Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Restaurant l'Échaudé - Part 1

I'm swooning right now as I think of l'Échaude... It was so lovely, we ended up stopping twice - for dinner Tuesday evening and for lunch on Friday, just before we left for our flight home. Here's the dinner side of things.

l'Échaudé has a beautiful patio, and although there were patrons willing to wait 45 minutes plus to be seated en plein air, we opted for a table for two indoors, and were seated immediately by the maître d'.

The tables indoors are admittedly a little closer together than either of us prefer, but this seemed to be the norm wherever we went. And here, the general atmosphere seemed to make up for it, with servers gliding around the place in light pink button down shirts, 'last chance' wines written on elaborately framed mirrors on the wall, and a beautiful bar with iced sparkling wine and champagne ready to go at any moment. It was all very elegant, and with food to match, it was a beautiful combo.

After a few moments our server and Charles finally attempted to translate 'le panais' into English for my sake (at one point the table next to us got involved, describing the vegetable to me as a 'white carrot'). And while I decided to skip the soup that evening - a creamed parsnip - Charles opted for a bowl to start. His report was that the terrine of soup was great, with the rich cream and slightly spicy parsnip mixing well.

Charles' soup was cleared and we were left to enjoy our bottle of wine for a few extra moments before our mains appeared. For Charles, a New York steak that was served with an assortment of vegetables, including some amazing golden beats, and a potato pavé, all of which he enjoyed immensely. I chose to go with the 'milk fed' veal liver, after reading a report on Chowhound a couple weeks ago that raved about the dish... and the accolades were appropriate. The liver was moist, rich and flavourful, and was surrounded by a creamy, peppery herb sauce that complemented everything well. As with Charles' plate I also received some beautiful fresh vegetables, along with a crispy potato and chanterelle rösti that contrasted the soft liver well.

I had decided earlier in the evening to leave the camera in the bag, but then our server brought out the dessert menu and there it was - a chocolate tasting with Domori grand cru. I couldn't believe it. Domori is an amazing chocolate from Italy with a lovely smooth temper and flavourful single origin beans. This would be incredible! With Charles quickly realizing that this one wouldn't be a shared dessert, he found an alternative in the sugar pie, something his grandmother used to make all the time. The desserts came and went and were both amazing, and I think that is what led us to make a Friday lunch reservation for what would be our final meal in Québec City.

The Chocolate Tasting - rich, dense ice cream with peanuts; creamy, warm pot du creme; a smooth truffle studded with cacao nibs and a single cherry

Sugar pie... almost like Grandmama's

As we reached the top of the hill near our hotel it was decided - after lingering a bit for the view below - that a drink at the Château Frontenac was in order. And it was the perfect way to end a long day and a great evening.

The view

The drink - Dalwhinnie 12yr.

73, rue Sault-au-Matelot
Vieux-Port, Québec
Open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week, with an after hours (10pm) menu available; A brunch on Saturdays and Sundays that we were sad to have missed


A Canadian Foodie said...

OH, my! Romance was definitely in the air!
Gorgeous accounting.

Isabelle said...

This sounds fabulous! I love Quebec City but I haven't been there in about 8 years. Can't wait to go back, and when I do this place sounds like a winner.

Marianne said...

Thanks, Valerie! Certainly was.

Isabelle - We spoke to a bunch of people before leaving who said they hadn't been to Quebec City in a long time too. It was definitely a fun town. Hope you two enjoyed your summer travels!