Teatro – Stephen Avenue

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Walking into the restaurant, it looked grand. The ceilings were high with amazing moulding, the pillars were big and there was nicely placed large pieces of art at each of the main walls. The kitchen was open, with copper-coloured steam vents which was even more visually appealing. The bustling sound of people working at the kitchen made us excited to try the food there.

The waiter who was serving us promptly came to greet us and asked us about drinks. Soon after, he had came over and due to the fact that tfung had kindly alerted the restaurant previously that it was our 3rd year anniversary together, champagne was brought over to us! The champagne was quite good, not too sweet and not too dry, the bubbles rose quickly, evenly, and in one very straight column.

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As we looked at the menu, the choice to me was obvious. For appetizer, it was either the calamari or the beet salad for me. We ended up just sharing a calamari appetizer since we were going out for drinks after (and maybe some snacks). The calamari came in this very cute newspaper cone, with some aioli on the side. The batter was done with rice crumbs, which made it extra crunchy. The calamary was fresh and had that seafood crunch as you bit into it. The aioli could have been a little more flavourful, as in they could have added some sort of extra flavour (garlic, truffle) to it. The one thing I have to complain about was that the calamari was way too salty. It felt like my mouth was burning from the salt. Next time, it’d be better if they had brought the salt down a knotch, and perhaps offered some table salt if the patrons so please.

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For our mains, I ordered the seafood lasagna, and tfung ordered the Alberta lamb. My seafood lasagna was quite good. It came searing hot, and there was copious amounts of baked cheese and tomato sauce surrounding the lasagna itself. It was topped off with some microgreens, a large scallop and Prawn on the top. The lasagna pasta was quite soft and was to my taste, a little overdone. But due to the fact that it was smothered in sauce, it wasn’t surprising. The ratio of the cheese to pasta to sauce of the lasagna was quite good and to my liking. There was quite a good amount of seafood in it, but you could tell that some of it definitely was not fresh. At $39 for this lasagna, I really expected fresh, high quality seafood, which I did not get. The taste was very ordinary and there were no surprises.

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Thomas’s Alberta lamb was even worse. We expected larger pieces of lamb, cooked medium rare, but we got tiny cubes of overdone meat. Furthermore, the whole dish was extremely salty, which meant you cannot taste any flavour of the meat, making us think that this lamb may not be of top quality. Again, at $35, I would not expect this. The vegetables were mixed in, which meant that there was no plating. At a restaurant where they emphasize that they are fine-dining, this lack of plating is absolutely unacceptable. I would not pat $10 for this dish.

The evening started off quite well, and ended in disappointment. I felt terrible that for our 3 year anniversary, we didn’t eat amazing food. Oh well, I will not be coming back here ever again. The food doesn’t match up to many of the places we’ve been to and the price is almost triple of what we pay for elsewhere. Although the decor and the service is quite nice, I don’t go to a restaurant solely for that and have the food taste bad. Maybe for a lounge or bar, that would be acceptable (that the drinks are not tasty), but not for a seemingly high quality Italian restaurant.

Service: 4.5/5
Food: 6.5/10
Atmosphere: fine dining, romantic, open kitchen, grand
Price: $50-70

Teatro on Urbanspoon

~ kehwon

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Laloux – Plateau Mont-Royal

Situated on Ave du Pins, Laloux is easily accessible to me. But on the snowy day my friends and I decided to go, it ended up being an adventure. It was hard to find parking since many spaces were unavailable due to the snowbanks. Nevertheless, we got to the restaurant, and it was fairly quiet, as it was Wednesday night.

Before arriving, I had spotted on their facebook page that there was a special menu (menu Entracte) for 2 appetizers and one dessert for $20. This was an incredible deal and since I wasn’t too hungry, I thought this would be a perfect way to try several dishes without being too full. However, after we sat down and everyone ended up wanting this appetizer+dessert deal, the waitress alerted us that this deal was only on the other side of the restaurant: the bar.

