Le Mousso is a 30-seat restaurant offering a tasting menu and optional pairings 3 nights a week. They dropped to #41 on the Canada’s 100 Best List. Two backlit murals by Jean-Paul Mousseau decorate the room. He was not only a prominent Quebec artist but also the grandfather of the chef and founder Antonin Mousseau-Rivard. The whole room starts at the same time and there’s one seating that lasts about 3 hours. The chef presents a description of the dish, as each is served, in both English and French. Then another person presented a description for each wine pairing and mercifully it was only in French. The descriptions went on way too long with French taking twice the amount of time as English. I found the setup tedious maybe because the food deteriorated as the evening wore on. So much thought was given to the preparation, that the end result was lost. The color palate was too bland, it was over-priced and the flavor profile was lacking. I applaud what they are doing but I can’t give this one a recommendation.
The tasting started with some snacks and a cocktail, even though we ordered our own bottles of wine. Some shrimp chips were accompanied by shrimp dip made with mayo and chives. In the middle of the dip was some sturgeon caviar. The chips were thicker than some I’ve had but did have a nice crisp and were very good with the wonderful dip.
A ball donut was fried in duck fat and filled with foie gras and mushrooms then topped with a truffle, rhubarb glaze and duck ham. They were served at room temperature with the duck meat having a dominant flavor and the stuffed donut was also great. It felt like a wonderful start to the meal.
Omble/tomatoes/foin – was artic char cooked low temperature and then smoked with hay and topped with buckwheat crackings. They were sitting in pineapple weed oil. The fish melted in your mouth but the buckwheat was stale and not as crisp as it should have been and it was annoying to have it mixed with the fish. It came with a tomato tart topped with trout roe in a totally thin crust. The seasoning here was good but unexciting.
Petoncles/framboises – was scallops poached in melted foie gras, a surf and turf of sorts. The raspberries were frozen and tart especially because they were mixed with lemon balm, and made up the sauce under the scallops. It died them a reddish color. The fruity sauce was good with the amazing texture of the scallops.
Thon/sake – was tuna from Quebec with caviar and Finger lime confit. He assured us the tuna was caught via sport fishing. It was seared with rose petals and marinated in ginger in a sauce of egg yolks and confit before being infused with saké. After all that it still seemed like raw tuna. So much went into this dish and it ended up just as it started, tuna. It was okay but nowhere near great.
Cerf/Ail des bois/Sapin – was deer tartare. It was a ‘walk in the woods’ with raspberry juice, local black pepper, wild garlic, black garlic and pine emulsion then finally finished with green apple. It was in a very thin crust that was stale and really hard to cut. The tender tartare was nicely seasoned but otherwise dull. The raspberries gave it a bit of sweetness.
Pain/Beurre – was a ring of rolls with a butter that was more like cream cheese. The rolls could have been doughier, they were on the dry side and topped with a ton of seeds that took over the flavor.
Atikamekw/Matsutakes – was whitefish with a wood mushroom sauce mixed with shishito peppers. Some potato butter with cream was mixed with white fish roe. It made the mashed potatoes taste fishy. The fish and mushrooms were nice.
Agneu/Barigoule – was lamb and artichokes, served on separate plates. The lamb saddle was med rare and had a sweetbread purée under the jus. It was tough to cut but did have okay flavor. The artichokes were dotted with crispy lamb bits that couldn’t save them from being dull. The lamb jus would have been good on the rolls but the seeds dominated the flavor too much to use.
Cerisier/Levain – was cherry tree leaf and crispy bread. It was an almond semi freddo with fried sourdough bread with browned butter. It was sweet with a good crunch and pleasant.
Topinambours/Varech – was Jerusalem artichokes and seaweed. The sunchoke was fermented and topped with a crumble of seaweed and sea lettuce fried into sea bacon. No chocolate was in the dish that looked a lot like chocolate with that same flavor. The sunchokes were cooked down enough to taste like chocolate and the sea lettuce was turned into a caramel sauce. Fun, but why not just have chocolate and caramel?
Mignardises were 4 things:
Oursin/Noisettes – were the 2 edible pieces in a dish of rocks. They were filled with dulce de leche made from goat milk. Only problem was it was gooey on the inside and leaked and some other rocks stuck to it. Kind of lost the appeal.
Lait de Chevre – was a brioche with sea urchin cream, burnt maple syrup and truffle. The buttery bread was rich and good with the other things. This was the best of the three.
Griotte/Poivres des Dunes – was chocolate, sour cherry and peppers. This last chocolate was very bitter even with the sweet cherry center. Just too bitter for me to enjoy.
A red tea infusion was included in the tasting and it was warm and clear. The chef did come around and talk with all of the guests which was a nice touch.