tfung and I had the pleasure of celebrating some special occasions all in one. It’s our 4 year anniversary in two months, I’ve finished school and just have internship now, and he had just finished carms tour. We’re moving on in our lives to the next stage and we’re both very excited. So we decided to spend some money on a nice meal. Since he was visiting Montreal, I proposed going to Maison Boulud, which is by the famous Daniel Boulud, a glamorous restaurant located inside the Ritz-Carlton Montreal.
We glammed up for the occasion, which ended up being a little awkward, as when we first walked in, we saw two people in jeans and a v-neck sweater. But I thought, it’s our night, we want to make it special. We were seated near the fireplace, and the waitress came to make sure we were comfortable. She briefly explained the menu, as we had inquired about the tasting menu.
The tasting menu is $95, and +$90 with wine pairing. She informed us that it would be an amuse bouche, and appetizer, a pasta, a fish, a meat, and a dessert. The dishes would come from the a la carte menu that we were given.
In the end, we decided on just getting an appetizer and a main dish each. Thus, the dinner began.
We started off with the amuse bouche, which was an arancini with a cheese filling. It came on top of a small bowl filled with rice, which I thought was very fitting, given the ingredients of an arancini. An by far, it was the best one I’ve had! The cheese was not overpowering or overwhelming, as I’ve found in my past experience. The size of the arancini was just right, fits well in one bite (although someone with a smaller mouth could have it in two). The rice was perfectly cooked, still maintaining the first texture. The crust was not too crispy, but gave enough of a contrast to the firmness of the rice and the softness of the cheese. Overall, an excellent start.
Next, I had the octopus carpaccio, which displayed their excellent plating technique. Obviously an amazing dish to look at, the various ingredients also gave for new and interesting experience with every bite. I love dishes like this. The octopus was tender and retained its original flavour, with the light olive oil dressing, paired well with the Kalamata and Amfissa olives. There was also some capers, seasoned white potatoes and parsley on the plate, with the sweetness of cherry tomatoes. Overall, the dish was an excellent appetizer, giving that glimpse into all the various flavours and textures one may want to explore at the beginning of a meal. It definitely opens up the appetite and senses, and the possibility of making new combinations of flavours and textures every bite was extremely fun.
tfung had the egg yolk ravioli, which was one very large and thick ravioli. Inside was light fluffy goat cheese with an egg yolk in the center. Extremely interesting appetizer, however the truffle butter that was promised did not deliver the truffle flavour one would expect. It was also swimming in butter, which was not very appetizing to either of us. The ravioli itself was executed well, but did not impress.
For the main, I had the Princes Scallops capelleti, in a butter sauce with Iberico ham. The capelleti and the scallops were adequately cooked. The dish did not impress me, it was swimming in butter and I became full from all the fat that I had ingested. The size of the scallops were mediocre, with good flavour and texture. It was not an impressive dish, and did not meet my expectations of a restaurant of such calibre.
tfung had the Beef duo, which consisted of a tenderloin and braised ribs, with some roasted garlic potatoes and chantarelle mushrooms as sides. The tenderloin was well seasoned, and grilled very well on the outside with good flavour on the crust. It was juicy and moist on the inside, retaining its juices. As it is tenderloin, it did not have any beef flavour that I personally look for in steaks. However, for tenderloin, it was done very well. The ribs were flavourful and infused with red wine. But unfortunately, it was extremely dry, and being placed on the same dish as the juicy tenderloin, it gave huge disappointment.
Of course, because Maison Boulud is known for their desserts, I had to get at least one. tfung wasn’t interested in desserts and had ordered a red wine to pair with his beef. I opted for a lighter option after the dripping fat I had just ingested, and ordered the Pear Sorbet on Meringue, encapsulating cooked pear and walnuts. The dish was garnished with crème fraîche and some flower petals for colour and topped with a gold flake. As expected, the dessert was amazing. The meringue was not too sweet, and was pretty much perfect. Paired with the cream and the sorbet in the same bite, all the different textures was amazing. The dish was definitely not too sweet, and because pears were the main ingredient, not too tart either. A good finish following a mediocre main course, I think the evening ended on a good note.
Overall, I have to say the best aspect of the restaurant is the service. It was absolutely perfect, they were attentive, the timing of the dishes was impeccable, and they were not too annoying (which I find can often happen when waiters and waitresses are too attentive). They knew exactly when we wanted something, and knew when things were going well. The decor however, was not my personal style, so I didn’t enjoy that as much. Also, because some patrons come from work, and some come for a special occasion, the dress code was all over the place – some in jeans, some in nice dresses and suits (us). I definitely think the desserts were extremely well done, and judging from others’ comments, that is what people go for at Maison Boulud. That being said, the fact that both the mains disappointed us was unacceptable. It was a shame, and I wished it would meet our expectations in the least. I had not expected Maison Boulud to disappoint us like this.
Atmosphere: hotel, cozy, slightly rustic