Thursday, June 28, 2012

Montreal: La Salle À Manger

set my heart a-flutter

La Salle À Manger is a true gem. I loved everything about it. I loved the location. I loved the logo. I loved the interior. I loved our waiter. I loved the food.

It has been a while since I felt this much love.

I'll break it down, because amazingness like this deserves to be broken down.

The service was impeccable. Rumour has it that they are always setting the bar for fantastic service - attentive, responsive, and friendly, without being overbarring.

The restaurant itself is a delightful mix of raw and refined. Hanging lights, worn and industrial finishes, and beautiful wood tables. It's my favourite type of venue, chic but laid-back. No in your face frills or gimmicky garnishes. Noteworthy is the glass encased room at the back where meat hangs. That's badass, especially because La Salle will serve you the whole animal (suckling pig for 12 people at $500). The night I went they were offering a royal rabbit. No, there were no bunnies .

Now that you have sense of what it feels like to dine at La Salle, let me tell you what it will taste like. It will taste like intimacy on a plate. Simple presentation, but deep flavours.

Their menu changes so what I'm about to tell you may no longer matter. But read between the dishes.

The salmon tartar (small $15) comes on a wood slab with homemade chips and a salad/slaw. The tartar was fresh, light and creamy. The chips were fried to perfection and their greens were bonkers. It was a simple mix of vegetables that tasted so complex with its different textures and the flavourful vinaigrette.

The trio of brioche or foccacia (I no longer remember) was my favourite: gravlax, proscuitto, and lobster. Each was distinctly different, but worked together. I savoured every bite.

For the main I opted for the veal pappardelle, while my sister had the pork belly with lobster.

Mine - again with the dill and veal combo...
I stand corrected - apparently it's a thing - and said thing is starting to grow on me.

The sister's
D.e.c.a.d.e.n.t. and savoury with a side of twang - acidity from the salad.
Everything on our plates was amazing. La Salle does rich and relevant - only what needs to be there is there, and it all comes together in perfect harmony leaving you happily full.

What's more, my sources (and they are a vicious bunch who will tear a restaurant apart for one mistake) keep going back. Repeat visits are the greatest compliment to any establishment, and the great ones know to thank us for it by being consistent.

Skip the 'be seen be heard' restos like Au Pied and give your love to La Salle, he'll love you back.

La Salle À Manger on Urbanspoon

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