At first, Chez la mère Michel wasn’t on my list for this year’s MTL à table. However, my other foodie friend recommended to me, so I thought I’d give it a try. There aren’t a lot of reviews about it online, and the ones I saw were all positive comments, hence it made me eager to try it because French cuisine is no doubt one of my favorite types of cuisine.
Walking down from rue Guy/Sherbrooke, Chez la Mère Michel is a beautiful Victorian-style house situated just a bit passed rue Guy/Ste-Catherine, and opened since 1965. It serves classic French recipes infused with local Québec flavors and prepared with fresh, mostly organic ingredients.
The decor, no doubt, is classy and vintage. It is a very small but homey restaurant. You can actually smell the history of the restaurant. They have a separate room for larger group of people at the back. The service was good. The waiters are dressed in tuxedoes and greeted you warmly. And, no matter your age, they call you Sir/Madame. We were definitely, and obviously, the youngest customers of the night, but I didn’t feel like we were being treated differently.
After we ordered, the bread basket comes first. I liked their baguettes!! The crust is crisp and inside is moist and chewy, and paired with cold, non-salted butter.
Appetizer: Arctic char “quenelle à la lyonnaise”, lobster sauce with Sancerre Lapostolle. “Quenelle” is like a fish dumpling. Quenelles is a very typical French specialty from Lyon. It was really smooth, just like mousse but firmer. It was a comforting appetizer for such cold night!
Second appetizer: Fresh goat cheese verrine with Russet apples and grapes from the Chief vineyard macerated in Pineau des Charentes Château Belon. This was full of surprises. When the waiter first explained that the grapes came from the backyard of the restaurant, I was a bit excited. However, after I took the first bite, it was “OH MY GOD”! The alcohol taste was so strong and it was a bit hard to handle. The only thing I could taste was the alcoholic-taste. Was it a good or bad surprise? You decide.
Main: Duck breast with citrus fruits and vegetables. The first few slices of the duck breast were a bit hard to chew, however, it gets tender. The citrus fruits sauce was well-paired with the duck breast. Though I never liked citrus flavor in my savory dish, this one wasn’t bad.
Dessert: Classic Grand Marnier Soufflé. This is Chez la mére Michel’s house specialty. You pour the custard by yourself after the soufflé is served. I liked their soufflé. It was warm and satisfying. It’s not a over sweetened dessert, which made a good endnote on the dinner. The only thing that I didn’t like was it was based with alcohol (again…).
Almost half of their dishes involve alcohol, I felt a bit dizzy (yes.. I have really low alcohol tolerance) after the meal even though we did not order any wine for pairing. Overall, it was a good experience, and I’m considering to bring my parents there when they come to Montreal for my graduation in June. However, if you don’t like alcohols, you might need to be careful with what you order.