The Divas have tried dining at Le Quartier Général on several occasions but reservations were hard to come by. Finally, after a bit of advanced planning, a rarity for us since our plans are never really set until we’re sitting at our table, we managed to snag a table for four on a Friday night.We had heard about this place from one of our readers. We had complained on our blog that there were no good BYOW places in Montreal, you know, the type that don’t sacrifice the quality of the food! One nice reader recommended that we should try Le Quartier Général and we are certainly glad that we listened to her.
We started with our customary pre-dinner drink (or drinks) before meeting up with Whitey for another pre-dinner drink at Ellada, where she was having dinner. We drank some more, and truly took the expression “pre-drink” to the next level… which is simply “drinking.” So the Divas went to Le Quartier Général, a little buzzed, to dine and drink with Vegan Vixen and Sweet Pea.
We came equipped with three bottles of red wine to keep us warm on this blustery Montreal night – 4 girls and 3 bottles of wine can cause some serious damage, not to mention all the cocktails that we had consumed before arriving. Seated near the fireplace and near one of the chalkboard menus, our waitress quickly greeted us and opened one of our bottles. She gave us time to look over the menu, letting us know that for an additional 12$, we could add an appetizer and dessert to any main dish, which was already coming with the choice of soup or salad. This is the table d’hôte menu at Le Quartier Général, and well worth the cost.
Between the four of us, we tried both the soup and the salad as starters. The salad was a simple mix of greens with radishes, carrots and balsamic dressing. The vegetables were fresh and the dressing of a high quality olive oil and vinegar. The soup was a cream of parsnip soup. Very creamy and smooth, it hit the spot…probably because it was -35 outside and we were frozen. Garnished with some celery and carrot, and dusted with cracked black pepper, the soup was divine, even the though the Divas rarely order soup.
The Divas wanted many of the appetizers at Le Quartier Général. Sweet Pea wanted the octopus but we swayed her towards the tartare… by feverishly insisting. Le Quartier Général has a menu online but it changes depending on market fresh ingredients, , this is where their chalkboard menu comes in. The tartare of the night was beef, served with mushrooms, a caper berry, a large crostini and sweet potato chips. The beef was tender and described as being mixed with maple but sweetness did not overpower the raw meat. Rather the hint of sweetness was more apparent as coming from the crunchy sweet potato chips piled on top of the meat. The mushrooms were mini king oyster mushrooms which Sweet Pea described as looking like sperm mushrooms. Don’t ask… she is a classy lady, we swear! The mushrooms were pickled, therefore vinegary, and added to the meatiness of the dish.
Vegan Vixen had never tried soft shelled crab but it was on par with her flexitarian way of eating so we convinced her to get it. We were a little intrusive that night (like most nights), hinting at what everyone should order, but there were just so many scrumptious appetizers to choose from. We loved the soft shell crab. Sitting in a creamy sauce, the crab had a deep roasted flavour, and the outside shell was still slightly crispy. It was so good that we would have been tempted to eat the whole crab even if it wasn’t soft shell! We used our bread to dunk into the dish and finish the sauce.
Diva #2 loves her little piggies; she knew that she wanted the Gaspor pork. The pork was breaded, deep fried, and served on a creamy bulgur salad. And even though some of the juices from the pork had mixed into the salad, Vegan Vixen stole a few bites of the salad. Deep inside she loves her meat! [Insert dirty joke here] The salad was fresh and light, and was paired perfectly with the meat which was neither dry nor dripping in grease.
Diva #1 just had to order the foie gras, which was an additional 7-10$; there is a disparity between the price on the chalkboard menu versus the online menu. Two large slices of fatty duck liver were perfectly grilled with impeccable char lines. The foie gras was caramelized on the outside, but so tender and creamy on the inside. Just the way it should be! Served on a brioche and draped with a mild onion and fruit chutney, each bite was decadent.
While waiting for our mains and starting our second bottle of red, Diva #2 and Vegan Vixen discovered that they were both asked out by the same guy, whom they had met on the same night. Here’s some free advice boys, close friends tell each other everything … it isn’t the wisest decision to ask out two girls from the same group. Make a little effort in using your brain instead of other parts of your anatomy, it might impress us more.
Main courses were next and included duck, rabbit and a plate of seafood. The large duck breast was cooked perfectly, still pink in the middle. They even asked us how we would like it cooked, which restaurants do so infrequently with duck breast. It was tender and there was still a generous amount of fat on the breast, crisped and golden, and slightly melted into the meat for richness. It was served on a purée of sweet potato and a wonderful reduced duck au jus sauce, which offset the sweetness of the potatoes to just the right balance of salty and sweet. The dish was savory and impressive, especially for a BYOW restaurant.
The rabbit was displayed in an impressive manner. The leg and thigh of the rabbit provided a lot of meat and were served simply with carrots and parsnips. It was served on a purée of what Vegan Vixen thought was a sweet potato and parsnip mix, and she knows her vegetables. The meat was tender though an extra dash of salt would have made this dish exceptional. Once again juice from the rabbit was incorporated with the vegetables to tie the entire dish together. This dish also brought us enjoyment because we sent a photo of it to Rambo, she doesn’t eat rabbit because she has one as a pet and she cannot look into his beady little eyes and eat his brethren.
The scallops and shrimps were plentiful and cooked well. They were served with a lentil salad, brussel sprouts and a purée of sweet caramelized onions. Besides the delicious seafood, our issues were that the lentils were too bland and the onions too sweet. We feel that this may have been Vegan Vixen’s fault since she asked to have the dish made without lardons. Sometimes we wonder why we still talk to her… taking out lardons from a chef’s plate is blasphemous.
Bad decisions always make for good stories and when you’re a small group, on your third bottle of red, everything seems like a good idea. This is when we started plotting our next night out with some men that we know. The barrage of texts started again, including some to the same guys that were texted by Diva #1 during our night at Joverse. Suffice to say, an eventful evening was in the works… but in the end, aren’t all our evenings rather eventful?
Meanwhile it was time for dessert. The apple crumble was presented in a deconstructed manner. It had tons of stewed apples under a short bread cookie top which was a little difficult to break but we managed nonetheless. It was topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Simple but good.
The Marquis has a wafer like bottom topped with a very dense, dark chocolate mousse that simply melted on the tongue. Combined with macerated berries and a swirl of berry coulis, the dessert was excellent. We were very impressed and it actually went very well with red wine, as we were still in the process of finishing our third bottle when the dessert had arrived.
The lemon curd was a frozen dessert topped with a layer of fluffy lemon mousse and sprinkled with graham crumbs. It was very refreshing and a must if you love lemons. P’tit Frère would have loved this dessert as he loves ice cream and anything with lemons! Diva #1 was really impressed with the potent citrus flavour and loved the sweet sprinkled graham crumbs on top of the bitter lemon mousse topping.
The crème brûlée had a thick sugar top and once we cracked into it, the custard was rich and creamy. It is hard to go wrong with crème brûlée at a French restaurant! It was garnished with a ground cherry and single blackberry, for a tart bite. The dessert reminded the Divas of the crème brûlée chocolate bar that we used to keep in our desk at work … we need to start buying it again.
Le Quartier Général offers a cozy atmosphere, great service and delicious food at very reasonable prices. If you’re looking for a good BYOW restaurant, make sure to add this restaurant to your list. We can confidently say that there is probably no better BYOW in Montreal, and we are very happy that one of our readers told us about this place. As for the Divas and friends, we left Le Quartier Général a little tipsy, full and ready to find the Artist at a bar in the Plateau to celebrate her birthday.
Our Rating: Splendid
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