I was just there on Friday. It started off as a shopping night, some nice drinks at Rosalie (boy that evening office crowd gets pretty gino"esque" during happy hour). The drinks are great however. We the had a huge craving and headed out to Chevres with reservations.
I'm gonna keep it simple: The food was amazing, the service was atrocious. No arm intented, I will go back many times but sometimes, setting proper expectations with customers is much better than trying to justify errors.
When we walked in, we were quite impressed to see how the place turned out, the wall treatment, the light neon colors just in time with the right palette (but not for long), that cheese counter is to die for... that cheese counter is criminal ! The dessert area for dressing, it's all pretty good. Couple of physical points that I wasn't a fan with: The tables are to long, I was closer to my neighbor than my girlfriend, plus it gives all the reason in the world to hear annoying Outremont patrons to talk about cars, houses and retirement plans to the rest of the crowd... The menus are set up in what I described as my personnal tables of commandments, do the exercise, the thing just flings everywhere, you cannot hold the menu and a glass of water... Finally, those yellow tinted treatments on the top windows show a lot of grime probably from the glue, they should be shinning. I aslo think that you should use the bar area as the entrance and bring people over to the main room, not the other way around.
Service: It started with our entry, Mr Beausoleil showed up at the reservations area, jovial as always. He was looking for his maitreD "Y'est ou mon petit bonhomme?" "Suivez moi on va le trouver", I was under the impression he would seat us but it seemed some other guy was doing that. Turns out we walked all the way around, once the maitre D was found, without a hint of awarness, he pointed the table that we could sit at, never budged one second from his discussion with his friends (sorry, he was having wine with some guest). Give me a break, how in the world does a kid like that actually tell Beausoleil what to do... get that sorry ass MaitreD out of there, he obvioulsy didn't even bother look around for the best table, he nudged us 5 inches away from another couple, just enough space to let the waiter wiggle his bum on our table to serve the other table. Then we got the waiter who just started, fresh... lesson one: learn to set proper expectations with your customers. Please let us know that you are starting... It's OK, it's not a crime, everybody needs a start. There was back up but back up seemed to be quick to point out his collegue was a junior and that we would be in good hands with him... I've seen that game to often in the corporate world... I am suprised Mr Beausoleil did not notice all this, we had to ask for the menu, no water was brought... Our menues were taken but not the order, we were starting to laugh pretty hard... While the MaitreD was sipping wine away with his friends... That bread girl is so cute and efficient, she simply needs to smile a little bit more. BTW, the new waiter was very nice with us, he was just so green and it seems no one was out the babysit him... this is really not the best way to start someone out.
Food: Well what can I say, Chevres' energy is all in the kitchen and the type of food presented. We started off with more drinks (after we had caramelised pineapples on bread with fresh tomatoe juice), my drink was delicious fresh grpaefruit squeeze, campari, white porto.
I decided to go with the artichoke/tomatoe/olive cake that was very, very good. I am guessing some oil of truffe. I thaught there was to much olive guarnish, the strong taste kind of took over the artichokes, but really I was impressed with the dish, the sommelier (who is quite the character) had a pefect selection for this dish. How do you do these olives guarnish ? We had an argument about it, I settled for a kalamata puree, mixed up with japanese tempura mix and then dried up in an oven or fried and granulated ?
My friend had the potage the topinambour...that was also very awsome... vive la creme d'antan a 42%.
For main, I had the betacarde ravioli (little gems), I'm gonna say Shitake (but they were small) and grilled fenouille....mmmm that was good, offically beats my favorites ravioli dish at Area. My friend had some kind of crepes with compotte d'ognion, asperges... but I concentrated on my plate the most. I am suspecting a good amount of butter in that betacarde ravioli, the betacrade could be lifted from a tiny squeeze of organic blood oranges or something as such, especially with the fenouille. One plate got my liver really going.
I think Les Chevres are on to a very nice approach on food. It would be however nice to see that staff take in as much of the concept than the chefs. These folks need to go out and weed a couple of organic farm for a day, get there hands dirty. In August, you need to ask your producer to take in those city slicking hands of theirs for a good week end in the fields. It may not be obvious for everyone that it was the second week of the local asparagus offering, sometimes I read the menu, I read a certain tomatoe genus on a plate. I sware to god, I have a catalogue of about 200 heirloom seeds and I have never heard that name before. The whole approach to vegetables, where they are coming from, how they are grown, why some should be consumed as organic while it may not matter for other types. All that information should be part of the philosophy and should transcend from the kitchen to the maitreD. It may be too simple to tell a mere Bernard street mortal that he is eating organic, others might want to understand why, others may not care one bit. I think all angles need to be looked at, but the produce never lie, I want to have more appreciation for the produce and every step should be taken to focus on that without having to be preachy or educational.
Finally we get dessert, damn this is the hotest dessert place in town, no question about it. I had a chocolate creme (was there truffle oil and butter in there ?) broiled babana's, my friend had a small almond and orange cup cake with star anise ice cream, super good. We got some nice little peppered pastry at the end, from the kitchen.
I asked for an allongee and got a double espresso, that's when we decided to call it a night. As we were leaving, we got another nice little peppered pastry, the guy started talking and I said: "let me guess, gracieusete de la cuisine" The waiter was so happy that I clued in on that, only to see his face drop one more time when I told him the kitchen had already graced us once...
Edited by identifiler, 12 May 2003 - 08:22 PM.