If you have always wanted to go to Restaurant Toqué but did not want to pay the cost of expensive fine dining, then Brasserie T its sister restaurant is your route. Opened in 2010 right in Quartier des Spectacles you will find Brasserie T in a white trailer like building adjacent to Place des Arts. Once inside you will discover a narrow 55 seat restaurant serving great and inexpensive French Bistro/Pub food. The outside holds a 45 seat terrace overlooking the Place des Festival to boot, great for people watching in summer and being in the crux of the action and catching a show.
It is great to see a renown chef like Normand Laprise branch out and offer his favorite clientele a chance to try his cuisine. The restaurant has been getting great reviews since it opening and has become a resounding hit with all types of diners in Montreal. I had a chance to first try Brasserie T last fall and I fell in love with it. The atmosphere and clientele were hip and cool; the music was great and the food affordable and tasty. I loved the buzz of the place. Here, I felt the pulse of our vibrant city, Montreal-the place I call home…just simply intoxicating!
The first time here we sampled the salmon tartar, pate de foie de volaille and bavette with fries and for dessert the puff pastry with strawberries ,whipped cream and crème brulée. All the dishes were exceptional and hit the mark . Not too salty or too sweet, not bland, just purrrfect! Even the smell of the fries as we walked in made our mouths water.
The second time around, after hewing and hawing so much over Brasserie T, my sister and her husband wanted to give it a shot! Here from the US we wanted to replicate the dinner we had a few months back. We started with two exceptional bottles from their private yet affordable collection of imported wines. Most bottles are under $ 70.00, a Bordeaux from France and a red from Argentina. Both pairing well with our choice of food, even with the fish we ordered. For entrées we started with Oysters, sautéed mushrooms with soft poached egg, salmon tartar and the terrine de foie gras. My sautéed mushrooms were flavourful and tasty; the creaminess of the egg yolk was exquisite as it spread over with the morsels of buttered sautéed fungi. The oysters were good, but not as good as Chesapeake Oysters,my sister said, but fresh nonetheless and accompanied with lots of lemon. The pate de foie gras was quite generic and a little on the too cold side. Maybe serving it a little closer to room temperature would have brought out more flavors. The salmon tartar was also good but lacked the explosive flavors and freshness of the other tartar my sister had sampled at Tandem during her last visit to Montreal during the holidays.
The flank steak I ordered was served medium rare and very tender and juicy, it went very well with my glass of Bordeaux, but the beurre blanc was overpowering and too salty. The classic Belgian fries, that were so crisp and delicious upon our first visit were a little on the soggy side. The walleye fish with cleric side was lacking in flavour too. The wow factor was completely lacking this evening!
For dessert, the a hazelnut-heavy Paris-Brest with its pâte à choux shell was satisfactory to my guests, the two lemon meringue were much more tasty and tart and with espresso coffees to compliment the end of the meal and completing the evening.
The service throughout the evening provided by our soft spoken waitress was courteous, professional and very sympathetic; she tried her best to speak English to our American guests.
Overall the second visit was half satisfying. I would not write this place off so soon, it must have been an off night and this sometimes happens in the kitchen. We will blame it on Festival des Lumière…it sapped the energy out of this place for the rest of the month…
Chef Hats: 4.5