Toqué was #45 on the most recent list of the 100 Best of Canada. Owners Normand Laprise and Christine Lamarche emphasize the use of local products. It started in 1993 on a much smaller scale until in 2004 they moved it closer to Old Montreal and downtown. It is a tasteful place with an elegant interior, music in the background, white tablecloths and napkins, windows to the street and excellent service. For lunch they offer a 2-course option with the price of your lunch dependent on the main plate and including coffee or tea. Dessert is optional and extra. It was a lovely place to eat with beautiful and tasty food. We had a terrific lunch and I bet dinner would also be good there.
Bread service was thick sliced sour dough from a local bakery with cultured butter. The moist bread had a great chew in the center and a crisp crust on the exterior.
Marinated scallops were with melon juice, shallot, verbena gel, pistachios, huckleberry purée and lime zest. The wonderfully sweet melon was great with the silky scallops. The melon was almost iridescent. A beautiful plate.
Lamb carpaccio contained saffron mayonnaise, rose petal gel, pearl onion, fried capers, grilled radicchio and Parmigiano Reggiano. Another visually stunning plate filled with thin sliced tender lamb seasoned with herbs and a wonderful grouping of things. The tiny crisp croutons were a particular favorite and were the perfect punctuation for the soft plate.
Leg of lamb was plated with merguez (spicy lamb sausage), roasted fushimi, lobster mushroom, black garlic purée, swiss chard, beets boulangére, thyme and lemon sauce. The leg meat was a little chewy but tasty and the sausage was good. The beets roulade was fabulous, it stole the show here.
Butcher’s cut of suckling pig was with buckwheat risotto, onion purée with red wine, funnel chanterelle, confit cherry tomato and sweet grass juice. A square of pork belly had a totally crisp top and succulent meat inside. The fairly rare chop meat was tender and nice with the sauce. The risotto was topped with a thin crisp chip and underneath a tomato topping that went very well together. Some dots of black garlic finished the yummy plate.
The cheese dessert was Laliberté, black raspberry gel, pineapple sage gel and poppy seed shortbread. It was an interesting looking display for a cheese plate. The cheesecake-like cheese was standing in long slices next to the very crisp crackers on top of the raspberry gel. It was creamy and good.
Araguani chocolate ganache was with pistachio crémeux, honey gel, cocoa nibs nougatine, peach and chrysanthemum flower ice cream. Another artful plate. The totally smooth creamy rich ganache was the main rectangle next to a very mild flavored ice cream. Garnishes were nuts, peaches and actually good cocoa nibs. I thought there might have been some pieces of pineapple too, they were so sweet. It yielded many lovely combinations of flavors and textures and was easily my favorite of the two desserts.
We ended with coffee and some chocolates that were wonderful.