The Divas love an excuse to celebrate and Zeus’ birthday is a pretty good excuse. He is always our designated driver, has seen his share of sloppy drinking and is generally a good sport about the abuse he undergoes. We send him to get information from our love interests, beat him when he doesn’t do as we ask (and we can be demanding), but in general he is a pretty reliable guy. The Divas, Sweet Pea and Vegan Vixen decided to take him out for his birthday, after the summer’s two Garde Manger incidents (yes we have PTSD) we owed him a little appreciation for handling us so well. On many occasions, he has helped us off bar tops, fetched our tossed shoes as we danced away barefoot, helped us drunkenly get into his car and even slipped into bed with some of us. All in all, he is a stellar and a little less than moral guy.
We have wanted to go to Chez Victoire for awhile, the bistro was known for its stylish French ambiance suited to the 30+ Plateau crowd. It is a large restaurant that is the perfect place for celebrating a birthday, going for a 5 à 7 or just to have a good time. Their menu is quite extensive and we had trouble making choices because everything sounded really good! We started our meal with the charcuterie plate with cheese. Vegan Vixen couldn’t eat any of the delicious cold cuts and we almost felt bad. As always, she is a good sport concerning our love of meat. Sausage, prosciutto, salami and other cured meats made up this platter.
The plate was abundant and you could order your charcuterie plate for 2-3 or for even more people. We opted for the smaller one since we knew that we wanted to try other appetizers, and to be honest it wasn’t that small at all. It came with Maille Dijon mustard, pickles, and a type of chutney. A nice surprise was the many pieces of baguette and olive oil that also came with the cheese. The three types of cheese came with a fig compote and candied nuts; this was a very full presentation of charcuterie meats and cheese. They were all raw milk cheeses, two were hard cheeses and a soft variety, a goat cheese cendrillon. This is easily one of Diva#1’s favourite cheeses and we devoured it quite quickly. This was a great appetizer and we recommend that if someone comes by Chez Victoire for some wine or cocktails, to order the charcuterie and cheese platter as an accompaniment.
Since Vegan Vixen was so generous in allowing us to order our meat, we opted for an extra side of cheese. Diva #2 loves her burrata so we ordered this cheese that came with a leek vinaigrette, olives, radishes, bacon and brioche slices. Vegan Vixen ate around the bacon, although we support the philosophy that the best things in life come with a side of bacon! Topped with arugula and dried fruit, this was a different way of enjoying burrata, not like the simpler Italian way that we are used to. It was tasty but we prefer our burrata in a massive lump, lightly drizzled with olive oil and topped with salt, pepper and basil. Sometimes simpler is simply better.
We were the perfect group of oyster lovers. Zeus adores them, Diva #1 finds them the perfect palate cleanser in between dishes, Vegan Vixen doesn’t think they have feelings, unlike chickens, so she eats them, Diva #2 will swallow anything whole, and Sweet Pea no longer flinches when we order a few dozen. That’s what we did that night, we had three dozen, we didn’t order them all in one shot, but throughout the night we called over our waiter to order another dozen. We tried three different types, the smallest in size being our favourite because they were the most flavourful. One variety was called Lucky Limes, the other two types were from New Brunswick, but we were too eager to eat them to pay attention to their names. Sometimes we can be the worst bloggers when gluttony gets in the way! We were generally out of control with tons of wine and oysters, but in the end you can never have enough oysters!
Before arriving, the Divas had scoped out the menu and we knew that we wanted to try the bonbons de foie gras. Pear with vanilla, caramelized onions, arugula and porto made up this fabulous dish. The foie gras could have been more apparent, the taste was light, but it was an extremely interesting way to enjoy foie gras. The fried foie gras bonbons were on a bed of caramelized onions with slices of pear speckled with vanilla bean in between each bonbon. The taste was unique and a variation to the usual way one enjoys foie gras.
Before we ordered our main dishes we threw in a few interesting side dishes. We started with the rustic polenta which was whipped with mascarpone and caramelized onions. The mascarpone added another level of creaminess and the caramelized onions a certain sweetness. It was a delectable side dish and quite enjoyable. We also ordered the auber-ing which was made like deep fried onion rings except they were deep fried eggplant rings with cucumber, mint and garlic. We love onion rings and this was a lovely gourmet twist to a good junky favourite.
