It’s no secret The Divas are not morning people, unless coming home at 4 am makes us morning people. So the irony isn’t lost on us when we received a few opportunities to showcase our blog on Global Montreal Foodie Fridays. Though we started off anonymously, one phone call from Global Morning News and we shed our anonymity like a dress on prom night, as our majestic Sensei likes to say!
During our last appearance on Global Montreal, co-host Camille Ross exclaimed that she and the girls would like to come out with us. A few weeks later, Camille, Jess, and behind the scenes associate producer Gloria, picked a date for a Diva Night. But what is a Diva night? In simple terms it is a lot of food, even more alcohol and some bad decisions that lead to PTSD in the morning. We didn’t want to scare them during their first Diva dinner so we were rather well behaved…Diva #1 even drove, which ensured moderate sobriety!
We went to Le Local on William Street, in Old Montreal. The Divas and friends had been before and had enjoyed the food and atmosphere. We invited Vegan Vixen, Sweet Pea, Sensei and Zeus, who again couldn’t join us because he was off riling up a Greek village with his klarino aka clarinet, à la pied piper. But that’s another story for another time…
We had already had our pre-dinner drinks at Diva #1’s house, as usual. We waited for the Global Girls to arrive, cocktails already in front of us. We had the Cucumber Tonic which was refreshing. It was also the first time any restaurant added freshly ground black pepper to the cocktail and we loved the subtle hint of spice. We also had a dirty gin martini, smooth and crisp; it was perfect, garnished with green olives.
The Global Girls arrived, but sadly Gloria who was sick. Everyone quickly settled in and we introduced our friends and their alter egos. Our waiter brought the bread, a choice of either country or olive, and took more drink orders after explaining the specials for the night. His head was almost bitten off when he addressed Vegan Vixen as “Madame” instead of “Mademoiselle”. She is truly a breath of fresh air… The conversation flowed as if we were old friends, with topics ranging from work and family to topics not suitable for AM television
One of the Global Girls started with the beet salad. The beets were cooked al dente, the truffle oil was apparent but not overpowering and the goat cheese added a little bit of tang to counter the salty bacon, while the Scotch egg added some richness once it was broken open.
Diva #2 and Camille had the salmon tartare made simply with truffle oil and lime juice, served on a black slate plate. There is also the option to have this as a main meal, served with either a salad or fries. It was fresh, light and perfect. Our waiter even brought over extra baguette crisps without us asking!
We had promised our Sensei that we would be on our best behaviour, he had even given us a list of things not to say or do; he truly does keep us in line! He didn’t even need to glare at Diva #1 and tell her to behave, even he was impressed with us.
Diva #1 ordered the falafel style crab cake that was made to be more Arabic-like than southern. The breading was thick, served with baba ghanouj, tzatziki salad and a grilled red pepper purée. This was a very interesting style of crab cake; it was not the traditional type but made with varied spices and flavours. The crab taste was not very apparent in the falafel but it was good nonetheless. On the other hand, you cannot beat a Louisiana crab cake!
We also had three items from the seasonal portion of the menu. The mushroom tart was flaky and filled with mixed mushrooms; it needed a bit more salt to bring together the smooth squash purée and goat cheese mousseline. It was a very delicious mushrooms tart and we were glad that we had told Vegan Vixen that she had to order it.
Our dear Sensei had the Japanese steam bun filled with meaty sweet snails. It was definitely the most interesting appetizer of the soirée. It made him happy and reminded him of his trip to Japan with his bestie, Mr. Old Fashioned. There was plenty of filling and the bun was very soft, although we would have loved it had the Kimchi been spicier. The Divas like it hot!
The best appetizer was simple but perfection; it was the creamy sweet onion soup. Sweet Pea ordered this dish and it packed the most flavour. Think of it as a thicker, smokier French onion soup with just enough sweetness to balance it all. Not your traditional French onion soup, we didn’t know what to expect when it came to the table. The bacon emulsion really added to every bite and the cheese on the croutons was a perfect pairing.
