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ReviewLArdoise

Page history last edited by Mark P 12 years, 3 months ago

Background on Quebec Restaurants

 

As part of my trip to Quebec City, I did much research via chowhound, Fodor's, Frommer's, Yahoo travel, and other web sites on good restaurants nearby. Frankly, there wasn't much about the city of Quebec. Judging by the reviews, Quebec's restaurant scene seems geared toward the ultra-expensive, four star restaurants serving haute cuisine. Still, I managed to sift through the reviews to find a number of cheaper, more locally distinctive joints at which to eat.

 

Context for this Particular Restaurant

 

Although it was a Saturday night, I didn't make any restaurant reservations. I'd planned to take an evening ferry in order to see the lights of the city at night. I didn't know what ferry we'd end up being able to catch and therefore what time to make reservations for. Instead I passively assumed that there were enough restaurants that we'd be able to get into one from my recommended list, especially since we scouted some in the early evening on Friday and found them fairly unoccupied.

 

I was wrong. There were only two restaurants on my recommended list of the caliber we wanted (fine but not too fancy). Both of those were entirely full (Le 48 and Cafe du Monde) and with a long waiting list.

 

Thus, for the second time today (after Epicerie Europeenne), we threw ourselves into the hands of fate and chose a restaurant that looked good. And fate came through once again.

 

L'Ardoise Review

 

We had a nice, long, relaxing, good meal at L'Ardoise ( http://www.lardoiseresto.com/ ).

 

We went for some of the fixed-price three-course selections.

 

To start, we shared what the menu called a shrimp cocktail. As you can see from the picture below, it wasn't the traditional shrimp with cocktail sauce. Rather, it contained shrimp with a white sauce and a small salad with a good salad dressing. The onion slivers in the salad were particularly nicely spiced. In all, the shrimp cocktail, though unusual, was satisfying.

 

We also had a very good carrot and sweet potato soup.

 

As for main courses, the veal medallions with a sauce of pureed apples and goat cheese was particularly tasty.

 

We also had a good duck breast with port sauce.

 

Our third main item was salmon with newburg sauce. (Newburg sauce is a white seafood-based sauce usually used with lobster.) This dish was also good, though a little fishy, probably from the combination of salmon and newburg.

 

These main courses came with sides such as nicely fluffy rice, french fries, or vegetables. While many restaurants pay little attention to their sides, this restaurant did. All the sides were good. I appreciated that they avoided the common problem of overcooking the vegetables -- the vegetables still had a nice crispness to them.

 

Also remarkable were the yellow sprouts that decorated some dishes. They looked like flower stems. We weren't sure if they were meant to be eaten. Upon trying them, we discovered they released a powerful burst of flavor. But we still don't know what they were. If you can identify them, please tell me.

 

For dessert, we split a chocolate truffle cake on a praline (i.e., nut-based) biscuit. The crispy base of the cake completed the truffle effect, making the whole dish work. Good.

 

We also split a mango and raspberry mouse layer cake on a "lady finger ring," which basically meant shortbread. The mango and raspberry both resembled sherbet. Although the mango tasted artificial, we still said the dessert was good.

 

Both desserts were artistically presented, decorated with an apple in the shape of a star. That might seem to you like a nice but unimpressive touch. If you thought that, you'd be wrong -- if you look closely, you'll see the skin of the apple goes all the way around the star. I have no idea how they did that. Apples don't grow in the shape of stars. And I don't think a slice of an apple is malleable enough to be compressed into a star shape, at least directly.

 

We also tried some Raftman beer. Hoppy? The only description I wrote down was "that's interesting; that's odd."

 

Service was a bit slow, probably because it was a busy night. We didn't mind much.

 

The restaurant is fairly nice without being pretentious. This is exemplified by the brass band that at one point came and played in the street in front of the restaurant. It was a nice diversion but not exactly sophisticated. And, incidentally, like everywhere else in Quebec, the restaurant had stone walls. (I'm not sure why I like pointing that out.)

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