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Toque


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A friend has highly recommended Toque. I feel more comfortable trusting eg. Will be in Montreal for two nights in Aug. and hate to "waste" a meal. I have the issue from Gourmet but have not yet read it in depth.

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Myself and 3 others were in Montreal in Sept and ate at Toque. The thread on eg is titled "Montreal..." with the subtext of "what we ate, oh and what we saw"

I am a dork and don't know how to put the link here but if you search "Montreal" on the eg site it comes up on about pg 3 - last post Nov 20th.

OK - Toque - great restaurant - I would highly suggest you go!! We posted pictures (well LMF did and since she is my friend I like to say "we" :biggrin: ) Let us know if you go.............

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A friend has highly recommended Toque. I feel more comfortable trusting eg. Will be in Montreal for two nights in Aug. and hate to "waste" a meal. I have the issue from Gourmet but have not yet read it in depth.

We were there in April and it was wonderful - worth every penny! Have the tasting menu with foie gras!

Chantal

Chantal

www.kawarthacuisine.ca

"Where there are vines, there is civilization"

from Mondovino

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Myself and 3 others were in Montreal in Sept and ate at Toque. The thread on eg is titled "Montreal..." with the subtext of "what we ate, oh and what we saw"

I am a dork and don't know how to put the link here but if you search "Montreal" on the eg site it comes up on about pg 3 - last post Nov 20th.

OK - Toque - great restaurant - I would highly suggest you go!! We posted pictures (well LMF did and since she is my friend I like to say "we"  :biggrin: ) Let us know if you go.............

Here's the link to said review.

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  • 4 weeks later...

A friend and I spent the long weekend in Montreal. That gave us two dinners to splurge on. We chose Au Pied de Cochon (reviewed in a separate post) and Toqué, which seems to be the dean of Montreal's fine dining restaurants. We hadn't reserved in advance, and our hotel concierge was skeptical of our chances on a Saturday night at short notice. However, he managed to secure a 9:30pm reservation, which was just fine for us.

We chose chef Normand Laprise's seven-course degustation menu ($88). The printed menu doesn't tell you what you'll be getting — it's "an elaborate mystery menu of seven inspired courses." To the best of my recollection, this is what we had:

Amuse bouche of cold tomato soup with a cucumber foam, and a crisp mozzarella stick with a chive running up its spine.

Scallop with strawberry foam. This was the one unsuccessful dish, as the strawberry foam totally overwhelmed the scallop. My friend, who doesn't eat scallops, was given a seafood ceviche instead, which she enjoyed.

Tuna tartare on a tortilla, with an avocado puree. This combination of tastes was the second most successful course, after the bass (see below)

Grilled striped bass, which my friend and I considered the most successful course

Pork belly, served in a sealed glass jar. This presentation was amusing, but frankly the taste of the pork was completely forgettable.

Duck breast in a mild pepper sauce, which we noted was an ample sized portion for a tasting menu

Goat cheese sorbet, which was excellent

Dessert, which I have entirely forgotten

I apologize for the Spartan descriptions, but that's about as much as I remember after a long and exhausting day. Service was terrific. The restaurant has a strange affectation of laying all the silverware at a 45-degree angle to the diner, and laying knives on their edge. It presents no inconvenience, and it is even a bit witty, but we wondered about the point of it. The restaurant is enormous and well appointed. Tables are both large and very generously spaced.

This was a very strong degustation menu, and for the $88 price a very compelling dining choice for the visitor to Montreal.

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Thank you for sharing your descriptions of Toque and Au Pied. It's always fascinating for me to read an outsider's perspective on the two restaurants that typify, I believe, the Montreal dining landscape.

The contrast between your illustrations of both is so emblematic as well. While Toque in many ways is flawless, Au Pied is a total, and quite different of course, experience.

Your effusive description of the latter speaks volumes. Not that there's anything wrong with what Laprise does at Toque. It's just a completely different animal.

