Bummer! I’m behind on my challenge of posting once per day! I did not take into account that I was having guests over and that I would spend the ENTIRE DAY cooking and preparing…I truly thought I’d have a spare half-hour or so. Not!
So, here it is!
Hubby and I had a date night on Friday night. We like to take advantage of the various coupons like “Living Social”, “Tuango”, etc. I truly believe these coupons are opportunities for restaurants to advertise their existence and for people like me to discover new eateries, in this case, Restaurant Ardoise Gourmande (sorry, no English version), a lovely old house transformed into a restaurant, situated on a charming street in Old La Prairie. (Thank goodness for GPS or we never would have found it!) There was plenty of parking, which is always a worry in this type of neighbourhood.
We were seated at a table by the terrasse, not wanting to sit outside as it gets cool quickly at this time of year. Service was friendly and our waitress (I believe she was the co-owner) was lovely. The decor was nice and welcoming.
I do not know this place so I don’t know if it is normal to serve bottled Italian vinaigrette with their salads (I don’t truly believe the House Caesar was “house” at all) or if it was an emergency backup, so to speak. I do understand that many items can be bought pre-made and frozen (including the cute little balls of butter) and that it does save time and effort. (However, I do NOT expect to pay the same price as when it is not an in-house creation!) Hubby ordered a Melting brie and dried cranberry in filo pastry, He is still trying to find some brie! There may have been a tiny smidgen in one corner but he wasn’t sure. (The size of the pastry was a good 6″ by 3″…. Just sayin’ there was enough room….) As for me, I ordered a “Mushroom, wine crisp” which I will admit had some flavour to it but really an enhanced cream of mushroom soup in a cute little ramekin; something a home cook would get kudos for. Again, not so much in a restaurant.
Let us move on to the mains. Mister took the filet mignon and I had the marinated skirt steak. His was cooked and seasoned to perfection and mine was nice and tender and had good flavour. The size of the steak would have been perfect for a child; though in today’s “bigger and fatter world”, maybe it was just right! The baked potato was also perfectly cooked (but really small) and served with a generous amount of sour cream. As for the rest of the veg, they were cooked to death! The snow peas were grey and the baby carrots just shy of mush; there were little cuke slices with a nice type of spicy salsa on top and I can only imagine what Gordon Ramsey would say about the plating! It would have gotten a scathing review, I’m sure. It was amateurish, to say the least. I should have taken a picture.
It was a beautiful evening so the smokers passed by our table to go outside on the terrasse. Unfortunately, with each opening of the door, a new swarm of those tiny little bugs came in. By the time we were to order dessert, the owner/server suggested we go sit by the bar as it looked like a mini tornado above our heads! We took her up on it!
We sat beside the owner’s daughter and chatted with the remaining staff. It seemed to be a family affair, which I really love. I was served my “profiterole” which was not the usual three little balls of pastry, filled with ice cream and drizzled with chocolate – it was one mega one (obviously not made in house), flat, mushy and not very good. Hubby had the “Reine Élisabeth”, which tasted just like the one you can buy at Costco.
According to their website, this restaurant has only been in business since December 2012, not yet a full year, and I feel the owners just lack experience. They need to cut corners a little less and put more of their own personalities into their food. Better a smaller menu with items that are done to perfection than a large one where it’s hit or miss.