I’ve written before about Café Cherrier in Montreal’s Plateau Mont-Royal district. (I think both entries are at the old site, which I just realized I have no link to here. I will fix that.) Still, it bears repeating that it’s just a phenomenally good place to eat a nice meal. Both the food and service are consistently of high quality. The menu is solid and holds an number of perennial favourites, but the daily table d’hote selections allow for creativity and are generally very good value as well.
We went last night, after picking up my parents from Trudeau Airport (they spent two and a half weeks in France. Cue violins). Dinner was to celebrate Father’s Day, and it was a lovely and mellow evening. Everyone at the table began with soup – my parents both opted for one of the daily specials, vichysoisse, which is potato and leek soup served chilled. I didn’t try it, but my sister did and pronounced it excellent. She had the gazpacho, which was deep red, cold and delightfully fresh-tasting, spiked with onion and cucumber. Her fiancé D had the classic French onion soup, which looked amazing, crusted with cheese and loaded with deep brown loops of onion in a rich broth. Chris and I both had the other daily soup, potage andalou, which was a puree of roasted tomato and red pepper, and as such was pretty much my idea of perfect soup. Not too acidic, not too rich – lovely summer food.
With the soup we devoured a lot of baguette and butter, but managed to leave room for our main courses somehow. J ordered steak tartare and frites – I’m not a huge fan, but I tried a bite and it was fine. She thoroughly enjoyed it. The crisp shoestring frites and mayo were divine, though. D. had the Toulouse sausages and frites - I think every time we go there, someone has the sausages. They are extremely good, though. The rest of us ordered off the table d’hote menu – Mom and Chris had magret de canard - roasted duck breast with peppercorn sauce, sliced and fanned and served rosy in the middle.
Dad and I both had the entrecote steak with herbed butter – about a 6 oz. steak, quite tender, cooked medium as I requested, the composed butter melted over the top of the meat. Delicious, as were the usual assortment of seasonal vegetables presented in varying creative ways on the plate – a single large stalk of steamed asparagus (I stole Chris’s, as it was very good), a small pile of raratouille (ditto), three whole roasted baby potatoes, a little cone of sweet potato and rutabaga mousse, a tree of steamed crunchy broccoli, and a wedge of roasted fennel bulb that I foisted off to D because all things anise are anathema to me. I love the variety and the interest they put into the veggies. It’s always different and always amazing.
My parents had wine, but Chris and I abstained, as we’d had a very long day (but that’s another story). We did however indulge in a verveine tisane and some dessert – Chris had some orange-vanilla ice cream thing, D. had a tiny glass of very rich chocolate mousse, and J and I split a perfect lemon tart, with a thick buttery shortbread crust and a well-balanced, smooth and sharp lemon custard filling. It was everything a lemon tart should be. I really need to learn to make that.