Address: 1155 Sherbrooke West. Montreal, Quebec H3A 2N3 (Sofitel Luxury Hotel)
Phone: (514) 285-9000
Found in the Montreal Downtown, situated a block away from McGill University and Parc du Mont-Royal, this fine dining restaurant is a must-go-to and extremely easy to access.
Upon entering the hotel lobby, we were welcomed by high ceilings, bright atmosphere, and open concepts. To the left, there is an entrance leading to Renoir, the restaurant.
One end of the restaurant is the bar, dimly lit, quiet and relaxing. It has a lot of windows, producing an open and tall space for its customers to experience and enjoy. It will never feel like everyone is within your personal space. Also, there is a glass door that leads to the patio.
On the other end of the restaurant is the sitting area for fine dining experience, with an open kitchen concept. This ensures that our food is prepared on the spot, is fresh. The open concept also creates a friendly environment, nothing secretive.
As our first time there, we studied the menu and talked to the waiter for recommendations and items that were not shown in the menu. Other than ordering food individually, we did realize, a line of words written in italics, for $59.00 you can have choice of a starter, a main course, french pastry and pressed coffee. You can choose from the items under each category from the menu. So, a semi prix fix menu but very versatile. It is quite a good deal, depending on how hungry you are and wants to try a variety of foods. So in the end, 2 in our group of 6, ordered the deal and everyone else ordered individual.
After ordering, our waiter brought us shares of complimentary bread and beef tartare, with free refills. Standard bread, though, it was on the hard and cold side. But, bread is bread, nothing to go head over heals for. Beef tartare was fresh, soft and chewy, with a hint of lemon juice and herb mixture of parsley, shallot and chive. Good bite size.
Gaspesie urchin soup ($19.00) was paired with homemade blinis with perfect egg and St-Pierre lake sturgeon caviar. I favour neither caviar and sea urchin in general because of the distinct flavours and slimy texture. I only tried the soup but not the caviar in the appetizer. The soup was well blended into a creamy, smooth texture. You do not taste much of the urchin fishy taste like when it is raw. I assume urchins are tasteless when it is cooked. It was really hearty and filling.
Bluefin tuna and homemade foie gras terrine ($23.00) with compressed abate pear, pomegranate and maple sugar brioche. Soft tuna and foie gras texture, very fresh. The fruits added a crunch, along with a sweet and sour fruit flavour to the appetizer. Thus, really refreshing.
Day’s Special was Pan Seared Spanish Halibut Beets Risotto ($42.00). The entree was absolutely amazing, scrumptious! Risotto had a creamy texture, tasted a lot of butter, cheese blend, white wine, and beets; extremely flavourful. The halibut was pan seared with salt and pepper. It was fresh, and flaky. The combination of the simple halibut with the rich and heavy beet risotto complimented each other well. Neither of the two overtook each other and balanced one another. But, it was extremely filling and heavy.
Fluke filet à la plancha ($28.00) mashed Jerusalem artichoke with pink garlic, kale cabbage, cherry stone shellfishes with savoury emulsion. This is the healthier choice out of all ordered. Filet was done to perfection, very juicy and soft, most importantly, intact in one piece. Scared of overdone fish, where everything crumbles. Tasted light, using salt and pepper for seasoning. Essence of the garlic was the only flavour going towards the fillet and artichoke, otherwise, the entree will taste quite bland. There was only ONE shellfish, with a foamy sauce on it. Personally, I did not like the emulsion, too frothy, gave me the feeling we were inhaling and imagining a taste there. Overall, simple dish with a clean taste, nothing too fancy.
Duo of Boileau deer ($42.00) – filet and deer shoulder Wellington with foie gras and Mr. Rémillard’s pointy cabbages served with pumpkin and Indonesian pepper jus. Deer had a texture like beef steak, except skinnier, leaner and tougher, probably from the deer’s high activity levels compared to a cow. The deer fillet tasted like a steak marinated in a pepper sauce. If you were not told it was a deer, you would have assumed it was a steak. The wellington tasted really good, a flaky crust on the outside, wrapping the fat, juicy and melt in mouth soft foie gras deer combination. Really filling, despite being served with petite portions.
Duck breast and grilled octopus ($33.00) served with eggplants and chanterelles (a form of fungus), Quebec apples and white curry spices. The duck was grilled to medium rare, producing a deep red middle wrapped in lightly cooked skin. This technique made the duck very soft and rendering a lot of its natural juices, keeping the natural flavours intact.
How can you not top it up with a dessert? They have a pastry chef, educated in France, making pastries and desserts every morning. Therefore, their selection is different everyday. We ordered the chocolate pistachio cake, in the middle, and the chocolate praline mousse, second from the right. The chocolate pisatchio was had a strong chocolate flavour, and lacked the pistachio nutty taste. The chocolate praline mouse was very soft and chocolaty, a white dark n milk layer. But, both cakes were extremely sweet for my liking.
Great flavours, great texture, good portions and amazing service! We were assisted by the manager and also the staff themselves. They were very helpful and answered any inquiries we had. On the friendlier side, we started cracking jokes and laughter filled the air. Overall, extremely nice and always on the ball. Ingredients are local, all from Canadian farms. It felt good to support the Canadian market, back to basics. The meal was astounding that we scraped up every little bit or leftover we could.