On numerous Friday mornings, Diva #2 has often been found on Diva #1’s couch after an infamous Thursday night out. Senior Diva doesn’t enter Diva #1’s apartment often, but she has learnt to avoid the place on Friday mornings where she can find groups of girls hung over, drinking cappuccinos, and rushing because we are late for work. Actually, Senior Diva also avoids the place on Thursday nights when those same girls are tipsy, sipping cocktails, and rushing because we are late for dinner.
The truth of the matter is that she is so used to Diva #2, she is part of the family, which also means that she can yell at her and beat her like family. Therefore, it was only natural that Diva #2 joined Diva #1 and Senior Diva for a birthday dinner celebration at Le Filet, albeit two months late. Of course the Divas were late…
Le Filet, the little sister restaurant of Club Chasse et Pêche, is located in the Plateau district on Mont Royal Ave., and has been garnering buzz since it opened in 2011. The restaurant was packed and loud when the Divas arrived first. Soon after being seated and greeted by our attentive waiter, Senior Diva called to say she couldn’t find parking and was just going to turn around and go home. Typical melodramatic Diva behaviour! Diva #1 offered to take the car and find her parking, Senior Diva proceeded to curse and hang up…. sweetness runs in the family.
The Divas knew that the only way to calm Senior Diva was by ensuring that her cocktail awaited her when she finally arrived. The Divas enjoyed a Bloody Caesar and a gin and tonic, and we ordered a dirty gin martini for Senior Diva. This almost guaranteed that she wouldn’t beat us when she arrived. The drinks were delicious and were finished by the time Senior Diva arrived.
Our waiter returned and explained that the dishes were tapas size and he recommended two to three per person. We asked him for a wine recommendation and chose a dry Chardonnay from the Appalachian Valley; it was exquisite. After pretending to scan the menu, we may have frightened our waiter, which is not a first, by the amount we ordered but we couldn’t resist all the delicious sounding dishes. He kept telling us to order less but we wanted to try everything!
Our meal started with oysters with a miso gratin. This is a great way to introduce someone to the wonderful world of oysters with three to a serving. They were not overly fishy or gooey, which many people who want to try oysters are put off by. Presented on a mound of coarse salt, the aroma was splendid as it hit the table. A charred top, the oyster was meaty, warm and the cheese was perfectly melted. A fantastic start to our meal, we could have easily eaten several dozen! Other oyster toppings included an interesting Yuzu marmalade and jalapeno maple cracker; both are something to try next time. Our only complaint is that the topping was so flavourful that it was hard to detect the oyster in there, but it was an exquisite topping.
The Divas hardly ever order salads at restaurants. We don’t feel the need to eat rabbit food when there is so much more to enjoy. However, when the salad is topped with house smoked duck, we reconsider. The duck was cooked perfectly pink, the green beans were still crisp, and the raspberry vinaigrette was just tart enough to match perfectly with the sweet amaretti cookie crumbs. This salad was breathtaking. The sourness of the raspberry reduction coupled with the sweetness of the amaretti made for a perfect combination with the rich duck.
We also chose one of the raw fish dishes, the fluke. Cut thick and dotted with refreshing and crunchy diced cucumber and dollops of wasabi, which was not too intense, the fish was meaty and fresh. The plum sauce that was pooled around the presentation added a nice flavour as did the crunchy thin orange slices of something absolutely delicious, but to be honest, we have no idea what it was. A little raw tapas was the perfect palate cleanser for the heavy dishes to come. Other raw menu items include a tataki of wagyu with eggplant and miso, and a tuna tartare with egg confit and nori tempura.
In between delicious bites of food, Senior Diva regaled us with stories of growing up in the Plateau and a few family stories which gave Diva #2 a little more insight into Diva #1’s upbringing. Diva #2 is just being polite, what she really means is that she now knows that Diva #1 never stood a chance, she just couldn’t be normal, even if she had tried.
The half lobster was next, it was buttery and the hollandaise and lobster juice that pooled in the shell was mouthwatering. A piece of bread to soak it up would have been great. Senior Diva enjoyed the dish so much she started breaking off the lobster legs and sucking them clean. At this point Diva #1 had to turn away from her villager mother eating the lobster at Le Filet like it was her last meal.
