The Divas love recommendations, and when you steer us in the right direction once, we are eager to see what is next. Calvin once again came through and recommended another great restaurant. Earlier in the year, Diva #1 had been to Chien Fumant and had had a delicious blood sausage dish. Other exciting items on the menu included pig tail and a platter for two serving duck in 3 different ways, at the time, Diva #1 had wanted to order everything on the menu. Before we get ahead of ourselves, Chien Fumant is known for its in house charcuterie; only a fool would come to this little restaurant tucked away off of Mont-Royal, and not try some of its more daring fares.
Unfortunately when the Divas decided to go to Chien Fumant those anticipated dishes did not appear on the chalkboard menu. This is both the beauty and the apprehension surrounding restaurants with a chalkboard menu; there are no guarantees that you will love what is on the menu, especially if you’re a finicky eater (aka pathetic). The restaurant / charcuterie is tiny and they asked us for our credit card to reserve the table, with a cancelation fee if we did not give enough notice, this was frustrating but it did not diminish our overall experience. The waiters were polite, knowledgeable (and we had loads of questions) and hey, they were even good looking! Behind the bar the alcohol bottles were hung from the ceiling similar to how glasses are usually hung, and a baseball bat was ornately among them.
On her first visit Diva #1 had tried the “Calmars Chinatown” 16$, and though calamari is best saved for Greek / Italian restaurants, this calamari was uniquely tossed in a sweet / sour Asiatic inspired sauce. This is different than the traditional marinara sauce (Italian) or tzatziki (Greek) methods of serving calamari. This dish was again on the menu and though it was great, we felt experimental and tried other things. The Divas opted for a main dish and several appetizers to try as many dishes as possible at Chien Fumant whose tag line is: «mieux vaut la tête de chien que la queue de lion.» Right away a huge chunk (literally it was a chunk) of fresh bread arrived with butter and we devoured it. The Divas had had a tiring day at work so we needed to bitch and let off some steam with bottles of wine and good food…and more wine
We started with a beef carpaccio and bone marrow appetizer. The horseradish drizzle with capers and a spicy sauce added to this carpaccio dish. The bone marrow was cooked to perfection, moist and the amount of marrow was impressive for this usually tiny dish. Divas like strange food and though people often steer away from bone marrow due to its texture, the Divas wondered if they should order another serving…
Our second appetizer was roasted quail topping eggplant parmesan. It was served in a cast iron dish and the quail was tasty and unique. Unfortunately the eggplant parmesan was ordinary and did not suit the quail it was served under. We wanted extraordinary! Nevertheless it was an enjoyable dish which incorporated unique and unexpected flavours.
We then ordered the charcuterie plate (when in Rome…) which arrived with chorizo, turkey terrine, a pickle, grainy mustard à l’ancienne (looked homemade and tasted better), sopresatto and salami; served with 2 small sweet breads. Perhaps we should specify that by sweet breads we do not mean lamb innards (sweetbreads), although we would have loved some, but bread that tastes sweet. We were told that the charcuterie plate changes depending on the week and comes in different serving sizes. The cold cuts are made in house and were very flavourful. Clients at Chien Fumant should take advantage of the fact that they smoke their own meats and enjoy their charcuterie styled dishes. This made us yearn for the elusive pig tail all the more… but it just gives us an excuse to come back.
Our final plate was a delicious duck dish served with cherries, lentils and green beans. The dish was flavoured with anise, which was not overpowering, but a delicious addition. The lentils were still chewy (not mushy) and the green beans crisp. The amount of cherries was also impressive and they were perfectly cooked and not too sweet. The anise sauce was so tasty that we could not stop dunking our bread into it, although I am surprised that the menu/waiter did not mention anise since many people do not like the spice due to its particular flavouring.
We enjoyed this delicious meal with a 2010 French Saumur white wine that the waiter recommended and we drunk away merrily. For dessert we indulged in a strawberry bavarois, a French delicacy. It is a swirled sponge cake layered with cream and fresh strawberry coulis, with a puddle of coulis on top. A knife is not needed to cut through this moist cake and we could not even finish it! Their dessert menu was plentiful and had desserts for one or to share, just like their menu. Other desserts included a pear charlotte, a peach melba, a chocolate tart, etc. We will be back to sample them all!
This was a great experience and though we were disappointed that we did not try pig tails or ears (or any other appendage), or the duck served in three ways, we were not disappointed with our options. Definitely a restaurant to return to, especially in the cold winter months when one tends to enjoy rich protein filled foods! This restaurant is not for the faint of heart but that is what the Montreal Food Divas specialize in.
Our Rating: Splendid
Tagged: Bar, Bone Marrow, Brunch, Calmars, Chalkboard Menu, Charcuterie, Chorizo, de lanaudiere, Duck, Le Chien Fumant, Montreal, Pig Tail, Plateau, Reservations Needed, Salami, Sopresatto, Splendid, Turkey Terrine