Really interesting to read ... thanks again.

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Toque! is definitely worth it. I would recommend the tasting menu, definitely with the foie gras (I think this is still Toque!'s signature) and with the wine.

As for others, if you like meat, you must try the veal chop either at Alto Palato or Ristorante Lucca. The quality of meat is slightly better at Alto Palato but the quality of cooking is better at Lucca.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for all your input. Have reservations at Toque and called for Joe Beef but was disappointed to find out that they are closed for August. Still working on the next night.

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  • 11 months later...

Anyone been to Toque lately? Heading up to Montreal next month and wanted to make sure the quality hasn't slipped in the past year. Thanks for any input.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I see that Lesley C. has reviewed Toque for the Montreal Gazette (July 14th, 2007) giving it a deserved 4 stars (out of five).

While the praise is well deserved (especially for the lamb), I often wonder why I prefer a few other spots in Montreal.

There is a natural tendency to maybe judge a little harshly the supposedly top restaurant in Montreal. In term of “world class”, Toque is there but often I seem to have a more enjoyment at a few other spots. Is it my expectations? I don’t think so. I would argue that because they are so consistent and reliable that I’ve taken them for granted. Now is that such a bad thing?

Edited by ArtistSeries (log)
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correct me if i am wrong, lesley c, but you rate out of 4 stars right?

joey

You are right Joey. Lesley C. like most major N.American newspaper reviewers (NY Times for example) uses a four star system. The reference to "almost giving my first 4 1/2 star review" (not a direct quote but this was the drift I believe) may have caused ArtistSeries to think otherwise. However, it was my interpretation that this was more of an analogy similar to "I almost gave it 11 out of 10."

CAA/AAA have a 5 star system and Mobil has a five diamond one. These I believe are more skewed to large hotels and highly visible operations such as Nuance at the Casino.

Michelin as most people are aware judges on a three star system.

Edited by gruyere (log)
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It's my mistake. The highest score is four stars.

While enjoyable, I’m not certain that Toque is beyond reproach. In the article, Leslie does find a few faults with the restaurant (deserts in particular: The only slight off-note came with dessert…. I pucker just thinking about it…. I can’t say it’s a dessert I’d ever dream about).

Yes the Gazette give out a 4 star as the top rating – I’d assumed that since not all was perfect she was rating out of five. Also, in my defense, I was still wondering why the Gazette now does not rate wines but “try to capture in my tasting notes my impressions of the wine…” and goes to quote Robert Parker as a justification for this…

Apologies all around (and I’ll try to focus more next time)

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Toqué may not be beyond reproach, but no restaurant is. I am happy that Leslie gave them the four stars they deserve. Toqué (after 15 yrs) is still head and shoulders above most restaurants in Montreal, especially now that every other restaurant is a bistro. Not that there is anything wrong with bistros, we all love our bistro fare, but Toqué is something else. Good for them for keeping la haute gastronomie alive in Mtl when no one else wants to do it.

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Visited Montreal and, of course, ate at both Toque and Au Pied du Cochon.

Was "slightly" disappointed with both - they just didn't seem to zing although both were certainly good.

The tasting menu at Toque was similar to that described above. I rather enjoyed the scallops with strawberries. Main was also the duck breast (with raspberries).

The dessert was a delight for the eyes - although the taste didn't fully match. Two dishes served looked identical - a 'cigar cube' with "cream" at both ends. One turned out to be white chocolate ends stuffed with local raspberries and the other was mascarpone surrounding local strawberies. Looked identical but different dishes.

The raspberries were indeed excellent - but appeared in 4 of the tasting dishes - either as an ingredient or a garnish. Just too many - yes, include local ingredients as available - but please don't overdo it.

The salad course with dried sliced mushrooms (and raspberries!) was also excellent. But overall we wanted more. The wine selections were again OK - but nothing exciting.

