The Divas had wanted to go to Toqué for some time so when Diva #2 had a friend coming in from out of town, she suggested they try Brasserie T!, the little sister of Montreal’s famed Toqué. They enjoyed it so much that reservations were made again, this time to celebrate the birthday of a dear friend of Diva #2, The Firm. Brasserie T! is located on Jeanne-Mance, in the heart of the Quartier des Spectacles, next to Place des Arts. The restaurant looks like a shipping container made of glass, perfect for people watching!
Seated at our table, our waitress greeted us, and handed us our menus. Though small, the menu offers top quality choices. Our waitress returned with the usual bread and butter along with a jar of mini gherkins, something Diva #2 knows Diva #1 would have enjoyed had she not had a prior commitment. Diva#1 loves a good pickle! The only problem was that we were never given any bread plates.
Diva #2 had her usual Hendrick’s gin and tonic, complete with cucumber slices and her cousin (aka Cuz) indulged in the restaurant’s drink special which included Absinthe, soda, lime and mint. Sadly, on this night, Cuz had her drink sans alcohol, which broke Diva #2’s heart.
While sipping on our drinks and reminiscing about our high school days, the waitress brought our appetizers. First up, the snails in garlic butter. A French classic, that Brasserie T! really got right. The snails were meaty and delicious and the garlic butter was perfect to eat with the bread.
On Diva #2’s first dinner at the restaurant, she ordered the duck rillette. It was a good portion and the layer of au jus added a nice flavour as did the caramelized onions, sweet and perfect with the grilled bread.
Diva #2 best friend ordered the mushrooms and soft boiled egg as an appetizer. This seemed like an odd combination but the Divas had enjoyed mushrooms and eggs at Tapeo, and we know how lovely this pairing could be. The egg was cooked just right, and the appetizer was very good. However, the waiter had brought the wrong dish. But quickly returned (without being called back) and deftly exchanged it for the correct one. The dish was topped with a thin wafer which added nice texture to the soft-boiled egg.
The goat cheese and potato gratin was not what we expected and we were pleasantly surprised. The cheese was smooth and melted in your mouth with the spinach and potatoes. And the beet reduction at the bottom of the dish gave it a little tang.
Happy with our appetizers, we were looking forward to the mains. The Firm chose the Salmon tartare, which came with an abundant side of fries and a mini jar of mayo. Well-seasoned and slightly spicy, the salmon was fresh and we know good tartare.
In keeping with the fish theme, Diva #2’s best friend ordered the Salmon and fennel salad. The portion was just the right size and cooked perfectly. The fennel salad was a lovely and surprising alternative to the traditional greens one would expect as a side dish.
Diva #2 was tempted by the famous burger but on both occasions, was swayed once the nightly specials were read. On her fist visit, she fell for the lobster cavatelli. Homemade pasta with large chunks of sweet lobster, tossed in a lobster bisque sauce with oyster mushrooms. Perfect!
On her second visit to Brasserie T!, Diva #2 ordered the magret de canard evening special. Cooked perfectly, the duck was tender and flavourful and sat on a bed of barley risotto with halved cherry tomatoes. Not our favourite way of having risotto but it was good nonetheless. And the roasted parsnip was an interesting choice of vegetable.
On our first visit, the Montreal sausage and the Coquilles St. Jacques were also ordered. The sausage was fresh and homemade and the coquille was rich and creamy.
A birthday can’t be properly celebrated without something sweet and wonderful, dessert at Brasserie T! is always different. We ordered the mille feuille and the strawberry trifle. The mille feuille was very light and the pastry was delicate and crispy, while easy to cut through. This was unlike the usual mille feuilles that we’re used to seeing in bakeries.
The strawberry trifle was presented in a glass, which was both regal and striking. The garnished dollop of tantalizing cream opposed the tartness of the strawberry. The hint of liqueur in the dessert’s center added another layer of happiness for the palate. Other desserts that we had tried on previous visits included the apple turnover with sucre à la crème ice cream and the chocolate cake terrine. All equally delicious and what you would expect from such an esteemed restaurant.
Diva #2 and friends had a great night filled with great food, an excellent atmosphere and good laughs. If you’re looking for quality dishes but can’t get to Toqué, do yourself a favour and book a table at Brasserie T! Diva #2 is already looking forward to returning with Diva #1 to enjoy oysters and people watching while sitting on the terrace this summer.
Our Rating: Splendid
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