Bocata is located on St-Paul street, it is walking distance from some of our favourite bars. What better location to go for dinner before roaming around the streets of Old Montreal, bar hopping between our favourite places: Garde Manger, Philemon and Flyjin? Diva #1 was in a murderous mood all week so Sweet Pea had offered to drive (under duress), Vegan Vixen and Bellatrix had left their cars at Diva #1’s place and Bellatrix prophetically exclaimed… “this is going to be one of those nights.” And it was…
Bocata is affiliated with Barroco restaurant, which is next door. Bocata is a wine bar that offers the small plate concept of sharing. During the day, the Artist and two friends had contacted Diva #1 about coming out that night. Diva #1 loves it when her friends contact her asking her where she is or where she will be so that they can come too. Sometimes they just show up after seeing the Divas tag themselves on Facebook or Twitter. Absolutely fabulous!
Since Bocata is a wine bar, we drank wine all night long, and though it has an almost romantic ambiance, somehow we spiced it up! We had started off our night at Diva #1’s with some Bloody Caesars and shots of gin and vodka, so we were already a little worse for wear. Vegan Vixen was sipping her cocktail too slowly so we gave her a few extra shots to get her started right! Diva #1 and Vegan Vixen were eager to enjoy the rare time that neither of them was driving by drowning their sorrows in copious amounts of alcohol. By the time the Artist & co. arrived at Bocata, everyone was a little tipsy and it didn’t help that one of us had decided to order some shots… and then Bocata treated us to a few more. What a night!
But on to the food, we started with the burrata with roasted mushrooms. It was not a huge portion of cheese but it was bursting with flavour. Girolles, oyster and King Eryngil mushrooms adorned this dish that was topped with a warm balsamic and veal stock vinaigrette. The warm vinaigrette made the cheese slightly melted which brought out its flavours, and made it more savoury. Some greens topped the little appetizer and though we wanted it to be a bit bigger, we loved the taste. The texture was more solid that the usual creamy burrata that we are used to, but that may have been to accommodate the warm vinaigrette that may have melted a creamier burrata.
There are two sizes of cheese plates at Bocata and we opted for the smaller one at 60g of cheese. Their Quebec cheeses of the night were Tomme de Richelieu, Douanier and L’Empereur cheeses. The Tomme de Richelieu was a very rich goat’s milk cheese that was Diva #1’s favourite. The Douanier and L’Empereur were cow milk cheeses; the Douanier was nuttier in flavour and the L’Empereur was more buttery like brie. It was a delicious cheese plate with unusual cheeses that were outside what you usually see. It was especially nice to see Quebec cheeses that Diva #1 does not often see on menus because of the propensity for restaurants to opt for French or Italian cheeses.
At first we were eying the duck confit salad but the salmon and maple mi-cuit salad won the group’s attention. The salmon was slightly seared on the outside but raw on the inside; it was tataki style with a maple undertone that was not too sweet. The salmon was from New Brunswick and Vegan Vixen was happy to see that it was what Bocata called “ocean wise.” The salad that the salmon and the pieces of delicious homemade olive oil bread were sitting on was made up of fennel and celery. The dressing was a honey and dill mayonnaise with salmon and tobiko caviar that was the perfect mix of sweet honey with salty caviar. Diva #1 particularly liked the very apparent and flavourful salmon caviar eggs.
Of course, Diva #1 saw oysters on the menu and immediately got excited; although she tried to control herself, the Artist’s eager exclamation when she saw oysters only motivated her to order a dozen immediately! The oysters arrived with fresh lemon and the usual red wine vinegar and shallot mignonette. We were happy and had drunk too much to remember what type of oysters we were indulging in, although our waitress did tell us. The night was off to a great start! Vegan Vixen was humming to the many 1970s oldies but goodies playing at Bocata, and though the music and the atmosphere made for a random combination, we were soon singing to Nancy Sinatra, amongst others. Of course it became a competition and we began challenging our knowledge of songs from yester years, all of which we had heard on road trips with our parents.
We started with one order but somehow a second order of lobster tagliatelle carbonara ended up on the table. Bellatrix and Vegan Vixen had enjoyed it so much that they ordered a second one mid-meal. No one in this group is averse to sporadic decisions to order more food or alcohol, although we get more and more sporadic as we consume more and more alcohol. The tagliatelle carbonara was delightful and served in a lobster bisque sauce with shallots, sundried tomatoes and basil. The egg arrived in its half shell, seasoned with salt and pepper, and ready to mix in with the pasta. This only added to the dish’s richness. The smoked bacon pieces were put on the side for the carnivores, so that Vegan Vixen could enjoy this pasta too. The pieces of lobster were tender and the whole dish was very unique. Our only complaint is that we expected it to be a little larger, perhaps that is the ethnic within us that likes to see a big plate of pasta come to a table.
