L'échaudé Restaurant in Quebec City: My Experience in Review
This bistro has a small, very pleasant dining room with 10-12 tables situated a bit close to one another. The wine list is somewhat limited and, if you don’t buy the house wines by the glass or half-liter, expensive.
We began our dinner with a half dozen Saint Simon oysters on the half shell. They were salty and plump. My husband liked them very much. I found them metallic, so had only one.
I was pleased with the way we were not pressured, so the meal proceeded at a relaxed pace. My next course was “Stuffed Leeks with Scallops and Pancetta” while my husband had the special, “Deer Soup with Cranberries.” My stuffed leeks were actually a divine scallop mousse wrapped in a single layer of leek, heavily “breaded” with sesame seeds, and then fried. As anyone who has put a bit too much sesame oil in a marinade or sauce knows, the taste of sesame is strong and even moreso when cooked. The sesame seed flavor totally overwhelmed the delicate scallops. I couldn’t get it to scrape off, so I just peeled away the leek and had the scallop. The pancetta was not incorporated, as I had hoped; it was just a pan-fried slice on the side.
My husband’s Deer Soup was a tasty broth that divided into two layers: a thin, watery top with a dense sediment not unlike what you get when making stock. The cranberries were an interesting counterpoint.
Next I had steak and French fries, hoping to experience the delight that I have often been served in Paris bistros. My husband chose “Milk-Fed Veal Chop with Braised Salsifis alla Carbonnara.” While my dinner was okay (the fries were wonderful), his was superb. A veal chop cannot taste any better or be cooked more perfectly. The salsify was a brilliant addition—simply outstanding.
This is a restaurant I recommend and I’d love to go back again.
A final note that is not really relevant to the food, but which tempered my meal was the fact that the waitress had a bad cold. Every time she set a glass or utensil on the table, I thought about germs. That is not a pleasant experience and I wish all restaurants would restrict what ill employees can do.