2270 Rue de l’Église,
Val-David, QC J0T 2N0
Phone: (819) 320-0080
Cost: $ 103.98
Chef Hats: 4
A few years ago, I was introduced to the concept of farm to table while in Vermont. Coming from an Italian family we grew up with fresh produce in our own back yard. As we started our own households, the concept of buying from the farm was outdated. So, with our busy schedules and abundance of items we shopped at the big supermarkets like everyone else. These days I find that any produce at any supermarket has a very short shelf life and it lacks freshness and quality.
While visiting Vermont and experiencing Farm to Table meals, a whole new world opened up for me. I started to see food in a different light. There is nothing simpler in life than fresh and healthy produce. The taste is very different and not at all the same or even comparable to what we are used to in our supermarkets. These days I look forward to the summer to be able to visit local farmers and roadside stands in Quebec to purchase some local ingredients to make the simplest of meals.
This week during our annual visit to the 1001 Pots Exposition in Val David, we decided to sample a relatively new restaurant that came highly recommended called l’ Epicurieux. I was told they were making great vegetable dishes with only local produce from local farmers. My intentions were to dine at Table des Gourmets in which I have been meaning to try for the last couple of years. But L’Epicurieux peaked our interest after we were told it was to a sure bet. With trepidation we headed over and managed to get a table without reservations. To our surprise we discovered a $ 30.00 tasting menu, which allowed us to sample some of their finest.
The restaurant which opened in June 2016 was started by three Laurentian natives: Maxime Laverdure, Dominic Tougas and Chef Fanny Ducharme, who worked in the kitchen at La Cabane au Pied du Cochon. The trio each bring their own special flair and experience to the restaurant. The spot is charming, a little red house situated alongside the river, it is quiet, quaint and special. The feeling while dining there was very convivial yet private. It was like having diner in someone’s private home. We received extra special attention and service was friendly, accommodating and unpretentiously humble. Everything was explained to the minutest detail.
There are not many restaurants like l’ Epicurieux in the Laurentians and in Montreal, but it is worth the trek up there, especially if you are a die-hard foodie, who wants to sample some- thing different in the realm of table champêtre. Make it an all-day event and wind down your evening with a good meal before heading back. The atmosphere is casual so you can dress whichever way you want and no need to worry.
The menu at L’Epicurieux boasts lots of vegetable dishes, along with some seafood & fish dishes and a couple of meat dishes. They are not heavy on the meat dishes but a must is the sumptuous milk fed Gaspar Pork which comes directly from a farm in the Laurentians.
Epicurieux also has and decent cocktail list and lots of natural and biodynamic wines on their wine list by the glass. I sampled a Rose from Touraine- for $9.00 a glass. Which was very light and semi-sweet with hints of berry notes. My partner in crime had the highly recommended Spicy Daddy. A cocktail made with gin, Calvados, white vermouth, coriander, lemon and spicy ginger ale. Totally refreshing for a hot summer day in the sun.
The dishes are small-plate format, but sufficient for any appetite. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, they feature five plates sharing menu at the affordable cost of $30.00 per person or a la carte menu. Being seafood lovers, we were happy to start with the Shrimp Tartelette made with a Buckwheat shell. A mixture of crunchy and creamy, the presentation was simple but delicious.
Also sampled was the Bourgot, a radish flower made with radishes, carrots and fleur d ’ail. Beautifully presented it looked like a work of art, this was also a pleasant surprise and very refreshing and cleansing to the palate. The least of my favorites in terms of what we sampled, but nonetheless tasty, original and beautifully presented. I would use a smaller version of this instead of salad as a side dish or garnish in one of my meals.
Our next dish was the Smoked Charcoaled Tomato served on a bed of homemade ricotta. Infused with honey, oregano and for crunchiness a sprinkling of peanuts. The combination was magnificent and super sweet and delicious. The ricotta had to be one of the best and freshest I have ever sampled and very filling.
For our main dish we had a generous portion of Scallops with fiddleheads and the Gaspar Pork with Gribiche, a French Bistro classic made with mayo, mustard and egg. It came served with a generous portion of grilled cauliflower. My dining companion truly enjoyed the scallop dish immensely and could not stop raving, it was the first time they had fiddleheads. The bitterness paired with the Spicy Daddy cocktail was a symphony of flavors.
For dessert we had a Paris Brest filled with dollops of cream and two coffees for the ride back in the dark. We were told during dessert that an error was made on their part and we received an extra dish, but we were not charged and it was on the house. I would have gladly paid the extra and more. Very well worth it.
Aside from the free dish, I loved the concept at L’Epicurieux, it reminded me of Moosewood Restaurant in Upper State New York or the many farms to table Restos I have sampled in Vermont. My epiphany came when I realized it was something I did not do often. I need to remedy this. We have some very good champêtre tables in Quebec. None of which I have experienced and Epicurieux merits a definite return; it is inspiring. Everything was top notch and the experience delightfully wonderful. I adore this restaurant, a true gem in the Laurentians.