Cuisine Type: Exquisite French
Stepping into Laloux, you notice there are two sections. The right section is a more intimate setting with very low lights, almost like a candlelight dinner. The left section, known as Laloux Bar, is noisier with more lighting. But the great part is the $19 table d’hôte menu consisting of an appetizer, a main meal, and a dessert.
The first appetizer was maplewood smoked salmon served with fennel salad, orange peel purée and yuzu foam. It was good but nothing exceptional. The salmon did not taste sweet. The second was a chicken liver mousse served with crab apple purée, honey crisp apple, brioche and maple pecan. It was mind-blowing. Every bite you took revealed a different flavour. A mix of bitterness, saltiness, and sweetness overflowed in your mouth.
The choice of the main meals were between a seared beef tartare served with black garlic, maple, and soy marinated honey mushroom, or a maple glazed quail served with Waldorf salad. However, for an extra $10, you could have a beef flank steak served with oyster mushrooms, green onion, black garlic, and potatoes from M. Decelles covered with shallot sauce. The steak was exquisite both as medium and well-done. The mushrooms and potatoes were a good complement and the shallot sauce added a nice flavour to everything.
The desserts were a choice of maple profiterole served with vanilla ice cream and covered with maple sauce or a maple panna cotta, green apple mousse and granite, and Labrador tea crumble in a small jar. The maple profiteroles were light, creamy and sweet. They were warm and were well complimented with the sauce and ice cream. The maple panna cotta was a special mix, really sweet with some sourness due to the apple mousse while the tea crumble added a different taste.
It was a nice experience with a remarkable choice of meals. For French cuisine, the portions were not too small.
Restaurant Dolcetto & Co
Cuisine Type: Italian
Angela De Cicco
With tons of restaurants participating in Taste MTL, it’s hard to choose from the many savory, mouth-watering menus. Hearing great things about Dolcetto & Co, located in the heart of the old port, I was quick to decide on it. The cozy, quaint and charming ambiance surely pays homage to its name; Dolcetto, meaning “little sweet one” in Italian. An assortment of bread accompanied by olive oil and vinegar were served at the start, getting my taste buds warmed up for the anticipated appetizer: a puff pastry stuffed with maple polenta, pancetta and fontina. It literally melted in my mouth as the soft polenta and crisp pancetta fused together in one bite. The sweetness of the maple polenta and the salty pancetta complemented each other, leaving me satisfied yet ready for the main meal: pizza. My absolute favorite of the night: white pizza with rosemary roasted potatoes, caciocavallo cheese and maple cream. The pizza was cooked to perfection, not too crispy and not too soft. The maple cream gives the pizza that last kick of flavour, making it impeccable. I’m not that much of a dessert person, but I do love chocolate and went with the chocolate and raspberry fondant. The raspberry’s sourness combined in a sweet warm chocolate brownie ended the evening’s meal perfectly. Otis Redding’s “Sitting at the dock of the Bay” playing in the background evoked the nautical themed décor of Dolcetto & Co, making this restaurant one I’ll definitely be going back to. Considering its Old Port location, it’s cheap prices ($5 – $15 per dish) make it affordable for students.
Restaurant Lola Rosa
Cuisine type: Vegetarian
When searching for a restaurant to try on Taste MTL’s website, I was looking for something reasonable (the $19 three-course meal) and highly acclaimed by Internet food critics. On Yelp, Lola Rosa received four out of five stars, while on Urban Spoon it received a 91% positive response.
Lola Rosa is a cute vegetarian restaurant located in the Mile End neighbourhood. The atmosphere was warm and reminiscent of the cozy fall season. Most of the furniture was made from wood, contrasted with deep orange and crimson red decor. Bookshelves were placed throughout the restaurant, and glass milk jugs were used to serve water.
For appetizers, I ordered the small Rosa salad, and my friend ordered the tomato soup. The Rosa salad was a delightful surprise of various flavours. Goat cheese, beans and freshly sliced fruits and veggies were coated with a light maple balsamic dressing. However, I did not realize the main course was also accompanied by a salad (not as decorative or exciting as the Rosa), so I should have gone with the soup. The soup was made from brown basmati rice. The maple definitely added richness.
I chose a tartlet for my main course. My friend and I swapped half of our meal in order to get a more diverse experience. She ordered the quesadilla. Both dishes were accompanied with a side of salad and brown rice. They acted as fillers, and were a bland addition. Unfortunately, the tartlet tasted like wasabi had been smeared onto it — must’ve been the mustard seeds. I tried to be adventurous and dig into the beets, parsnip, confit shallots and maple Chantilly tartlet. The best part was the crispy tart, with everything else scraped off.
While I found the tartlet too powerful, the quesadilla did not do much for my taste buds. There was no trace of satisfying, melted cheese between the crispy tortillas. It contained sweet potato, jalapeno and avocado, which tasted like a limp mash. The main courses weren’t terrible, but they surely weren’t amazing.
I was most excited about ordering dessert. I ordered the nut and maple tart, and my friend chose the vegan chocolate cake. When I received my dessert, it was a bit awkward at first. There wasn’t any tart component to it. A scoop of vanilla ice cream sat on top of sugar coated roasted pecans. I had to savour each little spoon of dessert, but in reality, I could’ve finished it off in one bite. It was delicious, but I did find the portion disappointing. My friend’s vegan chocolate cake was warm and drizzled with raspberry sauce. I am not one for mixing chocolaty desserts with fruit. However, I did try a bite, and the cake was moist. I probably couldn’t have guessed it was vegan.
I was still eyeing the other diner’s meals; namely the nachos, which weren’t part of the Taste MTL menu. I did leave the restaurant feeling bloated, and somewhat satisfied with my experience. The waiter was lovely (my friend broke a glass) and the service was pretty good. I would consider going again, and ordering those nachos. I felt it was a three-and-a-half star experience. For a university student though, I expected a bit more for the $19 I spent.