Restaurant: L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Montreal

If you want to see last year’s L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon recap HERE.

Located in the Casino de Montreal, L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon is tucked in a little downstairs corner accessible by elevators at one end of the casino. Different from last year is how it was bustling and full of action this time with tons of customers there. After last year’s experience, I was a little more knowledgeable about how to approach this year’s dinner so was a little less ambitious. If you had seen last year’s dinner, it took well over 3 hours, this wasn’t really that much more different.

In terms of decor, there wasn’t much change. I’m back at the same time after all so I do wonder if the decor changes especially in the display case with the seasons. Maybe one day, I’ll go not in autumn.

Green Tea

Due to the rainy weather outside and a rather under the weather feeling like a cold was creeping in, I ended up vouching to get a green tea. This is a Japanese green tea recommended by the waitress for us. It tasted great. I don’t usually drink Japanese green tea but this one definitely was a treat.

Bread

The breads here are also quite good. This time, we had the baguette one the left and the bacon and mustard braid on the right. Not shown here but my friend got two other ones which had dairy products in it. One was a flaky cheese one I believe and I can’t remember the other one right now.

Amuse Bouche

A refreshing starter amuse-bouche to kick things off. Tonight’s starter, the dairy free option, I assume since my friend got something different but he also had the 7 or 9 course seasonal discovery tasting menu. This amuse-bouche is a eggplant topped on one side with a red pepper and the other one is topped with a zucchini (or maybe eggplant) chip? I can’t remember anymore. But I can tell you that it tasted really good. I’m not much of an eggplant fan. I really just eat it for its health benefits on a daily basis but this was really lovely.

Tasting Portion Dishes

Like I said in the beginning, last year’s tasting menu traumatized me to my core. Not that the food wasn’t good but the duration and the sheer amount was just way over what I could handle. So this year, I went a different route. I asked the suggestion of the waitress to tell me what would be a good approach and she gave me a very accurate one of taking 3 tasting portion which should be enough and went along with her knowledge and suggested the ones that she knew could be modified to be dairy-free or already was dairy-free. With that I chose three (with her help):

L'atelier de joel robuchon montreal

Le Homard

Le Homard – Lobster over mashed avocado tart  and pomegranate arils

My first choice when I first saw my choices was this one. Avocado tart and pomegranate and lobster all sounds so fresh and delicious. From the presentation to the delicious balance of flavors to just the crispy different texture of the pomegranate seeds and little bits and the crunchy fresh vegetables and the lobster was such a delight. Not to mention of course the creamy avocado tart base.

l'atelier de joel robuchon montreal

La Morue Noire

La Morue Noire – Stewed Black Cod with “Malabar” peppercorn, baby spinach

The star of the show, my friends. I picked this one because the waitress highly recommended it. Normally, this one would have a frothy creamy coconut foam. Mine is just coconut sans the cream for the obvious lactose intolerance issue. With that said, this dish is absolutely heavenly. I kid you not, the cod is done so perfectly.

l'atelier de joel robuchon montreal

L’Agneau

L’Agneau – Quebec lamb ribs with eggplant and lemon pulp confit caviar

Talking about the final dish in my selection is the lamb. I’m starting to realize that I have a tendency to get lamb whenever I go out, mostly because I wouldn’t eat it at home. This was done the perfect doneness. The eggplant caviar as they call it is really delicious along with the eggplant chips which are both very good. Paired up with the lemon pulp, it worked so well together. The only thing I wasn’t a big fan of based on personal preference is the date puree thing. I’m personally not a fan of dates so it didn’t quite appeal to me. Overall, the whole dish worked together really well.

Dessert

La Bulle – Blown sugar ball with coconut cream, fresh coriander sorbet

The original La Bulle is made with yuzu lemon in the menu. However, this version is dairy-free version so its made with coconut cream. I have to say that the coriander sorbet is somewhat of an acquired taste that took a moment to get used to but it cuts through the sweetness from the coconut so it works out well.

Overall, L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Montreal is a great dining experience. It offers fantastic cuisine, comfortable ambiance, flexible with their dishes to accommodate allergens as well as great service. Its honestly one of the restaurants that I love going to. It is quite pricey but worth every penny.