There was a clear divide at the table with half of us ordering fish and the other half duck. The arctic char was cooked perfectly, flaky to the touch but not overcooked. Served with chorizo roasted cabbage which had a tiny bit of spice to give it a kick, the arancini nestled on top was a surprise addition to the plate. And the Divas love surprises! Well, we love them when we are in complete control of them Made with fennel and tarragon, the arancini was deep fried but not the usual Italian concoction that the Divas are used to. It was crusty but the interior remained creamy, much like the texture of the fish.
A couple of us were intrigued by the catch of the day which was black cod, served with a parsnip purée and root vegetables. This was the better of the two fish, glazed with honey and soy, it gave the skin a shine and extra crisp which added volumes of flavour to each bite, as did the fried cipollinis. The parsnip purée was smooth and the roasted carrots and salsify, not a vegetable we often see on menus, added a hearty element to the dish. If you happen to see the black cod on the menu at Le Local, definitely order it, you will not regret it.
Two duck dishes were next. The French bistro classic duck leg confit was served with salad and a poached egg. Diva #1 had ordered this dish before and never regrets it. The meat was succulent and paired well with the warm grilled vegetable salad. The poached egg added extra richness to the dish which usually comes from the potato salardaise that are traditionally served with duck confit. The dish was topped with a generous amount of parmesan shavings to add an extra salty bite. It was lovely and the orange flavoured mayonnaise only added to each rich bite.
The second duck dish of the night was reminiscent of a favourite Diva dish. It was cheese ravioli with duck confit and shiitake mushrooms. We had had this before as well! A hearty dish for sure, the pasta was cooked al dente and there was plenty of duck and shiitake mushrooms on the plate. This is a great comfort food dish. The sauce was made with a thickened au just sauce and the arugula wilted nicely with the heat of the ingredients.
We were all full from great food and wine. But there’s always room for dessert. There are quite a few to choose from and we had a selection at our table. The ice cream flavour on this night was chocolate hazelnut. Two scoops to a serving, it was smooth and creamy. Unfortunately for the Global Girls, it tasted more like hazelnut than chocolate, so they were disappointed.
Sensei was intrigued by their untraditional sounding tiramisu but he was left disappointed. The serving was very small, regardless that the serving plate was oversized. The lady fingers were delicate and soft, which was as expected, but the mascarpone was plain and the Porto and fig jelly and caramel didn’t shine. We expected more because the description sounded fabulous but no one was wowed.
We also ordered the petit pot de caramel which was delicious. Served in a small jar, it was creamy, rich with the espresso ganache and the sprinkling of fleur de sel, which rounded out all the flavours. It was served with pieces of moist financier cake pieces. This was the best dessert of the night!
The petit pot de caramel was served on the same cutting board as our Sucré et Salé. This was a more complex dessert, with many different elements. The apple terrine was delicious and paired with the cheddar crumble, we really loved it. The fennel ice cream had a strong anise taste that was toned down by the fig-apple purée. There was also candied fennel and smoked almonds strewn on the plate. It was all intense and quite original.
The Divas and friends had a great night at Le Local with the Global Girls who usually see us early in the morning at the studio, fairly quiet and calm. They had a chance to see us in our natural habitat – at night, full of life, drinks in hand, and plenty of great food, surrounded by our close friends. We even began planning a future night full of dancing and this time, bad decisions. They got to see us at our best but next time we will be at our worse! You can be sure that we’ll return to Le Local, we are hoping to see their lobster roll back on the summer menu. And who knows, maybe we will be back on Global for Foodie Friday!
Our Rating: Average
Tagged: 700 Rue William, Arctic Char, Beet Salad, Black Cod, Camille Ross, Camille Ross Global, Cheese Ravioli, Chef Olivier Belzile, Cocktails, Crab Cake, Duck Confit, French, Global Foodie Friday, Global Montreal, Global Morning News, H3C 4C9, Ice Cream, Japanese Steam Bun, Le Local, Le Local Montreal, Le Local Montreal Restaurant, Le Local William, Montreal Food, Montreal Restaurant, Mushroom Tart, Old Montreal, Old Montreal Restaurant, Pot de Caramel, Reservation Needed, rue William, Salmon Tartare, Sucré et Salé, Sweet Onion Soup, Tartare, Tiramisu