Friday, December 5, 2008

52. Canada: Café du Lac - a taste of Québec

Café du Lac
2350 Lake Shore Blvd West
(West of Park Lawn)
416 848 7381

For the final restaurant in our weekly ethnic eats challenge we unearth a real gem in an unlikely setting. The Café du Lac has little in the way of local competition and it's clear that well-heeled boomers from nearby condos have been flocking here since it opened five months ago. There's free parking out front after six and it's easily accessible by street car. They host live music on alternate Fridays, and reservations highly recommended. We were greeted and seated promptly and our server offered to take our coats and hang them up.
We order drinks and a basket of gourmet bread, baked fresh daily by the chef, and herb butter arrives with them. The prix fixe menu option is a great deal at $30: Soup or Salad, Duck Trio (duck tourtière, stuffed duck and foie gras), and apple crumble. We choose starters from the list of varied and interesting options: French onion soup, $5; Tarte au tomate cerise [seen here] the garlic herb cream cheese is a perfect foil for the tangy cherry tomatoes, $8; Organic Greens Salad tossed with house vinaigrette, $7; Yukon Gold frites are surprisingly tasty, $5 . Our main courses are : Grilled salmon in virgin sauce with rustic potatoes (Peruvian Blue) and mixed vegetables, $22; the Chef's vegetarian pasta plate, $16 (certainly not your average plate of pasta). The house red, La Vielle Ferme, Cotes du Ventoux, is good value at $18 for a half litre. Tea, decaf & coffee are $2 a cup. Total cost $178.17 for five $205 with tip.
Marketing whiz and manager, Kathryn greeted regulars and newcomers with equal enthusiasm. Her husband Pierre, the chef, was introduced to us at the table and wondered what we thought of his new dish the duck trio.
Café du Lac has a clean, elegant interior with hardwood floors and tables. Tonight, arguably to make room for the musicians, tables are a bit too crowded in and temperature too warm for complete comfort. Over all a top notch restaurant - great food, good value.

Rating: Ambiance (3)
Service (4)
Food Presentation (4)
Food Quality (4)
Value for Money (4)