The Divas were invited to Le H4C’s opening event on August 21st 2013 and were excited to go. Diva #1 had her PhD comprehensive exam to study for and was looking for any reason to procrastinate and not read about Canadian politics. Diva #2 is always ready for a night out which was only made better when our Sensei said that he would come with us as our +1 (both Divas share his love). Sadly on the day of the event Diva #2 was plagued with a migraine, although Diva #1 is suspicious that she was in fact hung over… so Diva #1 went alone with her Sensei to the soft opening of Le H4C.
Sensei is no longer speaking to Diva #2 because he thinks she set him up. He loves Diva #1 but he prefers not to spend too much time alone with her as she can get rather affectionate and rambunctious with him. Diva #1 loves resistance so she is only encouraged when he squirms away from her love bites and sweet kisses. Since we were invited as bloggers, we were brought a complimentary drink and all of the amuses bouches of the night. Diva #1 awaited her Sensei with a glass of champagne and looked around the trendy little restaurant that was packed with patrons and filled with servers carrying interesting looking dishes.
There were five amuses bouches in all. The shucked oyster with a cucumber ice gelatin and sake was delicious and refreshing. Diva #1 was told that this was not meant to be on their original menu but added last minute, and it was a splendid addition. Diva #1 loved the chicken liver mousse with a marinated apple slice on a piece of bread. The mousse was very flavourful, almost gamey, and very creamy. The strong taste of this amuse bouche was a pleasant surprise.
The lobster with tarragon in a puff pastry was good but sadly the lobster was not prevalent. We could taste something fishy, but it was light and did not taste like lobster. The fried piece of pork with gribiche sauce was very delicious and the marinated red onion topping the amuse bouche really added to the bite of meaty goodness. The pork was not over fried and very tender.
Last but not least the salmon gravlax was the most generous portion with droplets of blended avocado and smears of kimchi. The rice crisps that were served with the salmon were delicious and something should be said for the freshness of the fish and its aromatic flavour.
We decided to try two appetizers but could not decide which ones. The foie gras with lobster mushrooms sounded delectable, as did the calamari with chorizo and herring. In the end we opted for the roasted carrots with chicken skin, quinoa, black bread and garlic. It was a delicious combination, the different carrots were very tender and flavourful, and the chicken skin was not only plentiful but perfectly crisped. The bites of quinoa would come with surprising pieces of chicken skin and it made for an original and delicious appetizer. BUT…sadly Sensei found a hair in his dish… this is unacceptable and he found it as the dish was placed in front of him, so it could not have been his own.
For our second appetizer we wanted to order the veal tongue but we were told that it was replaced with the boudin (blood sausage), but still cooked in the same manner as the veal tongue. This too was delicious although the appetizer was smaller than the carrots and chicken skin starter. The boudin was served with peaches, fennel, mustard and yogurt. The yogurt was tart and very interesting when coupled with the mustard and boudin. We quickly ate this up and waited a long time until our main plates arrived.
Diva #1 was happy to be chatting with her Sensei, although it was difficult not to get loud, he really doesn’t like it when she becomes too ethnic and garish around him. The wait for our mains was long but they gave us a complimentary glass of wine each since they recognized that we were waiting awhile. Diva #1 happily drank away while Sensei fought off her affections.
Our mains arrived; we had wisely chosen a seafood dish and one meat dish. Le H4C has a total of four seafood dishes on the menu, three meat dishes and a vegetarian pasta option. We enjoyed the octopus with fennel, homemade gnocchi and Jerusalem artichokes. The octopus was grilled and tender and went very well with the artichoke hearts, a delicious combination. Diva #1 is very picky with her octopus but Le H4C impressed her.
Our second main was our favourite of the two. The veal sweetbreads were so tender that they rivaled most offal that the Divas have tried. It was a generous portion served with corn, potatoes and armillaria mellea, a type of small honey mushroom. Served in au jus, this plate was delicious and something that Diva #1 would surely return for. Our only complaint with this dish was that it was lacking more sides, the potatoes were good but more vegetables could have been added to truly complete this dish. We happily ate away and, for once, Sensei seemed almost cheerful and not his usual cranky self.
At this point Sensei made nice with a guy sitting next to him, he needed a break from Diva #1. We were seated at the bar which is great if you are just two people, and at Le H4C you can observe both the bartender and the open kitchen behind the bar. We were pleasantly full but wanted to try a dessert. Our options included a dessert with blueberries, black sesames, coconut and meringue, and another with strawberries, white chocolate, yogurt and tarragon. We opted for the third option which was the peaches with bulgur cake, saffron and yogurt. Once again the yogurt was a very good tart yogurt that tasted very natural. Fresh peaches and dried peaches were part of this dessert and though it was decent it did not wow us. The bulgur cake lacked luster and more could have been done with the peaches.
Le H4C is now officially open for business, they do not take reservations for more than eight people in their dining room, and they do not take terrace reservations. That being said, they also have a private room with a separate bar that can seat up to twenty people with a flexible set menu for private events. Their wine and bubbly list is extensive for a small restaurant. Their website advertises that they will soon be open for brunch on Sundays but for now they are open for dinner from Tuesday to Saturday. The place is trendy and the décor is simple, we are sure that it will be popular with people in St-Henri who want a quick bite or drink after work. The Divas hope to see you there!
Our Rating: As Expected
Tagged: 538 Pl Saint-Henri, Bar, Beef, Blood Sausage, Bubbly, Calamari, Chantal Paradis, Chef Dany Bolduc, Chicken Skin, Cocktails, foie gras, Fruit Desserts, H4C, H4C 2R6, Halibut, Jerusalem Artichokes, Lamb, Le H4C, Le H4C Montreal, Le H4C Saint-Henri, Le H4C Sud-Ouest, Lobster, Lobster Mushrooms, Mackerel, Marc-Andrée Vallée, Montreal, Montreal Restaurant, Octopus, Opening Event, oysters, Place St-Henri, Quinoa, Reservations Needed, Saint-Henri, Salmon, Salmon Gravlax, Soft Opening, South-West, St-Henri, Sud-Ouest, Sunday Brunch, Sweet Breads, terrace, Tortellini, Veal Tongue, wine