Battle of Ingredients #3: Farmers’ Market Edition

Battle of Ingredients

The next Battle of Ingredients happened this past weekend.

Here in Canada, we had our Victoria Day long weekend. Montreal was also full of festivities as the city celebrated its 375th birthday. A lot more festivities are on the way as Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday as well. If you do want to ask about the 375th birthday in a 150 year country, Montreal was a French colony and established before Canada was was formed under confederation. That is the short form of the explanation. Since I do get asked that question once in a while, so just in case you are curious 🙂

This edition is all about Farmer’s Market. A fantastic idea from my collaborator for this series, Phoebe from Starry Traveler’s Road who also happened to have written a great post on the Montreal celebrations. Montreal has a few markets strewn both on the island and in the suburban areas. As some of you may have gathered, we do venture frequently in the suburban surrounding cities of Montreal and this edition’s highlight will be some of the items we bought and the local businesses from Le Marche des Jardiniers located in La Prairie, Quebec. It also happens to be Lobster season so we made a pretty last minute decision to pick up two lobsters at the supermarket and try our hand at it.

Let’s check out our menu for the evening!

Our Wine of the Evening

Appetizer
Bread from L’Amour du Pain

L'Amour du Pain

Main Meal

Phoebe: Oven-Baked Sausages & Portobello Mushrooms

Sausages & Portobello Mushrooms

Sausages are from Charcuterie Frick

Sausages here are 4 flavors:
– Herbes de Provences
– Blueberry Maple Syrup
– Smoked Meat
– Shallots & White Wine

Being a mother of a toddler, Phoebe’s learnt the concept of efficient cooking. Fast and easy to put together. She had done this dish before a few months ago. The concept is to use the oil/fat in the sausages to also give flavor to the mushrooms at the bottom.

My tie for sausages are the blueberry and maple and shallots and white wine. They all tasted great just a preference to those two flavors. Mushrooms turned out perfect as well.

Kim & Phoebe: Roasted Honey-Thyme Endives

Endives were bought at Le Petit Marché de Johanne

Roasted Honey-Thyme Endives

 Recipe via Pinterest: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Honey-Roasted-Belgian-Endives-and-Parsnips

I have only made endives once before (same applies to fiddleheads below). My memory was blurry on how I made it in general. Pinterest gave a simple recipe on putting this together: salt, pepper, honey, fresh thyme and oil/butter for marinade which had to be warmed first then drizzled on the endives before popping it in the oven.

For this dish, I have to do some reading on how to cut endives and prepare them. There was still some bitterness left in it and it has to do with what to remove to prevent it. However, the sauce was pretty good. I did have to modify it to a lower portion because we had less than what the recipe asked for.

Kim: Roasted Fiddlehead

Fiddleheads were bought at Le Petit Marché de Johanne

Roasted Fiddlehead

Recipe via Pinterest: http://homemadeandyummy.com/roasted-fiddlehead-ferns/

Fiddlehead ferns are in season right now. They also happen to be a pain to prepare because of all the washing and cleaning that it takes. With the said, this called for a simple recipe to compensate.

When things get crazy, my mind runs off. This is what happened to the roasted fiddleheads. They ended up being forgotten in the oven a few minutes more and got crispy. It was like fiddlehead crisps which because of the simple salt and pepper worked for myself however, might not be for everyone.

Kim & Phoebe: Boiled Lobster

Boiled Lobster

Lobsters probably aren’t supposed to be the star of the night but it was because it took almost everyone and a few recruits to help us with chopping and cleaning and cooking and plating. Phoebe ate these with garlic butter however, I ate them just like that and it was delicious. Most of the credit goes to her in completing this lobster cooking task.

Dessert

Kim: Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Recipe via Pinterest: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/strawberry_rhubarb_pie/

Finally, my forte! Fresh rhubarb from the garden and frozen strawberries yielded this pie. I did use store bought pie shells and this somehow felt a little defective as it had a fold in the shell before going into the freezer so there was a gigantic side opening and that is where the juices and excess water leaked out. While this seemed pretty watery, this recipe is solid. I was worried that the rhubarb wouldn’t be ripe enough and be too tart but turns out it worked out pretty great.

That is a wrap for Battle of Ingredients!
A huge meal and great teamwork got this done and ready for everyone. Plus, it highlighted some of our local vendors which is always important.