Looking for your next destination for a romantic dinner? Do you want a gourmet getaway or to impress your future customers? Nestled in Place d'Youville in Old Montreal since 2018, CHEF'S TABLE has quickly become part of the Montreal experiences not to be missed. Behind this name (which has nothing to do with the Netflix series of the same name), the aim is to offer culinary excellence and fun inspired by the region.
Once past the charming old-fashioned storefront, we find ourselves in an enveloping cave, full of finesse, far from the hustle and bustle of the city. Stone walls, a cozy decor in black and wood, discrete jazz music, subdued lighting: the atmosphere makes you want to relax and indulge in a tasting experience. The restaurant has about sixty seats spread over two floors, with some spaces accentuating the feeling of intimacy. On our table, a pretty welcome card in our name, signed by the chef. We are his guests.
At the helm since the summer of 2019, Chef Romain Gerer, who has worked in numerous restaurants listed in the renowned French culinary guide Michelin. And it’s obvious! If the menu is limited to seasonal products, each flavor is worked in a unique way and with a studied presentation. "I use raw Quebec products, carefully choosing the accompaniments to bring out all the original flavor," he says.
The MENU is divided in three courses and changes every two months or so. It offers the choice of 4 starters, 4 main courses and dessert. You will find your happiness between local meat, fish and vegetables. For a total taste experience, you can also opt for the food and wine pairing. The service is a perfect balance between elegance and friendliness. All the staff wear a chef's apron and know the dishes very well. Did you say love of good food?
We start the meal by eating ... our menu! A potato starch leaf sprinkled with tomato water and paprika. Nothing revolutionary in terms of taste, but it gently challenges the codes and awakens our inner child’s curious soul.
While CHEF'S TABLE has interesting staged cocktails, we choose to focus on the efficient wine selection that promises to enhance each dish. Before the first service, our charming waitress brings us a fresh appetizer: halibut tartar, watermelon, cucumber salad, anchovy and almond crumble, basil leaves. It's crisp, fresh, juicy with a sweet little tone. We will later discover that the meal is punctuated by different delicious culinary interludes.
For the first service, our choice stops on the Carpaccio de cerf. It is rare to see this meat worked this way. The thin slices come with onions, mayonnaise and fried capers, flower and smoked maple wood soy-wasabi sauce. This meat, which generally has a pronounced taste, becomes melt-in-the-mouth and subtly flavoured. It is both sweet and crispy and the balance between the ingredients is perfect. We accompany it with a glass of Parritonco red wine
For my entrée, I go with scallops. Under a smoking glass bell, two small scallops will appear perfectly fried and accompanied by a purée of beans and wasabi, a mango chutney, onions and myrica berry (similar to pepper), salicorne powder (a seaweed with a salty taste), all smoked with maple wood. As a scallop enthusiast, I let you imagine my pleasure with every bite.
For the second service, my guest chooses the pork. The plate offers two parts of the animal: filet mignon cooked at low temperature and seared, and pork belly confit with maple syrup. Added to this are mashed cauliflower, Swiss chard, oyster mushrooms, and a reduction in pork juice. Everything is cooked to perfection, you can feel the work, the delicacy and the respect of the product. None of the accompaniments seem to be unnecessary.
For my second dish, I try the milk-fed veal. Cooked at low temperature and pan-fried, I guarantee that you have never eaten veal that so tender! On the plate: mushrooms, carrots purée and exquisite veal juice reduction. Here too, each food is perfectly cooked and successfully enhances the value of its neighbour. Accompanied by a glass of Miro light red wine, we take a further step in the pleasure.
The dessert is not a plate prepared in the kitchen, but a composition made before our eyes by the Chef himself, where he explains his process and the ingredients he has chosen. For dessert, no plate prepared in the kitchen, but a composition made before our eyes by the Chef himself, where he explains his process and the ingredients he has chosen. On a sheet of wax, he lays down alternately Quebec strawberries marinated in olive oil, yuzu juice and maple syrup, cherries cradled in a syrup infused with spices (star anise, cinnamon, cardamom) and other fresh fruits: blueberries, raspberries, candied blackberries. He accompanies them with a small clafoutis, a strawberry sorbet and elderflower, yuzu cream, chocolate crumble and sea buckthorn powder and fresh ginger. Lemon flavors break the fat and sugar, and the floral notes balance the roundness of the fruit. It is fresh, acidic, crisp and greedy, and is enjoyed endlessly during the conversation.
That's when we realize we've been here for three hours! Carried away by the delicate atmosphere and the passion for flavours, we didn't see the time go by. As in any good gastronomic experience, the dishes were able to play with our appetite for a moment of quality. Mastered cuisine and aesthetic experience, Chef's table is undeniably one of the best tables in Montreal. Here is your new treasure to share.