Friday, August 16, 2013

L'Atelier d'Argentine

I got invited to try L'Atelier d'Argentine with a friend a couple weeks back. I was so excited and I was thinking 'hey, we'll buy a bottle of wine and we'll get some free food'. Oh but we got sooooo much more!

This restaurant, part of the Tom Nacos Group (Decca77, Newtown, Weinstein + Gavinos, Guido + Angelina), is located in Old Montreal, close to De La Commune. It's quite a big restaurant with two rooms, a private dining room for a small group, and a table downstairs pretty much in the kitchen. When you reserve this table, you have the chance to get served by the chef!

So my friend Cat and I go in, and we are welcomed by the host/maître d'/sommelier by the name of Alexandre. He shook our hands and seemed very pleased that we were there. Yay! He brought us to our perfect table, by the window.

Ze bubbly
First, we got ze bread...including this tiny little bread with cheese that we dubbed 'little pieces of heaven' because they were. They pretty much melted in your mouth. YUM. Then, it was time (already) for some bubbly. Hello! It was great: not too sweet, not to dry. It went well with the four empanadas he brought us right after.
Empanadas minus 1 because we forgot to take a picture with 4 :)

Empanada #1: Cheese. Very cheesy but not great flavours
Empanada #2: Beef (cut by hand). Great. Moist. Well seasoned.
Empanada #3: Ham and cheese. Very nice. Crusty on the outside, moist on the inside.
Empanada #4: Corn and crushed tomatoes. Well seasoned. Very creamy. Fresh. Nothing too fancy.

By the way, Alexandre had given us menus but then asked if we had any allergies/preferences and told us that he would take care of everything and we didn't even have to look at the menu. So that was great and it made us feel even more special!

Next were two plates of tartares. The first, tuna. Fine slices with tomatoes, lovely when you put it in your mouth, great texture, but unfortunately didn't taste much. This came with very floral white wine that I loved but was a tad too sweet for Cat. Still, a great pairing.

Then, the crudo di corvina, very pleasant and soft, with guacamole and homemade chips. Very tasty and well seasoned. The tomatoes added a nice fresh touch.

As for the main course, since we got two different plates, we, of course, got two different red wines :) Since I was having meat (+ meat), I got the Malbec and Cat (veggie), got the Shiraz. For Cat it was the quinoa risotto. It was a fresh alternative to meat, with perfectly cooked mushrooms and
other veggies. I got the 10oz bavette, which was perfect, perfect, PERFECT! With awesome chimichurri (garlic, oil and herbs). It was a HUGE piece that I didn't finish but it was so tender and cooked to perfection! On the side, Cat got the provoletta, a nicely textured piece of fried cheese with a couple sweetened carrots. They were just soft enough. On my side, I got a chorizo sausage which was nicely charred but a tad on the hard side yet very tasty.

As for ze desert, well, we told them it wasn't necessary because we were so darn full. But Alexandre insisted and so he brought us a small plate with three different deserts. Oh, and desert wine :) A goat cheese cake which was quite cheesy and not too sweet. A milk semi-fredo which was damn good. A dulce de leche (well good day to YOU!!!!) crêpe which was smooth with a flambée banana on top. There was also a homemade icecream on top which was so lovely and well balanced.

At the end of our meal and after leaving a hefty tip, we went to see Alexandre to thank him and instead of leaving, he asked us if we wanted to see downstairs. Of course! We got to see their wine cellar and the kitchen with the table reserved for a lucky group that would be served by the chef. Awesome.

Now, let's talk a bit more about the service, shall we? Well, it was wonderful. I've seriously never had this good a service. Alexandre was marvellous; always there to explain our dishes and wines and answer any question we had. The waiter/busboy was always there when we needed water. We were asked at every course if it pleased us and oh it did!!

And now...the scores!

Food: 9
Service: 10

This experience was a once in a lifetime thang! Even if you don't get invited, please go, you'll be pleased!

L'Atelier d'Argentine on Urbanspoon

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