376 Chemin Cherrier/Ave du Manoir
Phone: (514) 305-1229
Cost: $ 70.08-Tax & Tip included
Chef Hats: 2.5
The Montreal Foo-Foodie has high expectations when I going out for dinner. I basically like to eat for two reasons, first for sustenance when I am starving and then secondly for pure enjoyment. When dining out the complete package is very important especially if I will be spending close to $100.00 or more for myself. This means, that I not only choose a reputable place, but quality of food is high on my priority, decor is has got to be optimal and service has to be on the ball. I can’t change what many years of dining out have innately conditioned me to be, a foodie snob.
I am a good cook, not a chef, as this takes accreditation and many years of schooling and experience to master, I stand firmly on this conviction and do not make any claims. For the foodie snob, table settings, ambiance and fresh quality produce is important for my dinners at home when entertaining. The idea of dining out takes on a whole new meaning when I have to spend my hard earned dollars. This is when I expect my experience to not just be quasi good but something beyond what I cannot replicate myself in terms of plate presentations and food combinations.
So when my dining group friends make a suggestion I trust their judgement as they are like minded. This evening I jumped at the chance to dine with them at Bistro 1843 located in Ile Bizard. It is rare that I don`t know about a place or even heard mention of it ; as I am an avid reader and follow many blogs and make it a point to learn about new restaurant openings. I had my trepidations about anything West Island these days.
Bistro 1843, used to be the historical leisure home of Denis Benjamin Viger, a prominent 19th-century Lower Canadian politician, lawyer, businessman and Patriot Movement Member. Many Montrealers are familiar with the name as with the street that bears his name. His home in Ile Bizard built circa 1843 as the name surmises is deemed an historic site and over the years with a few modifications and many changing hands it has now become a restaurant and home to a young couple Sara & Tarik.
Bistro 1843 opened about seven and a half years ago, over time it has built up quite a reputation as a good place to go to celebrate a special occasion or for a fancy night out on the town for locals and those who come from afar. I hear reservations are hard to come by and tables are booked months ahead.
Bistro 1843 has no liquor license, website, or listing of their menu online. But I was told ahead of time to BYOB it. So with a bottle of Château St Antoine in tow from my cave à vin and I headed over to Ile Bizard. We had no problems finding the place with our GPS and there is parking at the side and back of the restaurant and that was easy enough for me.
The Bistro consists of two open concept main dining rooms, one different from each other. As you enter you feel like you are dining in someone’s house. Once seated, you can be in the front dining room or in the back near the kitchen. The daily specials are listed on a chalkboard, and repeated by your waitress and given a menu to order à la carte or from the daily specials. The choices on the menu can be described as a combination of French local market cuisine, with inspirations of fusion here and there. The menu consists of prime cuts of meat, chicken and fish and delectable desserts. There is something for everyone on the menu and some dishes are a hit or a miss.
I started with Seared Scallops St Jacques which was just perfect. Unlike the name states, they were not traditional done St Jacques style, which consists of heavy cream. Instead, I received three huge Sea Scallops in lemon beurre blanc with light citrus hints, garnished with micro greens, not too overcooked.
All meals were served with salad or soup of the day. I had the house green salad as opposed to the soup which was a cream of carrot with ginger. My salad was perfectly seasoned and dressed with a good mix of julienned vegetables, Spanish onions and mixed mesclun greens.
My main meal was a little bit of a disappointment. I ordered Supreme de Volaille/Chicken in a Cream sauce. It was one of my old classic favourites that I have cooked many times in the past years. It used to be a monthly staple on my menu at home. Although a thing of the past, I hardly make it any longer. This evening I wanted to revisit this old favourite. It is easy to make and always a crowd pleaser. My supreme at Bistro 1843 came served with potatoes and vegetables. The presentation of this dish was not appetizing, the sauce was a little too thick and the chicken undercooked a big faux pas.
My girlfriend ordered the salmon pave in an orange glaze sauce; this was delicious and cooked to perfection. It came served atop snow peas. She loved it and said it one of the best she has ever had.
Our friend Margaret had a veal chop in its jus, with zucchini, carrots and potato. She found it tender but a little fatty.
Nancy ordered Flounder from the Special Menu. I was beautifully presented with a pink edible pansy flower and micro greens. It was divine with its ginger infused sauce, Brussels sprouts, snow peas and potatoes and slivers of carrot.
Also ordered was the filet mignon, which came sliced served in a demi glaze wine sauce with peas and topped with chives. The filet mignon was served medium rare and very tender. Bistro 1843 does its meat dishes very well. The accompanying sauces are delightful and flavourful.
The desserts are also top notch here, with some of the classic favourites, like crème brulee and cheesecake.
They also had this evening on their menu a special double stuffed crepe with chocolate and caramel, and a pudding Chomeur marble cake topped with ice cream; everyone seemed to love the Bistro and the desserts and overall a good feeling about the place.
They definitely enjoyed the food, the experience and the company. The prices are reasonable, but do not expect to pay $ 25.00 for your meal. It will put you back at least $ 60.00 to $ 70.00 for a three course meal depending if ordering al la carte or from the special menu. This does not include the cost of your BYOB wine.
This die-hard foodie was not so convinced about Bistro 1843. The experience was inconsistent. As I looked around I felt the decor to be outdated. The heavy drapery was discoloured and needed refreshing. The dining room was a mish-mash of styles of furniture. The fire place seemed like a thing of yore with its brown bricks. I felt I was sitting in someone’s outdated dining room and a big rehab was in order.
This may seem subjective to some as they may not be so discriminating about the decor, but I look at everything and it sets my mood. I would prefer something a little more upbeat and new when dining out. For those who don`t mind, Bistro 1843 is a decent contender to dining out in the West Island especially if you don’t want to go far. Have the meat or fish dishes and definitely the desserts, they are totally worth it.