One of our mains was a slow roasted pork filet served alongside chorizo stuffed calamari. Smoked mustard, grilled peppers, radishes and blackberries decorated this decadent dish. It was a rich dish, the pork was very tender and the calamari fresh and stuffed with a generous amount of chorizo. The sauce was sweet but tart, and helped tie in the pork, chorizo and calamari. Poor Vegan Vixen had to un-stuff the calamari to enjoy a bite without the chorizo. The little vegetable-lover even stole a few blackberries. Vegetarianism is a curse and she isn’t even a real vegetarian! Zeus was happily enjoying his birthday with women, booze and meat, the three things in life that make him happy, well that and being Greek. At this point Diva#2 had developed a twitch as he discussed his latest female conquests… oh Zeus… will you ever learn?
Vegan Vixen was fed up with our love of meat and ordered the cavatelli with clams, chorizo, corn, lobster mushrooms, and parmesan in a clam bouillon. To make this dish dear to our heart it was topped with sea asparagus / salicornia, a type of plant that grows near beaches and tastes like the sea. We discovered this weird treat at the 2013 Montreal Oyster Fest and have loved sea asparagus ever since! Once again poor Vegan Vixen picked around the chorizo (her loss) while the rest of us dove right into the dish. It was tasty with a soup-like sauce and plenty of shaved parmesan on top. Zucchinis were also tossed in with the mushrooms and chorizo, and it made for a hearty, comfort food-like dish. Especially if sea asparagus makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside…well it has that effect on us!
Of course when we saw salmon tartare on the menu we had to order it. Dressed simply in avocado, cucumber, marinated onions, fresh coriander and lime, we were curious to try this fresh sounding medley. Smoked bread accompanied the tartare, but it tasted like regular bread to us. The dollops of avocado truly made the tartare creamier, and the dish was presented beautifully. The salmon was fresh and the seasoning perfect and not overpowering. There could have been more salmon and fewer adornments but the toppings were very tasty and went well with the fish.
Last but not least we enjoyed the pan seared scallops with a corn porridge, blood sausage, more delightful sea asparagus, yogurt, oil from green onions and raisins from Corinth. We aren’t sure where the corn porridge was since we instead received grilled corn but we aren’t complaining. Corn porridge didn’t sound very enticing anyway. It was a very small main meal, with only two pieces of blood sausage and a few scallops. The plate was well assembled and tasted great but it was too small and the blood sausage was not as flavourful as it could have been. The grilled corn added a nice bite to the small dish but there was a little room for improvement.
In all, Chez Victoire Bistro de Quartier has a great ambiance, perfect for a bottle of wine and an appetizer or two, some of their mains can use an increase in portion size but overall, aren’t too shabby. We would especially return for their charcuterie plate and a bottle of wine all while looking fabulous at the bar with the cool Plateau crowd. We were full and disinterested in dessert so we headed off to meet Whitey and Bellatrix for more drinking and bad decisions. Alas, Zeus ended his birthday dinner by almost getting into a fist fight with one of Whitey’s friends… he was accused of “checking out” the guy’s girlfriend. Never a dull moment in this group! Sweet Pea, Bellatrix, Vegan Vixen and Diva #1 were accused by the same guy as being the “Housewives of Cote-Vertu” (apparently we were given a classy boulevard) for being overdressed for this dive of a bar, but in our defense we had come from a dressier atmosphere. The night ended with us going home tired but having learnt a valuable lesson: bars that are dives are no place for Divas!
Our Rating: As Expected
Tagged: 1453 Ave Du Mont-Royal, Alexandre Gosselin, Bar, Beef Tartare, bistro, Blood Sausage, Boudin, Burrata, Charcuterie, Cheese, Chez Victoire, Chez Victoire Bistro de Quartier, Chez Victoire Mont-Royal, Chez Victoire Montreal, Chez Victoire Plateau, Chorizo, Cocktails, Crab Risotto, foie gras, Foie Gras Bonbons, French, Hamachi Gravlax, Lamb, Montreal, Montreal Restaurant, Mount Royal, Mushrooms, oysters, Plateau, Polenta, Reservations Needed, Salmon Tartare, Scallops, Tartare, wine