Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Garde Manger [Montreal]

Garde Manger is Food Network star, Chuck Hughes' first restaurant and he did not disappoint. It was not cheap, but it was worth every single bite! The star Canadian chef loves seafood (he even has a lobster tattooed on his arm!) and this definitely reflects in this restaurant. It is always packed and it is recommended that reservations are made at least a month in advance! 

Where: 408 rue Saint-Francois-Xavier
Montreal, QC
H2Y 2S9
Price: $$$$ (Our meal came to around $400 for 5 people)

The entrance is a little hard to find because well, there is virtually no indication that it is Garde Manger! You have to step into the restaurant before you can tell it is, in fact, Garde Manger.

Entrance during the day

During the night time however, the purple light is the signature indication that you have reached the right place!

Entrance at night.
Signature purple light!

Entrance way
Wall covered with articles about Chuck Hughes/Garde Manger

Dark interior

THE kitchen where he films Chuck's Day Off

The interior is cozy but also quite modern and trendy.

The entire menu are on chalkboards. This is to ensure that they can rotate their menu depending on what is freshest that day. These chalkboard menus are strategically placed around the restaurant so  you can clearly read a menu no matter where you are sitting.

We were brought some bread with a salmon cream cheese spread! Point for Garde Manger for adverting from typical bread and butter. Delicious but we have learned from experience not to fill up on bread.

Medium Seafood Platter ($90)
Dozen oysters, Shrimp, Snow Crab

No complains with this dish, but we did make the mistake of ordering this without asking the price (as it was not listed on the menu) We thought it'd be around $50 so we were a little surprised when we realized it was $90 just for this! Despite this, the seafood was extremely fresh especially the oysters and crab!

Salmon Tartare ($17)
This was one of the winners of the night. The strings are actually thinly sliced potato that is lightly deep fried. The salmon was fresh and the acidity of the lime and flavour of parsley offset the salmon. Very delicous!
Jerk Crab ($29)
If you cannot handle spicy, do NOT get this! It's one of the most flavourful crabs I've ever had - smokey, and heavily spiced with acidity from the lime to balance BUT it is incredibly spicy. I couldn't eat more than a leg!

Lobster Poutine ($19)

The winning dish of Chuck Hughes on Iron Chef America - of course we had to. The lobster poutine was absolutely delicious although I do wish there were more lobster pieces (We only got 3). The gravy very rich in lobster flavour and the potatoes were fried perfectly.

Scallops with Gnocchi
Carrot Butter Sauce
Huge scallops that were seared just enough to have a caramelized outer layer with a soft, smooth center. What really tied this dish together was the carrot butter sauce! I could have had a bowl of this and not get tired of it :P

Rock Shrimp Risotto in Lobster Broth ($36)
This was a surprisingly large dish and was so rich in shrimp and lobster flavour. So divine and absolutely to die for. The gnocchi and risotto were equally well enjoyed and appreciated. Plenty of shrimp and lots of lobster broth flavour. There are actually no words for this dish to describe it..

Braised Short Ribs with Spatzal & Cambazola ($36)
While Chuck specializes in seafood, his braised short ribs are infamous so we had to give those a shot as well. The little pieces under the short ribs are spatzal - a German pasta. Beef was perfectly cooked and seasoned very well .. a melt in your mouth tender. The cambozola on top added a whole other dimension of flavour as well as the fried onions on top.
Deep Fried Mars Bar with Vanilla Ice Cream ($7)

While this is considered one of Chuck's classic desserts, it did not blow me away. The idea is self explanatory and admittedly it was quite good, but it was nothing to write home about.

Peach Parfait ($9)
This was recommended by our waitress as it was the dessert of the day but like the Deep Fried Mars Bar, it was nothing too spectacular. Too much whipped cream and not enough peaches and angel food cake.

We had no idea the seafood platter would be $90, so that was a huge shocker when we received our bill which totalled to....


Needless to say, this was a pricey restaurant but we rarely come down to Montreal so.. go big or go home!

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