Happening Gourmand 8th Edition-Taverne Gaspar
89, rue de la Commune E. / at St Laurent
Tel : 514.392.1649
Type of Cuisine: Gastro Pub
Chef Hats: 3.5
Cost: $149.32 (3 persons with drinks)
There is something you should l know about me, I don’t like trying restaurants twice unless there is something really special about them. One reason being that in this great vast city of ours we have enough choices to dine out every day 365 days a year and still have enough fantastic restaurants to dine in for another year without ever going to same place twice. How many cities or towns can anyone do this in? Maybe New York, San Francisco, London, Paris, Rome. This is why we should consider Montreal a great dining Mecca. It is unfortunate that we limit and confine ourselves to exploring different venues and therefore limiting our experience and culinary adventures. Of course, I have done the repeat thing ,as I too have grown accustomed to a place due to service, ambiance and comfort. There is also the fact that I don’t like to dine alone and feel the experience is shared better in a convivial setting. Thus we repeat and return to the same places. It is all not that bad, some places do merit a return and Taverne Gaspar is one of them.
This evening it was my good friend Indian Goddess’s Birthday and having done last year’s Happening Gourmand Festival at Mechant Boeuf, she wanted to try another restaurant from the Antonopoulos group of restaurants again this year.
We scanned the menus to all the restaurants listed and we decided that Taverne Gaspar had all the best choices for our liking. So we picked her up and decided to treat her out for a special evening. This year I had no qualms about the parking, we found one in the lot across the street, but for cheaper you can park in the Auberge du Vieux Port next door. We got dropped off right in front anyways and did not have to walk the chilly streets of de la Commune street this evening. We walked in and were quickly greeted by our hostess, and seated at our favourite table in the back. Same exact spot as last time. Best seat in the house I have to say.
We waited a little for Frenchie to arrive, meanwhile scanning the menus to see what we were in the mood for. I suggested we try the oysters this time around. None of us being big fans, we were feeling somewhat adventurous and trying just a few wasn’t going to kill us, and maybe they would. I was in the mood to venture forth and try them again. So we went with 1 each @ $3.00. We are very big risk takers! We were surprised that they went down easily and Goddess really liked them. They have the perfect splash of lemon with a kick of spiciness from the pimento on top. She was amazed she enjoyed it so much being her first time and a little sceptical. We discussed broadening our horizons by trying an Oyster House the next time we go out to dine, or trying things beyond our comfort zone that would surprise us. She agreed full well. We needed to start taking culinary risks.
As for the menu, the choices were limited this evening if choosing the Happening Gourmand Menu at $ 25.00, but at that price who can refuse. It still contains most of the best dishes and they are all equally as good.
Tonight Indian Goddess and I both started with a cocktail called “Peach my World “we loved the name and were both feeling in a peachy mood. The cocktail was made with Ginger Beer, Ciroc peach liquor and bar mix at $ 5.00, very inexpensive we thought. It was cool and refreshing and we downed it pretty fast and went for seconds. Frenchie stuck to his traditional route and had a pint of Pale Ale beer.
One thing about this evening that has happens too often with us, we all seem to want to eat the same thing, but heck , great minds think alike. Goddess was in the mood for the Beef Poutine, but did not want to eat it all by herself, so I helped her share it. It was very tasty and the gravy was made with cippolini sauce-(small onions). I distinctly tasted maybe a little bourbon in there. If you are a poutine lover, this is for you. Not the generic kind. Very gourmet and the onion sauce with the bold flavour of bouillon and cheese curds make it a divine mess.
I also was in mood for onion soup and ordered that as well for myself. It really hit the spot on this cold night winter Montreal night. The onion soup had just the right flavours and not too salty, like some other restaurants I have had this in. Again, I distinctly tasted something more than just bouillon in the soup, but it was delicious. It came topped with a crostini with Gruyère cheese. It went down smooth and fast. Absolutely delicious! Frenchie was also in the mood for onion soup and ordered one for him; he seemed pleased too with the flavours and really enjoyed it.
For our main meal Goddess and Frenchie ordered the Beef Bourguignon. What looked like a small amount was a sufficient portion of cubed beef with whole mini onions in a creamy beef sauce. The cubes were tender and tasty. They enjoyed their meal immensely and found it was very filling.
I instead opted out for the meat and ordered the Salmon Pave with vegetables and puy lentils and sauce vierge, the salmon was really moist and tender and not overcooked or dry. The lentils were also of the right consistency, cooked perfectly tender with the kick of the sauce vierge which consisted of a balsamic reduction sauce. The vegetables and a garnish of fresh salsa and greens further enhanced the flavours of this dish.
For dessert we had the Bumble berry cheesecake and Chantilly cream Brownie for Frenchie.
These were decadent. Well presented and a perfect complement to the meal.
All in all for $ 25.00 each per person is not much for such a meal a super great deal for such good food. I have to admit, this is a great marketing draw to get people out here in these frigid temperatures this time of year, when otherwise the streets would be empty. There are eight restaurants to choose from for all tastes and budgets. It turned out to be a great evening and a pleasurable culinary experience yet once again.
But we did overeat and when we got up to leave, we were feeling pretty stuffed. The next day I realized I had maybe eaten all of Jimmy Bean, because man was the gluten playing a toll on my stomach.
Next Year, we are trying the Verses Restaurant in Hotel Nelligan and maybe a lovely sojourn at one of the Boutique Hotels. I am taking reservations a year ahead for any takers.