Overall impression was of a kitchen playing it safe - they know what they're doing - and it's all good but somehow isn't memorable.

Can't compare it to anything else in Montreal - but, for example, we were wowed the following day by the flavours at Devi - totally different style (of course) but a level of food excitement - in particular the crab dish (with black peppers, red(chile) peppers and coconut milk to bind it together) was truly memorable.

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I echo Bon Apetite Cookbooks, in the recommendation for Joe Beef, over Toque; and add that The Emperor is not wearing any clothes. i have no fear in sharing my opinion that Normand Laprise is a highly qualified chef, and question his efforts as a restaurateur. I feel he peaked at Citrus.

Yes, Toque gets a lot of glowing reviews, especially from his cheer leader in the local anglo press. But, it pales in comparison to other talent.

If I see that damned Tuna Tartare on Avocado ever again, I will know I am in hell. This was tired 10 years ago.

I would opt for Giovanni Apollo's Duo de foie gras de canard poêlé et flan poire rôtis (beurre cryogénisé) or Médaillon de homard confit en direct au champagne et vanille Papouasie any day over anything coming out of the kitchen at Toque.

Edited by fedelst (log)

Veni. Vidi. Voro.

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I was lucky enough to dine at Toqué since my last post. Again it was stellar. No tuna and avocado in sight, instead an array of ultra seasonal dishes featuring the best of what’s available locally. Each dish was bright, with plenty of flavour, yet subtle, with spot on sauces and garnishes, always with a surprising flourish. Stand-outs were the oyster amuse with radish, my companion’s lobster ravioli, the scallops and the vegetables that accompanied my lamb and my mackerel, not that the protein part wasn’t exquisite too. It’s just that there were little chanterelles, wild sea greens, baby seasonal veg, nasturtium, rose petals, raspberries, all kinds of fresh local stuff treated magnificently everywhere.

Just about every time I’ve eaten at Toqué, I’ve felt that this kitchen was peaking, and especially lately, when funny enough, I am more picky and less wooed by fancy-pants food than I was before. I just feel like they’ve finally grown out of the old, quaint and amazing-for-its-time Toqué and grown, falling into stride with their new digs and ever prominent reputation, while always staying true. Joe Beef and many others in Mtl. are equally good at their own thing, and I might be more often inclined to dine in that kind of more casual place, but that doesn’t take away from Toqué being at the height of fine dining in Montreal. All restaurants are different beasts anyway, you just have to know which one suits you and your mood. But if you want to wow, knowing that you are going to a formal - fine food place, Toqué is it.

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  • 1 year later...

After a large number of visits to Montreal in the last couple of years, I finally made it to Toque a few weeks ago. Easily the best meal of my life, and I didn't just fall off the foie gras truck, either.

As others have mentioned, I had the tasting menu with premium wines, and it was unbelieveably wonderful. It included the following - unfortunately I don't have my journal here, so I'm missing a couple of course, all of which were great.

Amuse was whipped cream with chives, shallots and crisy toast bits - playfully reminiscent of chips and dip, but utterly delicious.

Two scallops, seviche style, served with an extraordinary white Burgundy

Foie gras with brioche, groundcherry preserve, hazelnuts with an off-dry Muscat - best single dish EVER.

Rabbit deconstructed ravioli

Chocolate napoleon with milk and dark chocolate mousse and vanilla ice cream

With the bill - A dark chocolate truffle flavored with balsam fir! Sounds crazy, but made total sense.

The service was perfect - professional, knowledgeable, friendly, gracious. I like the space and found it very warm and comfortable, although the surrounding area is a bit bleak.

Having been to APdC a number of times, it's really hard to compare the two restaurants, but I think going to both is a great way to sample some of the range of Quebecois fine cuisine. Both are extraordinary, in my experience, unparalleled anywhere for a pure sense of place and cultural heritage. Once again, hats off to Montreal for your fantastic food and joie de vivre!

"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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