. A simple dish, with a homey feel.
ARBOIS 2005 Pairing wine: Arbois 2005, Béthanie, Fruitière Vinicole d’Arbois. It’s a France’s region of Jura (Sub region of Arbois) Chardonnay that I know very well. Very affordable rich fruity wine, with fine minerality, citrus aromas. Paired naturally well with the beets salad dish.

Before I conclude with the dessert, try this  highly recommendable 1986 Château-Chalon Yellow wine if you get a chance:

1986 Château-Chalon

The dessert:

RESTAURANT L'EAU A LA BOUCHE, SAINTE-ADELE,QC - Mango and litchi, coconut macaron, mango jelly  Mango and litchi, coconut “macaron”, mango jelly  – I have a huge weak spot for tropical fruits. Mango and litchis are among those I like the most. Last year, L’eau à la bouche won my heart with an amazing…roasted pineapple marvel (hi..hi..I told you: those tropical fruits drive me nuts! Rfaol!). This time, it sounded as interesting too with such thing like mango jelly and coconut macaron and I was looking for my tastebuds to interpret this all: although enjoyably flavorful , the macaron (6/10) was too dry and too crunchy. In the middle, a sorbet of litchi (delicious, rich and memorable 10/10) and on the far right a mango brunoise (6/10 Just ok).

SO, Voilà! My last year’s tasting menu at L’Eau à la Bouche (ranked #1ex aequo personal top dinner at all Mtl and surroundings restaurants of my 2009-2010 exercise) was more on the ‘upscale fine-dining’ range whereas this year’s (ranked #15  personal top dinner at all Mtl and surroundings restaurants of my 2009-2010 exercise)  pertains to the ‘upscale bistro-esque’ repertoire. Either way, L’Eau à la Bouche can deliver some of the top finest dining experiences of this province (on this dinner, most patrons at neighboring tables who picked some of the à la carte menu items had experienced the full potential of the huge fine dining talent of this table, so do not rely solely on the bistro-esque trend of my latest tasting menu).

What a charming wait staff: sociable, extremely accomodating and professional. Exactly what I do expect from a Relais & Chateaux (Remarquable High standard of customer service). And charming they are: At some point, our sommelier of the evening, Valerie (who does, by the way, an awesome work at patiently describing and elaborating on each wine), learned from my part that I was charmed one year earlier by the poetic presentation of wines made by Mr Pierre, who has been one star of the restaurant for almost 22 years. She made sure that Mr Pierre appeared at my table towards the end of the dinner. Awesome charming touch!

As you already know from the Febr 13th 2009 report, the interior decor is simple, small, with low ceilings and above all, in perfect harmony with the basics of French countryside interiors  that it naturally has to relate to. Although simple looking, it has a charming elegance to it. Let’s go through a little visual tour of it all:

RESTAURANT L'EAU A LA BOUCHE, SAINTE-ADELE,QC(3) As soon we got in, we faceda small little bar where a welcoming staff (smiley, sociable) welcomed us:

As I wrote earlier on, the dining room has a cute countryside interior type of decor:








PROS: This is indeed in the top 3 finest tables of Quebec Province. All the top tables supposedly as great or greater than this one have failed to prove me otherwise. I am not talking about value for my bucks here, but the ‘gourmet’ aspect in itself. So, the 1st meal (Febr 13th 2009) there was simply stunning. We had at our neighbouring table a couple who was familiar with this globe’s finest tables and they agreed that that meal (they were having the same tasting menu we have chosen) was of top 2 star Michelin standard even right at the heart of Michelin stardom: France. But…

CONS: But…the 2nd meal was inferior to the 1st (and this has nothing to do with the fact that the 1st occurence is always more ‘magical’). Talking about the 2nd meal, I do expect such top level dining venture to not miss a simple macaron. It is a forgivable slip given what they have proven on the 1st meal, but this should not happen. And when  you opt for something slighlty less ‘gourmet’ and more ‘bistro’ ( as it was the case with the tasting menu on the 2nd meal), I become less of a fan. Lastly, The ‘smoke trout’ and the ‘foie gras au torchon’ dishes would have benefited from a more elaborate  ‘gourmet’ concept/construction (they were too straightforwardly conceived for this level of dining). What justifies an outstanding gourmet level of dining is its complexity, done superbly well. I did not get such depth of successful complexity on this 2nd meal ..which I should expect at at such high $$$!