Taste MTL, Montreal’s first restaurant week was a huge success. Close to 100 restaurants participated in the event created by Tourisme Montréal, including some of the city top gastronomic destinations such as Toqué!, Europea, Ferreira Café and Les 400 Coups. Definitely, a great opportunity for Montrealers and tourists to try some of the best food in the city at reasonable rates.
From November 1 to November 11th, establishments offered exclusive three-course menus at $19, $29 or $39 (before taxes and services). Not surprisingly, many restaurants were fully booked weeks in advance. Those who decided to get a last-minute reservation didn’t have much of a choice.
I was lucky enough to get a table for two at Toqué! I must confess that it was my first real fine dining experience in Montreal. I’m not really a fan of fancy restaurants. Usually, I prefer eating in casual places. I’m really happy I gave Toqué! a try though. It was a blast!
Just to make sure we try as many things as we could, my husband and I ordered different items from Toqué!’s Taste MTL $39 menu. As appetizer, I had the Roasted Char Confit with Maple Syrop and he ordered the Quail with Aubergine Caviar and Cranberries.
For the main course I chose the Magret and Duck Confit with Beet Chips and Potato Mousse. Everything was spectacular, delicious and nicely presented.
At first, my husband felt a little bit jealous about my meal, but he completely forgot about it once he tried his Mushroom Cavatelli with Milk Mousse and Truffle Oil. Seriously, these guys really know how to take pasta to a whole new level. It was absolutely fabulous!
The deserts were excellent as well. They brought us a Squash & White Chocolate Mousse served with a Lemony Cake and Squash Ice-cream and an amazing Almond & Apple Cake topped Sugar Ice-cream and Maldon Salt. I was really impressed by the intricate layers of flavors and textures of those two recipes. Service was top-notch as expected. Toqué! really got us hooked. We’re definitely coming back again for a special occasion.
My second restaurant visited during Taste MTL was Madre. I’ve been there before for brunch and had a lovely experience. But maybe this time my expectations were too high.
For the Restaurant Week, Madre offered a latin-inspired menu for $29. The choices were Yukon Gold Mashed Potato Balls with Huancaina Cheese Sauce or a Roman Salad with Serrano Pepper Dressing and fresh Parmesan as starters; Cornish Chicken with Panca Pepper Sauce and Homemade Fries or Shrimp Risotto with Corn Sauce and Coriander.
Overall, the food was very disappointing, especially the risotto, which was basically tasteless. The only exception was the chicken with fries. This one was indeed very good. Even having the dessert was frustrating. They were supposed to serve a Three-Milk Cake, but they ran out of Dulce de Leche.
The staff did its best to compensate the missing ingredient and got us some caramelized bananas instead. They even gave us the option of ordering a more expensive dessert with no extra costs. But I still feel that they failed to impress us. I know Madre can do better than that. Unfortunately they missed an opportunity of standing out during the restaurant week.