Monday, October 13, 2008

Les Filles Du Roy

*photo courtesy of*

When Chris's father offered to pay for us to go out for a nice dinner, I knew I had to pick somewhere great that I normally wouldn't be able to afford. Consequently we choose to dine at the restaurant in the Pierre du Calvet Hotel, named Les Filles du Roy (note the old spelling of 'roi'). The building itself was built in 1725 under the French regime and is the oldest historical house that is open for public accommodations in Montreal. As seen in the above picture, the dining room is absolutely gorgeous in every detail. It evokes all the grandeur of French Montreal, from the game trophies on the wall to the Louis XIII tapestry arm chairs.
Arriving at 7pm, we were surprised to find the dining room almost entirely empty, but by 8 there were many others. Before even seeing the menu we were suggested by the waiter a Kir cocktail with a local Quebequois cherry liqueur and champagne. It was topped with a Cape gooseberry native to South Africa. It was very refreshing and the berry was a nice extra touch. Oddly enough this is the second time in the past month or so we've come across this berry, the latter being at a gin tasting at the local liquor store.

After starting on our drinks, the waiter brought over some complimentary hors oeuvres. It was essentially salmon tartare served on sliced cucumbers and was a great little nibble.
After looking at the menu for some time, we finally decided on our meals and so began the real dining experience.
We both began with a soup, with myself choosing the potage of the day with tomato and basil. It was thicker than anticipated, more like a puree, but very good. Chris opted for the onion soup with melted white cheddar, which I thought was interesting.

While certainly tasty, it wasn't salty enough for either of us. I'm wondering if the French version of the dish is in essence saltier than the North American version. We've made an onion recipe from a New England cookbook and it was equally lacking in saltiness.

Anyway, moving on to our next course we had a half-dozen oysters (huîtres) served upon a bed of course salt and with just a dash of hot sauce. The description on the menu mentioned something about raspberry vodka, but perhaps my palate is not refined enough to have tasted this. Either way they were nice and chilled and very good.

For my main dish I choose the faisan rôtit, or roasted pheasant, served with cabbage and beets. I hadn't had pheasant in sometime, and being in Canada I wanted something a bit on the gamey side done well. It was very nice, especially the roasted skin which added tons of flavor.

Chris had the maple pecan roast duck, which was accompanied with potatoes and a root vegetable that escapes both of our memories. He asked for it medium, and it came perfectly tender. The sauce was also delicious and a perfect compliment to the meat.
After all that food we decided to just end with a cup of espresso to reenergize us for a night out on the town.

All in all we had a wonderful almost 2 hour dining experience in the heart of Old Montreal. The service was impeccable - never did we have to ask for a single thing, and our water and wine glasses were filled every couple of minutes. If ever you are looking for a most opulent dining experience with delicious Quebecois French cuisine, and if money isn't really much of an issue, I would highly recommend Les Filles du Roy.

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