I’ve been to Les 400 Coups quite a few times for lunch, and they were very satisfying. It has been so hard to book a table at Les 400 Coups during MTL à Table every year. Luckily, I managed to get a table [back in October] as soon as they released the menu. Was it as good as my previous experiences? We shall see…
During the day, Les 400 Coups is a well-lit restaurant with bold natural lights shine through the window. In the evening, the restaurant is warmed up by the yellow lights. The ambiance becomes quite romanic and classy.
Anyone out there like me who takes the bread at restaurant as serious as the dishes? I love all sorts of bread, and sometimes, it can be the deal breaker. For a decent restaurant, I think the bread should be house made and freshly baked. Even better if it’s sourdough (just personal preference here). Les 400 Coups’ bread is one of my favorites in town. The crust is nice and crisp, and the inside is moist and chewy.
For their MTL à Table menu, they had two choices in each course, so my cousin and I got one of each.
First, the potatoes with a layer of potato foam on top, sprinkled with chicken skin, and, herbs. It reminded me of a dish that I had at The Progress back in San Francisco. The potatoes were cooked to tender yet not mushy.
The crispy chicken skin contributed a crunchy texture, and saltiness to taste. The foam is quite dense, as in the air bubbles aren’t too big. It was almost like a cream texture, but lighter.
The other dish of the first service was peppered squash with goat cheese sauce, pine, and puff seeds. The acorn squash was very sweet, and the goat cheese wasn’t too overwhelming. The puff seeds were toasted to a bit charred outside, and the nutty taste was quite strong.
For the main course, my cousin opted for the arctic char, which came “floating” on a bed of leeks, oyster mushrooms, a base of brown butter with corn, and covered with thin slices of white and magenta radishes. The presentation was beautiful, as you can see. The arctic char was fresh and wasn’t over cooked. The corn-flavored brown butter elevated the entire dish. It was light, and the sweetness of the corn was very obvious.
I had the piglet with head cheese, parsnip and the sauce is made with miso, maple, and apple. The piglet was still pinkish, and the meat was juicy and tender, but a bit crisp at the same time (if you get what I’m saying…). I also found that the pairing of piglet and parsnip is quite common lately. As we’re entering winter, there’s only root vegetables left. Parsnip tastes like carrots, yet I found the taste is more acceptable, and sweeter too.
For dessert, I had the chocolate with Jerusalem artichoke (sunchoke) ice cream and sea buckthorn. The chocolate barks were quite good as they were dark chocolate, and not too sweet. It was my first time having Jerusalem artichoke ice cream, and the taste was quite subtle and unique. With the acidity from sea buckthorn (the orange dots), it was a nice palate cleanser.
My cousin had the poached apples with caramel, oats, and almonds. I actually liked this over the one I had. The apples were soft, but the core was still crunchy. Also, I thought it was going to be sweet cause of the caramel, but it wasn’t at all! A quite refreshing dessert to end on.
Overall, Les 400 Coups did not disappoint. Was it as good as last time? Compared to my previous lunch experience, it lacked a bit of “wow” factor. However, a couple next to our table opted for their tasting menu, instead of the 3-course MTL à Table dinner, and the platings just looked stunning. Maybe I’ll go back for it! The service was impeccable. The servers explained each dish clearly upon serving, and our waitress would always come by and tell us “bon appétit”!
Les 400 Coups
400 rue Notre-Dame E, Montreal, Canada
Tel: +1 (514) 985-0400 (Reservations recommended)