Then the sweetbreads with squash gnocchi and lobster arrived. The sweetbreads had a nice crust on the outside and were still soft and tender on the inside. The squash gnocchi were cooked perfectly and held the sauce well. The wonderful gnocchi paired well with the porcini mushrooms. The lobster added small bursts of flavour but did not overtake the dish. It was a complex dish that could have just been too much but was instead a great combination of flavours. Another interesting seafood dish that sounded promising but we did not order, was the grilled octopus with Israeli couscous and Meyer lemon coulis. There was just too much to choose from!
Being in a French bistro, it was hard to resist the mushroom and snail tart. We initially thought it would be too salty but instead the pastry was flaky, the bacon did not overpower any element of the dish, it rather gave it a nice hint of smokiness and the arugula pesto had a subtle peppery bite. We were happy to see there was a mix of mushrooms and not just the boring white button mushroom. The earthy mushrooms paired perfectly with the generous portion of snails which were equally meaty. It was very delicious and the puff pastry was perfect, as expected from a restaurant like Le Filet.
The pork flank with seared scallops and polenta made us happy. This is how pork should be – tender and falling apart. The scallops were cooked perfectly, lightly seared. All too often, they are either undercooked or rubbery. Le Filet made them perfect. And the polenta was very creamy and absorbed all the delicious juices from the pork. Honestly Le Filet did not make one mediocre dish, every plate was more impressive than the last and we want to return soon to try more of their tapas.
Our last dish, which was Diva #1’s favourite, was the cavatelli with foie gras and veal cheek. Absolutely stunning. The contrast between the hot pasta and the cold, shaved foie gras torchon was amazing; it simply melted in your mouth and the amount of foie gras on the dish was ridiculous. There was also plenty of large chunks of veal cheek that fell apart and was beyond tender, almost melting into the sauce. Just looking at the picture makes us salivate and our stomachs grumble.
Other interesting items included the crab risotto with asparagus and shellfish au jus but we were stuffed to the gills. Diva #1 was so full that she went out for drinks with Sweet Pea that night and couldn’t even drink one cocktail. Let’s be honest… the Divas are always drinking.
As Senior Diva reminded us, she needed something starchy to help her digest all of this rich food. The Divas order food based on cravings, we aren’t very good with practical decisions. We opted for a side dish of whipped potatoes which provided starch but all wrapped up in creamy goodness. Whipped potatoes sounds so simple, but it was velvety and the perfect comfort food.
After all this, there was room for just one dessert amongst us three. We were celebrating a birthday after all. We asked our waiter for his opinion and he described the maple syrup square as “insane” and he was right! He explained how the desserts change all the time but this one is so popular it is almost permanently on the menu. It was rich and smooth and not too sweet, even though we thought it would be because of the maple, and the whipped cream (which was not from a can) weirdly cut the slight sweetness perfectly. And though we were full, we kept eating.
Other desserts to indulge in at future visits include the a hazelnut and chocolate parfait with caramel sauce and English cream, and a pistachio cake with milk crumble, lemon ice cream and Quebec raspberries.
Our meal at Le Filet was fantastic. The atmosphere was great, the service attentive and the food was incredible. This could have been our last meal and we would have been happy! Not only will the Divas be recommending this restaurant to others but we will definitely be back to enjoy it again! Happy Birthday Senior Diva, thanks for being fabulous.
Our Rating: Always on Thursdays
Tagged: 219 Mont-Royal, Always on Thursdays, Amaretti, Appalachian Valley, Arctic Char, Chardonnay, Chef Clause Pelletier, Chef Yasu Okazaki, Cocktails, Crab Risotto, Fish, Fluke, foie gras, French, Gnocchi, Grilled Octopus, H2T 2T2, Hollandaise, Japanese Plum, Lamb Medallions, Le Club Chasse et Pêche, Le Filet, Le Filet Mont-Royal, Le Filet Montreal, Le Filet Plateau, Lobster, Maple Syrup Square, Mont Royal, Montreal, Montreal Restaurant, oysters, Plateau, Polenta, Pork Flank, Raw, Red Snapper, Reservations Needed, Scallops, Sea Urchin, Smoked Duck Salad, Smoked Mackerel, Snails, Sweetbreads, tapas, Tataki, Tuna Tartare, Veal Cheek, Wagyu, wine, Yuzu Marmalade