Since we all were pretty set on our choices, we decided to just move on over. The quality of the interior decor fell significantly. However it ended up being a nice choice as we became rowdy over a glass of wine.

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Chicken liver mousse, crabapple puree, Genoa cake, almonds and fresh honey.

My friend ordered a chicken liver mousse. After bringing the dish over, the waitress also brought over a long fresh rectangular shaped honey comb, and scraped off a large spoonful of honey onto her plate. It was absolutely spectacular. The presentation is amazing, with the colours complementing each other. It makes for a visually and gastronomically appealing experience.

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Beets salad, roasted carrots, immature juniper berry and wild raisin gel

I of course went for the beet salad, as that has been my go-to for vegetables when eating out. I never have the patience to roast beets myself, due to my small kitchen space and crappy oven. But I actually love the taste and colour of beets. They did it amazingly. The beets weren’t too sour with the sauce, nor too bland. The texture wasn’t too soft and overdone. The plating was nice, but I thought they could have garnished with some greens or a lighter colour. There were magenta and dark purple chips that topped off the salad, which added a nice crunch.

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Seared scallop, Jerusalem artichoke and pine nuts

I then ordered the scallops, which came in a pretty generous portion considering the price. The scallops were done nicely, not too raw on the inside but just enough so that the outside isn’t overdone. The scallions added a nice fresh taste. They also added some rapini on the side to add some colour. The sauce was done quite nicely, and not too salty as can often happen with scallops. I definitely liked that they seared both sides of the scallop – I had ones where they only sear one side and there just isn’t enough flavour and punch.

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Roasted quail, apricot puree and Waldorf salad

Finally, my friend ordered the quail. I normally love quail, but I honestly wasn’t feeling too hungry that night. From what I saw, it seemed like they roasted it quite nicely.

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Seabuckthorn and Kalingo chocolate macaron, seabuckthorn sorbet

My friend went for the giant chocolate macaron. The filling was the Kalingo chocolate, and the two sides and the sorbet were made of seabuckthorn, which is a very tart and sour berry. I didn’t try this, but my friend commented that it really was quite sour. It was also too big for her to finish.

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Lemon tart, rosemary marshmallow, yuzu foam, grapefruit sorbet

For dessert, I opted for the lemon tart, partly because I love citrusy and tartness of these desserts, and partly because there was grapefruit sorbet and yuzu foam. This dessert was absolute perfection. Every bite there is a different texture and taste. With each differnt combination comes a new sensation. I couldn’t get enough of this, it was so amazing. The tart was not too hard (which truly frustrates me), the lemon custard was done in an interesting pattern. There was some crushed hazlenuts sprinkled all over the plate, giving the much needed crunch. The yuzu foam was obviously good. As for the grapefruit sorbet, I have to be honest and say that it was really bitter. However, when paired with anything else on the plate, it was really nice. You can tell that they made the grapefruit sorbet fresh themselves (or at least whoever they bought the sorbet from). Lastly and the most unusual in this mix was the rosemary marshmallow. I’m not a huge rosemary fan, but with the tart it was really good! The stickiness of the marshmallow with the crumble of the tart, the sweetness of the marshmallow with the sourness of the lemon. It was an unlikely pairing, that pleasantly surprises you. Although the appetizers were good, I thought the fun lay in the dessert. It was the most interesting, different and unique experience of the whole night.

Overall, I thought Laloux has some quality dishes. We weren’t even in the main dining room (which I feel like can affect the service and quality of the food), but everything was done quite nicely. I did think that the service was slow, but there was only one waitress on both sides (to my understanding). Although there were probably only 5 tables in the whole restaurant (both sides combined), it was probably a lot of leg work for her to be doing.

I definitely recommend you to come here, whether for their Entracte menu, or regular menu. Just make sure to call ahead so you’re not disappointed, because it may get quite busy on a weekend night!

Service: 3/5
Food: 9.0/10
Atmosphere: Asian (bar), classy (restaurant)
Price: $20 for menu Entracte, $35-50 for regular menu.

Laloux on Urbanspoon

 

~ kehwon