11680 De Salaberry /rue Barcelone
(Parking lot of le Marche de L’Ouest)
Dollard –des-Ormeaux, Québec
Cost: $35.64 (excluding tip) per person with 1 martini cocktail
Chef Hats: 3.5
La Verità means truth in Italian and this restaurant’s website tagline boasts that “the truth is out”. It may be very àpropos as a marketing gimmick at the inception to use this tagline to draw new clientele to the launching of this fine dining modern Italian restaurant. But after six years the truth never came up when I asked people who had dined here what they thought! So I kind of stayed away. As a matter of fact it is my turn to be honest with you. I was not told the truth at all and was led to believe otherwise. What a shame! Were people keeping a secret?
I have surmised, at least that as human beings we are all very different. We have individual expectations of life, we have had different expériences and our tastes and our dining choices are reflective of that. Most of the time our opinions can be and will be very subjective based on different circumstances and events. They will also be based on our moods at the moment. Therefore, as a foodie it is difficult to recommend restaurants to people. Over the years when asked this question, I always asked many questions back. I have tried to streamline and guess what the other person really wanted. The main basic questions I always ask back are: what type of food are you craving, what kind of ambiance are you looking for and what is your budget. If someone is looking for casual and cheap, I don’t send them to fine dining, and vice versa. Many times people have come back to me and have told me they have had a bad experience. Not so much for the fact that the place wasn’t good, but it was all about the personal expectations, the company they were with, the bad service, their state of mind at the time or mood and of course some outside factors beyond my control. Let me extrapolate further and offer you my version.
It was a beautiful sunny summer Monday and after a long stressful day at work, I did not want to go home. I was in the mood to unwind after a hard day with a few fruity martinis on a terrace and get served, instead of always being the proverbial cook and servant. So I called my long time friend Belinda who never passes up going out together. At a moment’s notice we had made reservations for dinner at La Verita. A word about Belinda she is a vibrant flamboyant character who is always in a bubbly good mood and draws attention wherever she goes. So if you want an adventurous evening that can go many different ways she is the one to call. We usually get into all kinds of trouble when together. This evening was no exception. Very statuesque in build she showed up with a plunging low cut short summer dress and her very long legs. She donned thematic long nails and her favorite rings ready to party. She walked into the restaurant, which was virtually empty at 5:30 pm on a Monday night and announced she had arrived in her usual loud voice. Two waiters and the Maitre D’ who were at the front of the house stopped dead in their tracks and gave us the biggest grins after they regained their composure; they knew they were in for a crazy evening with us.
Our very handsome, young waiter Christiano showed us to the very private terrace as per our request and told us to chose any place we wished . We chose a table that was half in the shade,half sun in case we started to overheat. We wanted to enjoy all the benefits that this beautiful day had to offer. La Verita boasts having a wine repertoire of 1500 bottles, but we were in the mood for icy cold cocktails this hot summer evening. So Christiano recommended and brought us two martinis. I had a raspberry vodka and Belinda had a cranberry vodka martini. With ample amounts of vodka they were strong, very refreshing for this hot day. The Martinis hit the spot and got us a little tipsy.
After a bit of flirting back and forth and lots of chit chat in Spanish, we discovered our waiter was from Mexico. A long conversation ensued between Christiano and Belinda like anything from the Spanish language and its different inflections and accents, to the name of the Italian singer whose records the in house DJ was spinning at the time. At Belinda’s request he even went back and forth a few times to ask the DJ what the name of the Italian singer was whose song was playing at the time. Amidst the chaos and the back and forth we even managed to order food and get served dinner. Unscathed, I was nonchalantly listening to their conversation enjoying my moment, my martini and my sunshine; all while the heat of the summer sun was melting my stress away.
Let me say something about La Verita, not only do they have one of the nicest terraces of the neighborhood, secluded and private by cedar trees for privacy. This restaurant looks like a jewelry box. Planted in the middle of the parking lot of Marche de L’Ouest it stands apart from the rest of the places. A gem of a restaurant inside and out, the interior looks like little compartments of different levels of dining space. Sleek and chic, bright with white walls and tablecloths, wooden floors and amazing skylight, it even has a private nook with a fireplace for those romantic cold winter nights. La Verita has got to be one of West Island best kept secrets, opened since spring 2008 by Derek Massari and Nicola De Rubertis (chef), it flies below the radar. Not much has been said or written up about it. So here I am to do it justice.
So this fair evening we were not too hungry and more in the mood for drinks and nibblies, but our appetites got the better of us and we decided to order at least salads and pastas from the table d’hôte. The menu consists of many items for every palate. I hear the pastry chef is very good here and desserts are a must try.
For starters, we got complimentary Foccacia on the house, small squares of bread pizza with light tomato topping, onions and red peppers. Belinda got a stracciatella soup and ordered an extra arugula salad with parmesan shavings. I had the house green salad with a generous mix of greens. Both came with vinaigrette of light olive oil and balsamic vinegar and well seasoned not too salty.
Belinda had the Seafood linguini an all time favorite of hers. Her linguini had a mix of shrimp, scallops, and squid sautéed in butter and garlic with baby spinach, cherry tomatoes and fresh basil. A huge jumbo shrimp sat atop the heap of pasta. The seafood was fresh and not over cooked or rubbery. She really enjoyed her meal and preferred it made this way than with clams. A little parmesan cheese was added for saltiness and flavor.
I had a pasta dish of tortellini with sautéed portabella mushrooms in a light flavorful cream sauce. The cream sauce was fluid and not too thick and flowed around the pasta perfectly. The dish contained generous amounts of mushrooms thinly chopped and sliced. The meat tortellini was perfectly al dente, the tiny pockets of pasta were fresh and tasty nothing overpowering, and it came garnished with minced fresh parsley.
We opted out for dessert as Belinda got a booty call and had to leave cutting our dinner short, but we vowed to return. We loved the ambiance and the food and decided it will be our “go to” place to relax and unwind on beautiful summer or winter nights or just as a picker upper when feeling blah.
The service was exceptional, professional, unwavering and very friendly; even though I believe we drove our waiter a little crazy with the incessant flirting and questions. The quiet terrace with its Italian music playing is fantastic for a romantic dining escapade or just some RNR between friends. It was the overall mood and look of the place, the fine service and good descent food at an affordable price that created a very favorable experience as a whole and that will get me to come back to La Verita. The truth is finally out! I am glad I got to experience it first hand in my subjective view.