22 May 2011

om nom nom nom :: restaurant review

the official "motto" of montreal, according to its coat of arms, is "concordia salus", but having lived here a combined total of nine years, i think that there is a case to be made for changing that to "seriously into brunch". most cities have a few places that are known as choice destinations in the morning after hours of 11 to 3 on saturdays and sundays, but montreal seems a little more fervent in its dedication than most. there are scads of places dedicated to offering their clientele the perfect egg-and-toast-related confections not merely on the weekends but every day, all the time, on demand.

located in the heart of the plateau, along mont-royal ave., les folies is one of those restaurants. they have an offering of sandwiches and sundries for other times of the day, but it's immediately apparent that brunch is king. unlike restaurants that pay lip service to brunch on the weekends, les folies has it on offer every day, which was lucky for dom and i, since we were hungry in the hood on a week day, having just dropped our youngest off at the veterinarian's office.

the menu is not fancy. what you'll find here are staples- omlettes, benedicts, and all the other things you would expect. being a huge fan of variations on eggs benedict [excluding, ironically the original, because i find meat generally makes the dish too greasy for my liking], i opted for the "norwegian" version with swiss cheese and smoked salmon. dom, being a man who likes variety in his brunch, went for the house version of the standard "something for everybody" platter with eggs, meats, potatoes and a crepe.

dom has one requirement when eating this sort of breakfast: he likes his crepe served on a separate plate. it's a little thing, but he just does not go for any sweet/ savoury cross-contamination. and it is astounding, although he's careful to mention it every time, how often he gets his meal with the crepe piled on the same plate as everything else. so it's already a good sign when his meal arrives correctly- one big plate, one small side plate.

the coffee is strong and hearty, which is a nice change from bland and mass-produced or from places that equate "good" with "made way too strong". and the coffee, as it turns out, is a good barometer of the meal itself.

dom's nom noms
i'm thrilled, first off, that my benedict is human in scale. too often, i'm confronted with something that looks like ostrich eggs layered on top of a half-loaf of bread, smothered in hollandaise sauce that outweighs me. eggs benedict, much like anything involving holandaise, is rich on its own. it does not need bulk volume to be hearty. instead, i get two small, round little eggs atop nicely trimmed english muffin toast with proper hollandaise [the consistency of a creamy sauce, not of microwaved cream cheese]. there is a helping of fresh fruit, not just a little garnish, but good-sized chunks of melon and citrus. lest you think that fruit is optional, consider the consistency of a benedict: even without ham, it's incredibly rich in oils; fruit adds an acidity that cuts through that, so that you won't end up breaking out in a sweat part way through your meal. the fact that it looks pretty is really just a happy coincidence.

there is also a healthy helping of house potatoes, which i nibble at, but can't finish. i nibble because every self-respecting brunch place in montreal has their potatoes, their own individual way of preparing this simple starch that stands as their personal twist. in this case, the twist is that the potatoes are prepared with salted herbs and while they taste scrumptious, i'm intent on saving my stomach space for the delightful eggs benedict.

aside from being served properly, dom's breakfast is a real knockout. it's the kind of platter that too often just gets thrown together, like it isn't deserving of respect. in this case, however, care has been taken to ensure that the meats are perfectly crisped [the bacon in particular gets a rave review], the little helping of beans are not just mushy things from a can but the real thing, properly simmered with sauce. the real star, though, is the crepe, so the separate presentation is actually quite appropriate. normally, dom never finishes the single pancake that comes with these breakfasts, but this one is the exception. for one thing, it's a crepe, not a pancake [the distinction is very important] and its lightly seasoned with cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg. those two things mean that, rather than simply being a floury afterthought, this adds something to the enjoyment of the whole meal- balancing the salty, fatty and savoury [the house potatoes] elements.

the service is attentive and pleasant but in no way intrusive. our coffee cups are never entirely empty and the bill [about $38 including taxes and tip] comes at the right moment, without making us feel like someone is hovering over us.

les folies isn't doing anything exotic or groundbreaking, but who the heck wants exotic and groundbreaking for their first meal? these are tried-and-true staples, thoughtfully prepared and well executed.

les folies
701, avenue du mont-royal est
montreal qc
(514) 528-4343

1 comment:

Martin Rouge said...

We had gone there for a not-quite-lunch-not-quite-dinner stopover and we liked the place quite a bit. While a tad more expensive than what we had planned to dish out, the quality was well worth it. Very nice, and will drop by again... eventually.

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