Welcomed with open arms and a lovely smile, my friend and I enjoyed the most wonderful evening at Le Grain de Sel in Montreal’s east last night as part of the city wide restaurant festival, MTL à Table. An incredible opportunity to not only wine and dine at affordable prices, but also the perfect encouragement to discoverer new restaurants in different areas across the city. Le Grain de Sel, was just this; a new discovery amongst the map of Montreal’s finest bistros.
Le Grain de Sel is an adorable bistro located on Saint Catherine’s east. Unpretentious in its appearance, service and menu, the restaurant is offering a wonderful table d’hôte for $29 as part of this years MTL à Table. With three options each for entree and main, and two for dessert, there is beautiful selection of plates to discover.
So after some help from our waitress, my friend and I started with the recommended white wine (Flying Solo, Grenache Blanc – Viognier, $8). I was very happy with the recommendation. The wine was light and fresh. A perfect start to the evening and complementary to the meal I had to come.
As we enjoyed the small and cosy atmosphere of this little and local restaurant, the waitstaff promptly took our dinner order and answered any questions we had about the menu. We started with a complimentary bite of homemade salmon gravlax served with herbed cream cheese. A little taste of salty heaven, to say the least! Fresh and full of flavour.
Following this, a basket of fresh bread and a selection of house made accompaniments we brought to our table. My favourite, the star anise spiced tomato ketchup. A sweet and spiced tomato dip eaten with the warm bread was deliciously addictive.
Following the starters for the table, our entrées arrived.
Beautifully presented on the plate, my friend enjoyed the Duck Rillettes. Served with a silky smooth parsnip puree, bacon foam, brussels sprout leaves and crispy toasts to tie the dish together, it was a pleasure to both look at and eat.
I love mussels, so I instantly decided on the mussel dish. Sitting prettily in a mussel broth, crumbed and fried mussels, Dauphine potato croquettes and crispy ‘chips’ were so perfectly placed, the dish looked like an artwork. It was stunning. My favourite dish of the night, the plate was honest with a nice combination of subtle and strong flavours. An absolute pleasure to eat.
Main course was equally as beautiful. An evening of seafood for me, I decided on the fish of the day. The thick, skin-on fillet of Dory was served with roasted cauliflower and celeriac puree in a kaffir lime and turmeric fumet (a concentrated stock). The plate was simple but a wonderful combination of flavours.
My friend took the black pudding. A dish that always creates an uncertainty in my mind, but I must admit, this plate I actually tried and enjoyed. This, I think, was the most beautifully presented plate of the evening. Sitting on a crisp apple galette, apple puree, freshly diced apple, mustard seed caviar with the rich black pudding firmly placed in the centre of the plate. The dish was gracefully bold.
As our savoury courses come to an end, the delights of dessert made their way to our table along with some most appreciated coffee.
The house made sugar pie was a little twist on the traditional but equally as delicious! Extremely sweet, however the creaminess of the vanilla ice-cream toned the sweetness down to, what I feel, was a more enjoyable level. Served with cumin infused caramel, the dish was nice. Personally, I preferred the second dessert. A lemon and honey cake served with a burnt honey custard, rich and slightly bitter honeycomb and a sour cream sorbet. The elements of this plate tied together beautifully. It was most enjoyable.
Le Grain de Sel was an absolute dining pleasure. The food was both incredible in presentation and flavour. However the best part for me, was the passion and love invested into each and every plate. This, for me, is most important. Wonderful service, lovely staff, and even a little visit from the chef, made the entire evening a wonderful restaurant experience.
Le Grain de Sel is located at 2375 Saint Catherine East. Open Thursday to Sunday from 5.30 – 10pm. Reservations can be made by phone, 514 522 5105.