Written by Philippe Canning
Chez Boss & Fils is located in the Eastern most part of the Verdun borough, where Wellington starts its commercial artery vocation. The restaurant is close to the action but just receded enough to keep things comfortable.
The space is dominated by an open kitchen, surrounded by a bar with seating on two sides. I strongly suggest sitting at the bar as you will enjoy your dinner while keeping an eye on the spectacle featuring the chef and his brigade creating your meal.
The dining room is handled by Boss (Louis) and Fils (Félix), two veterans of the food service industry. They are warm and friendly. The vibe is definitely local, a true neighbourhood establishment. The décor is simple but efficient, with a wooden sail mast support column, acting as remnant from the local’s previous function as a sail shop.
The menu is varied and focused on seasonal products. Make sure you inquire about the specials. The chef always offers interesting choices based on availability of fresh, often locally sourced products. On hand during our visit: asparagus with comté cheese and poached egg as well as lobster poached in milk. The current menu has a good balance of meat and seafood dishes.
We chose to share some fresh oysters, the Nordic shrimp salad, the fried calamari and the veal sweetbreads. The wine list is carefully selected and includes many interesting choices from several countries, with some private imports. In general, the wines are very reasonably priced, with many choices under the $50 mark.
The oysters arrive first. Simply served on the half shell on an antique muffin mold which contains a little heap of ice for each oyster forming the dozen. They are accompanied by the mignonettes. Classic French shallots and red wine vinegar for one and Ponzu inspired for the other. The oysters are East coast and ultra-fresh. A really great start.
Next we have the Nordic shrimp salad. The delicate and sweet crustaceans are mixed in with finely chiseled endives and green apples. Very different than the usual mayonnaise drowned iteration, this dish is truly inspired. Light, crispy and sophisticated.
We continue with the fried calamari. A particularly good version. Small and delicate pieces, lightly battered and perfectly kissed by the frying oil, they are accompanied by a spicy tomato based sauce with just enough kick.
We finish with a main: the veal sweetbreads. Not usual to find the giblets on most menus but in my opinion, it is an excellent entry level gland if you feel the least bit adventurous. They are lightly breaded and pan seared, served with pois à la française: fresh green peas served with bacon, poultry gravy and braised lettuce. The tender morsels of sweetbread are well balanced by the richness of the chicken jus and the fresh crack from the peas. A delight.
Boss & Fils, 3610 Wellington St, Verdun, QC H4G 1T6. (514) 508-3457. Tuesday to Saturday 5:30 pm to 11:30pm. http://www.chezbossetfils.ca
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