Montreal is bursting with restaurants, we sometimes can’t keep up! So for us to return to a restaurant shortly after our first visit, well, we must be in love with the menu. French bistros are not a rarity in our city but good French bistros are. Le Valois in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve area of Montreal is a touch out of the way but worth the adventure. With a gorgeous terrace overlooking a discrete quarter, and mouth-watering dishes, we returned to Le Valois after promising ourselves that we would order only new dishes from their extensive menu.
Diva #1 was hesitant when the guys from Montreall.com ordered the calamari; calamari is just so passé and typically the same in every restaurant. This was not the case at Le Valois, as the calamari was grilled instead of fried, drizzled in olive oil and fresh parsley, and lay on a piquillo pepper sauce which added a lovely touch of heat and a burst of flavour.
At a French bistro, you order the foie gras! What’s divine about Le Valois is that you can choose between pan seared foie gras or foie gras torchon which is more similar to pâté. We opted for the pan seared foie gras that was cooked to perfection with a plum purée, crostini and some fleur de sel which brought out the complex flavours of this delicate piece of meat. Not for everyone but surely for French food aficionados, this dish is simple but prepared well.
Goat cheese croquettes on a salad are a great lunch option in French bistros. Again, Le Valois takes this quintessential bistro dish to the next level by allowing the goat cheese croquette to sit on a creamy red beet purée instead of just tossing the croquette with beets. Greens with olive oil and fleur de sel topped the croquette, and caramelized nuts were strewn on the plate. The nuts added a textural element and some sweetness to the commonly tart goat cheese.
We promised to only try new dishes but we were craving the refreshing salmon gravlax that we had enjoyed on our first visit. Thinly sliced, the gravlax arrived with a house made guacamole as well as a cucumber salad made with sour cream and lime juice. It’s the perfect palate cleanser in between richer appetizers.
One of the guys from Montreall.com is constantly on a strict diet so he indulged in the arctic char with eggplant caviar, artichoke, and a coriander emulsion. We did not get a chance to indulge in this whole fish; he didn’t share! But he seemed to enjoy it and the presentation was absolutely beautiful 😉
And since some of us (not Diva #1) were on a health kick, the quinoa salad with avocado was ordered. In an orange vinaigrette, the quinoa salad arrived with grilled tofu and crunchy pistachios, greens, carrots and cucumbers. This vegetarian dish, amongst others at Le Valois, demonstrates how even French bistros, which are heavy on meat and cheese, can accommodate a vegetarian clientele.
You rarely see Toulouse sausages on Montreal menus; it’s a pork sausage whose dominant ingredients are red wine and garlic, amongst varied herbs. At Le Valois the sausages were served on a bed of mashed potatoes that were prepared with olive oil. The mashed potatoes were sitting in a pool of old fashioned mustard sauce that was finger-licking good. It was a very rich dish, served with root vegetables and greens that were cooked to perfection.
If you’re going to go French, you’re going to have to dabble in the mussels. At Le Valois local mussels are prepared according to the chef’s whim. On our visit we enjoyed them in a garlic white wine broth with plenty of fresh herbs. They arrived with tons of fries and we were soon slurping at the remaining broth with our spoons. We were quite committed to the cause!
Last but not least we had the absolute oral pleasure of enjoying the duck and pan seared foie gras hamburger. Take a moment to internalize that the main ingredients in this delectable hamburger are in fact duck and foie gras. No other ingredients matter, although the caramelized onions were a pleasant touch, this burger was filling and dirty good. We were so eager to eat it that Diva #1 had already bitten into it before she realized that she should have snapped a photo! How can we ever eat regular burgers again?
But of course it isn’t all about eating, drinking and having fun (although it should be) – dear readers we do have to put in the legwork! Sometimes (well at least for the guys of Montreall.com), that means climbing on tables to snap photos of dishes and maximize the use of daylight.
We’ll be back to Le Valois, especially because this time we were too full for dessert, and we aren’t making that mistake again! Trust us, if we keep going back, you should make your way there.
Our Rating: Always on Thursdays
Tagged: 25 Simon Valois Pl, Ar ctic Char, Calamari, Duck, Duck Burger, Duck Confit, Fish, foie gras, Foie Gras Burger, French Bistro, Goat Cheese, Gravlax, H1W 0A6, Hamburger, Hochelaga-Mais onneuve, Le Valois, Le Valois Bis tro, Le Valois Montreal, Montre al French, Montreal, Montreal Food, Montreal Restaurant, Mussels, Salmon Gravlax, Sausage, Squid, terrace, Thomas Ginieis, Toulous Sausage, Vegetarian