We also ordered the pork osso bucco for one, although you can also order it for two. Braised osso bucco sat on top of garlic mashed potatoes that were topped with a lemon, garlic and parsley seasoning. A few greens decorated the frying pan that the dish had arrived in and we were soon using the bread to dip into the gremolata. Somehow we didn’t fight over the bone marrow, although we devoured it with glee. This pork osso bucco varied from the usual veal osso bucco, and the sauce topping the meat was different than when it is made with veal; the dish was divine.
Our last dish was another delightful surprise that offered a very odd combination of ingredients, so much so that at first we thought that there may have been a mistake on the menu. The scallop and wild mushrooms risotto was served with pulled pork, foie gras shavings and truffle oil. We thought that pulled pork sounded like an odd addition, but once we tasted it, we immediately understood that it was no error. Perfectly cooked, the risotto and its sauce was mouth watering. Just as the dish hit the table we could already smell the fresh scallops. The foie gras shavings had melted into the dish which made it creamier, and the truffle oil was a wonderful combination with the mushrooms. The risotto itself seemed to be cooked in mushroom stock; we were very impressed.
Although we were full we made room for dessert. The poached pear was spicy and served in a pool of chocolate sauce with toasted almond slivers. A dollop of mascarpone ice cream topped the pear as well as light drizzles of caramel sauce and a crunchy paper thin toffee nut cookie. The dark chocolate sauce complimented the poached pear beautifully, and the cookie gave the dish just the right amount of crunch.
The chocolate fondant was more typical, the chocolate exterior was easily broken to release the liquid interior. Served with a vanilla bean ice cream, a drizzle of raspberry coulis and a few berries, the dessert was as expected, delicious. The dark chocolate was very rich and not too sweet, making the ice cream and coulis additions the perfect touch. At this point, our dear designated driver, Sweet Pea, kept poking Diva #1 and saying that she was only good for one more drink or we were all taking a cab. Between Diva #1 ordering shots, and Bocata treating us to more, poor Sweet Pea never stood a chance.
We left Bocata and went to Garde Manger for cocktails. Vegan Vixen and Diva #1 began to worry that we were only moderately tipsy and that we hadn’t maximized on the fact that we were both not driving. Fret not, we soon left the domain of tipsy and entered the realm of drunk. Diva #1 and Bellatrix roamed Old Port without coats; it was a warm night of -10 in February so it was understandable (NOT) and off we went to Flyjin. We continued our drinking with a very drunk Whitey and her sister, and as the night wore on, we danced, had more cocktails and shots, and added this night to our long list of nights where we have PTSD due to our less-than-sober actions.
Bellatrix ballroom danced to House music with one gentleman, Diva #1 was kissed by another, Whitey got into a fight at coat check and we cock blocked Vegan Vixen by asking every guy that she was talking to “if he was from Tinder.” But the night couldn’t end there. Before we left at 3:00am, we made some friends outside of Flyjin, who took us to their apartment across from Fairmount bagels where we ate bagels (when in Rome…), and where Vegan Vixen was taught how to box. It sucks being the designated driver when Vegan Vixen and Diva #1 drink together… apart we aren’t so bad, together we are a risk to the friends around us. Sweet Pea took us home but not before both Diva #1 and Vegan Vixen slipped and fell in Diva #1’s driveway… sorry Sweet Pea, but thanks for being so swell!
Our Rating: Splendid
Tagged: 310 Rue Saint Paul, Benjamin Léonard, Bocata, Bocata Montreal, Bocata Old Montreal, Bocata St-Paul, Bocata Wine Bar, Bourguignon, Carbonara, Charcuterie, Cheese, H2X 2A3, Lobster Carbonara, Mediterranean Sea Bass, Montreal, Montreal Restaurant, Mushrooms, Nick Berolo, Octopus Salad, Old Montreal, Old Port, Osso Bucco, Osso Bucco Pork, oysters, Reservations Needed, Risotto, Roberto Porres, Romantic, Sea Bass, Sea Smelts, Small Plates, St-Paul, Veal Chop, Wild Mushroom Risotto, wine, Wine Bar, Wine Events