A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away – or something less prosaic and more accurate like a 8 or 9 months ago down in Old Montreal – I took a friend down to AIX Cuisine du Terroir to take advantage of the Happening Gourmand festival. January being obviously the best month to pay half price on prix fixe menus! We couldn’t resist. AIX (pronounced “Aches”) seemed to have the most interesting of the posted menus (conveniently online!), and with my bad camera notwithstanding, let me here introduce our nommings forthwith.
I took one for the team and ordered the somewhat girlier option to start – a squash soup with toasted hazelnuts and cheddar crouton. It was warm, and sweet and lush, and spiced very perfectly while still seeming light and so nice to eat in the cold weather that I’ll even forgive the tendril-y and always hard to eat micro-greens that found their way on top, quite confounding my spoon! Otherwise though, real nice.
The service too was amusingly on point. We split a bottle of red.
My compatriot got the real art-piece of an opener, the rabbit confit with root vegetables, sausage en brioche and red wine sauce. Ah I can’t really tell you vividly what this tasted like, but I tried some and was overcome with burgundy forest feelings, dark meats and brash splashes, all in a very good way. I think I filed away a future penchant for rabbit meat at that precise moment I tried it for the first time right there.
In retrospect I definitely would have chosen the lamb. But not because the fish wasn’t good. I guess I’m just slowly becoming much less afraid of eating meat. It’s a long recovery process from being vegetarian, a re-entering into the Rest of the World, and embracing the joie of indulging sometimes like our ancestors did, in a bloody hunk of, welllll….. And okay, that was a tangent, and the fish really was good! I finally got to try Arctic Char (official set list: “arctic char with quinoa and ratatouille with crispy vegetables and confit shallots with lemon”). Char is buttery and beautiful, so similar to salmon but less strong. The rest of the plate was well cooked and playful, if a little reminiscent of almost every pilaf I’ve ever made myself at home. A little, um, normal. But hey, sometimes perfect execution can save lack of inspiration, and I savoured every scrap, really.
Mah friend got the meats. waha! Beef short rib with beer and maple and cocoa beans. He later mentioned a bit of a brown overdose, for which I hardly blame him (and yes, he ordered the chocolate for dessert). I tried a piece and didn’t regret ordering my butter-fish with it’s grey fatty layer of skin (best part). His was good but I liked mine better. Eloquence and memory fail! Ha.
I do remember the creme brulee vividly. It was blackberry. The financier had raspberries alongside and the cream itself was deeply vanilla’d, rich as a sunbeam, and I spooned away at it happily wishing it were, oh, I dunno, cereal bowl sized. The chocolate mousse my friend ordered was kind of meh, just sweet and too stiff and the cake underneath crispy in an odd way. Ah well. I’m also relentlessly critical of chocolate desserts, truth be told. :P
Ok k, thanksx for putting up with the bad bad photos and fuzzy memory!!
Later we walked back to the mile end in January, not too cold, full of really delicious wine and impeccable service and the tongues firmly lodged in our cheeks from the newly experienced “shmancy” treatment and to possibly taste some of those expert sauces again in our teeth. /poecy.
AIX is pretty neat. The atmosphere is as good as the food, and dinner for two plus a bottle of wine and a tip was about 70$, at least, during the Happening Gourmand thing. Unbelievable, I know! Take your mom.