COVID time is here. Ah, all the fun we're having, am I right? I'm kidding, of course. Ugh. Anyhoot, I'm temporarily out of retirement to write what it's like to eat in COVID times. And of course about the food. Duh. Restaurants officially reopened about a month ago, and as a restaurant goer and food lover (and blogger), I was due to go!
I know everyone hates COVID, but I HAAAAATE COVID. I loathe COVID. COVID is my enemy. I work for an airline customer service so.... ya....'nuff said! Since restaurants have reopened, they obviously have to abide by certain rules pertaining to sanitary and health. Everyone has to wear a mask and there has to be at least 2 meters between tables. I didn't think I would appreciate this, but it actually wasn't THAT bad. Just use common sense: you get up, you put your mask on. You come in, you purel your hands (I love how 'purel' has become a verb recently). Hey, you don't want to wear a mask, stay the f*ck home! You Don't want to purel your hands, stay the f*ck home! No food for you! They disinfected the table as well as the seat before I sat down. Obviously, there weren't as many tables as usual, but between having a bit less tables and having a closed restaurant, I choose less tables.
OK enough about this pandemic (sigh). Let's talk about this resto! Bistro Chez Boulay serves up a mix of Terroir and French, which is one of my fave mix :) It has some tables outside in front, and quite a large dining room. OK, I guess it SEEMED larger because of the lack of tables, but still. The lighting kind of reminded me of Nacarat, in the Reine Elizabeth: sexy and cool. That's right, I went there. Hi, I'll take some sexy lighting please. And thank you. The one thing I would change is that the table was a tad too high for me. I really hate that. I mean, I'm short, I get it. But I'm not exceptionally short. Come on. The ambiance was very nice: the waiters were hustlin' and bustlin', and it was just loud enough. I hate it when I feel like I'm eating in a club. Ugh.
Le food. This was my first course. So visually appealing! Le Charlevoix: tartare de boeuf. Yum-my! Angus beef tartare, crunchy hemp, sheep cheese, daisy capers, wild mustard seeds, cured egg yolk. This was melt-in-your-mouth good. No, it was damn exquisite. Just freaking delightful. OK, enough with the adjectives. All the flavours just popped in my mouth! POP POP POP! Seriously, my eyes were wide open! I kind of looked ridiculous. And yes, the fact that it was Angus beef made a difference. Hey, I go for the higher quality of meat. That's the kind of carnivore I am. The hemp gave a great crunchy aspect to the dish and a nice pop (here I go again with the pop), and it's always nice to get a contrast of textures! I would not have known that it was hemp per se, but it was lovely. The cheese was soft and smooth and a bit salty, which married well with the other flavours. That's right, I said 'married'. One thing I wasn't a fan of is that it was cut in uneven pieces. If you're going to serve a tartare THIS good, do it right, yo! My ITHQ profs would not have been pleased :p The daisy capers (wtf, this is a new thing to me) were so cute and weren't too salty like, you know, capers...capers ;) The cheese added a bit of saltiness, and overall yumminess (that's the technical word, of course). All in all, this dish was a hit. A big hit. I'd go back in a second if I could, and order the same thing over and over again. And for y'all that have never tasted beef tartare (shame on you!), you should definitely start HERE.
Second course. I felt like going veg for this one. They had ONE option...which is, well, not that much. In my opinion, they should have at least two. The number of vegetarians and végans are growing and in many restos, it seems like the dishes catered to them are not. It was called 'Ferme de la Grive': fresh and smoked heirloom tomato from Mélanie's farm (you know, Mélanie!), buffarella with blackcurrant, fermented shallots, homemade focaccia crouton, chervil. I must divulge...this was a bit of a letdown. Pouet pouet pooouuuet. I mean, it was pretty, sure! You eat with your eyes first...blablabla. The tomatoes that had lots of kick were the smoked! Mmmmm! The bread was literally drowned in butter (or something buttery). That was a bit too much. The cheese was marinated in blackcurrant, which gave it an extra oumf, but extra oumf on nothing... is not WOW. Was that clear? Fermented shallots were great, and the big thick slices of heirloom tomatoes were good and juicy, but this was not worth 25 dollars, I'm sorry. 18$ at best. Don't ask me how I calculated that.
Except for the wait before getting into le resto, service was on par the whole evening. I was asked if I liked my meal during the first and second course, the pitcher of water was on my table 1 second after I sat down and my Eska (haha: MY Eska) arrived very quickly too. And you know what, even with masks on, I FELT like the waitresses/waiters were smiling :)
And now, les scores!
Food:7.5 (10 for the appetizer)
I'm going back fosho if I'm in Québec city again. And I'm telling ERRYONE to go, too!
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