I was so excited to eat here after realizing how new and hot this place was. Little did I know that I would have a “first” here. Yes. I ate pig’s heart at Le Comptoir Charcuteries et Vins. When my friend ordered the dish, I just skimmed the description; read roasted squash and figured it was a vegetarian dish. Truth is this dish was a masterpiece, with a medley of flavours and textures.
Considering I’m not particularly adventurous in trying strange meats or animal organs, I was very pleased with this experience. I have so much respect for Chefs like Ségué Lepage, who take you on a journey of their imaginative creations. And he should be proud; this restaurant was named 8th best new restaurant in Canada, in the 2011 edition of EnRoute magazine.
All of the dishes we tried were well balanced even though they were a mishmash of ingredients– everyday ingredients that we take for granted are transformed into morsels that play a crucial part in these works of art. Even their sweet roasted onions had me craving them the next day!
The lobster tart was by far my favorite –chunks of lobster, roasted tomatoes, fresh crème and tarragon all served on a thin graham cracker, which added the right amount of sweetness. I could have had this dish all to myself. We also tried the octopus braised in white wine with crème fraiche and roasted onions. Although our knives were not sharp enough (we were stuck using our butter knives) to get through the invertebrate, the work was well worth it.
Once again, their use of onions is with purpose. It added depth and flavours to this otherwise plain entrée. Last but not least, the famous “pig’s heart dish”. Roasted squash, fried chick peas, creamy ricotta and hints of lime and mint all piled up with of course, sliced pig heart confit. There was a lot going on in this dish, but it all blended so well in my mouth. What’s fun is that you can really make this visit into an epicurean experience. Dishes are made to share and at such great prices too. It goes without saying, that the charcuteries plate is a must try – they use the entire pig in their cured meat selection. We ventured into it and found everything to be appetizing and not overly salty. We only had 4 out of 15 or so dishes and could have easily had more.
The restaurant itself is chic and lively, filled with a local crowd of hipsters, young and old. Our reservations were at 630pm and already, this place was happening! We were seated by the window and got to see all the poor souls who were turned away for not having reservations. If you`re looking for comfort food or something familiar, this is not that kind of place. However, if you`re feeling adventurous, call and reserve asap! Price range is between 10$-20$ per dish. This spot should be visited whether on a date, in a group of friends wanting to catch up and even for a nice night out with the family. It gets packed, but it’s somehow not noisy. Next time I go, I’ll have to sit at the bar and watch them work in their open concept kitchen. Who doesn`t enjoy watching masters at work? And the prices are so attractive, trust me, you`ll be back again in no time as well.
Le Comptoir Charcuteries et Vins:
4807 Boulevard Saint-Laurent
Montreal, QC, H2T 1R6