Last Wednesday was definitely an indulgence. That night I experienced dining at Le Papillon on Front. I was invited to try out a sampler menu. I must say out of all the invites that I have received, La Papillon on Front was one of the most organized and most considerate of the little details of what makes a memorable experience. There were a lot of points I need to make in this blog why they did everything right.
When my friend Helen and I walked in, I introduced myself to the person at the front of the house. I was impressed that he knew my name and he immediately led us to a table by the window that was reserved and already set for us to dine. I have no idea whether they know how mushy I get with Christmas decorations but I loved the coziness of their decoration borders by the window, it was really the perfect table for me to sit in. That alone put me in cheerful anticipation that if they were that attentive to little details, the food must be exceptional.
A server named John Pierre approached our table and with flourish explained to us the experience we were about to have. He assured us that the pace would be easy and we should take our time to enjoy what the kitchens have prepared. In recollection, I wished I ordered wine for the evening. The night then got me so chilled as we walked from Union station to the restaurant, we asked for hot tea instead.
The meal started with a small sampler of French onion soup and Salad Papillon. Once I broke into the generous Gruyere cheese crust, the soup was velvet to the palette. It was such a comfort as I needed to bring back some warmth to myself. The salad was light and was a good complement to the soup, constrasting in taste and texture to the rich soup.
As we waited for the next course, I finally paid attention to the interiors beyond the vicinity of our table. High ceilings, brick walls and hardwood fixtures all blended into a cozy setting. I appreciated the soft music on the background, not too loud and allows the conversation to keep on flowing. It also helps that tables are spaced generously that even the chatter on the next table is not going to mix with ours.
As John Pierre returned, he was carrying with him an appetizer sampler. On one plate were Crevettes (sauteed shrimp in tarragon butter), Moules Marinière (mussels in broth of white wine, butter fresh dill onions), smoked salmon with capers and chicken liver pate. Given four to sample, my favorite were the mussels. Moist, buttery and pliant, it surely did whet the appetite.
What followed next was a sampler of traditional Tourtière (spiced house meat pie served with frites and house apple-tomato chutney) and a New York steak with a generous pat of herbed butter. Onto the same plate was also serving of steamed vegetables and roasted tomatoes. Of the two, my favorite would be the New York Steak as it was done as I have requested, succulent, moist and tender to bite.
At this point I was getting full and I thought the mains were done. But when John Pierre came back, he delightfully placed a plate of decadent Duck confit sitting on a bed of orange Grand Marnier sauce and another plate of St. Laurent Crepe (bacon, cooked apples and cheddar cheese filling). The crispy skin of the duck was a delight to indulge in. It was such a delight to hear the sound of it breaking as you bite. The crêpe meanwhile was a meal on its own. Each bite would give you hedonistic thoughts primarily centered on soaking it generously with real maple syrup. That was what I was thinking even though my tummy nagged me that I didn’t have more room for any more food. When John Pierre came back I assured him that the leftovers was not because the food was not delicious. It was because we just have too much indulgence.
But the indulgence did not stop there. What came next were desserts. Two plates arrived where one was with a crêpe with strawberries and another was a trio of chocolate mousse, Pudding Chomeur and French vanilla ice cream. After having a little taste of all the desserts, I stuck to eating more of the warm Pudding Chomeur, pairing it with the ice cream. The contrast of warm and cold was delightful. Perfect way to end the meal.
When the meal was done, all I can think of was how good an experience dining at Le Papillon. Thank you for inviting me to try your food. So to you my readers, if you want to bring to dinner someone you want to impress this holiday season, try to check out Le Papillon on Front. I hope you experience the same delightful dinner that I had that memorable Wednesday night.