We’ve been so many times but we just can’t seem to stay away. Restaurant L’Express is a Montreal institution and you can read our first review HERE if you want to hear us gushing about its history and how it has stood the test of time. With a decent sized menu, and evening specials that change constantly, we soon tried so many new items that we were able to write a second review of this Parisian bistro in the Plateau.
Sometimes you have a bad day, and you need to drown your sorrows in a jar of gherkins. And what better place than Restaurant L’Express with their jar of sour gherkins on every table, their calming ambiance, and their delicious French bistro fare. Sometimes Diva #1 loves to just go with a friend, sit at the bar with a glass of wine and watch the people coming in and out. It’s a place where locals, celebrities and tourists converge; we even ran into Elliot Gould on one visit.
On one particular visit Diva #1 and P’tit Frère took Senior Diva for her birthday. Although we have a habit of associating Restaurant L’Express with fall or winter, they also have seasonal menu items on their evening specials which make it more in tune with the hotter months. We started our evening with their gazpacho, flavoured with tons of garlic and basil. It was topped with diced cucumbers and a dehydrated basil leaf. The soup was very refreshing and opened up the appetite.
Their famous fish soup is a classic at Restaurant L’Express. The creamy soup is full of flavour and it comes with crispy baguette slices with melted cheese and a seafood bisque-like sauce that is mayo based and almost as tasty as the soup itself. The homemade cheesy crostinis were absolute perfection when dipped in the delicious sauce. Although it’s the perfect soup for the colder months, it’s quite enjoyable in the summer as well!
We were intrigued by the evening specials so we ordered the roasted scallops. Tossed with greens, green bean pea pods, parsley and sea asparagus (which we adore), we loved this refreshing and simple take on scallops. The dish was not overly sauced; it was simply tossed with extra virgin olive oil, and radishes and red onion added a tang of flavour. It was the perfect refreshing summer appetizer that was well priced and a good portion.
We simple worship wild mushrooms and chanterelles are easily one of our favourites! The chanterelles ragu at Restaurant L’Express is made in a mushroom au jus sauce with red wine. Zucchini and carrots were tossed with the chanterelles for more flavour and crispy greens topped this dish. A very nice portion, we were soon dipping fresh baguette into the remaining sauce.
One of the most popular main dishes at Restaurant L’Express is their onglet steak with shallot butter for added richness – a typical bistro’s steak frites. The steak is always cooked to perfection, perfectly seasoned and tender. Senior Diva ordered it medium rare, which is the perfect way to enjoy steak. You can enjoy the onglet with either a green salad or fries, both are delicious, though we opted for the salad since we had fries with our tartare.
Their signature dish remains their perfect veal and mushroom ravioli made in house. The ravioli is stuffed with veal and mushrooms, and is topped with extra mushrooms for an added earthy flavour. The sauce is a veal au jus reduction, similar to a demi-glace sauce, with plenty of butter in that perfectly French way. The mushrooms are champignons de Paris and chives top this dish for that little zing. The portion doesn’t seem large but it’s very filling because of the rich and hearty sauce.
Of course when we go to Restaurant L’Express we have to order the steak tartare. Unlike the usual cubed beef that is served as tartare in Montreal restaurants, this bistro serves the ground beef exactly as it is served in Paris. We asked for it to be made spicy, and we love its taste and texture. Tossed with capers and spices, the steak tartare is the perfect dish for the French bistro foodie. We ordered our tartare with fries, although you can opt for a salad and it came with Restaurant L’Express’ perfect homemade mayo.
Although they oddly do not have a duck confit leg with salardaise potatoes on their Parisian bistro menu, they do have shredded duck confit on a salad. A generous amount of duck lay on a salad of greens with slices of radish, croutons and green beans. It was very lightly dressed but P’tit Frère described it as the perfect salad because glistening duck fat had rubbed off on the leaves enhancing the taste of the salad.
For dessert we tried the rum baba for something different, steering away from the usual French desserts that we order at Restaurant L’Express. Soaked with rum and topped with raisins, the rum baba was drenched in rum syrup, making the cake moister.
What can we say? No matter how often we return, including for their late night eats, we are impressed with Restaurant L’Express’ consistency. Their kitchen is open until 2 am from Monday to Saturday and until 1 am on Sunday. It’s our favourite gourmet late night eats restaurant in the city; you can click HERE for our guide. À votre santé!
Our Rating: Always on Thursdays
Tagged: 3927 Saint Denis, bistro, Duck, Duck Confit, Fish Soup, French, French Bistro, Gazpacho, H2W 2M1, L'Express Bistro, L'Express Montreal, L'Express Plateau, L'Express St-Denis, Late Night Montreal, Montreal, Montreal Restaurant, Onglet, Parisian Bistro, Plateau, Ravioli, Reservations Needed, Restaurant L’Express, Rum Baba, St-Denis, Steak, Steak Tartare, Tartare, wine