Follow-up Rousseau House Ancaster
Well, it ain't cheap ($25-40 per entree) and it wasn't very busy. Even though it was a "special occaision" dinner and I was told when I made the reservation, that we would be seated in the fine dining area upstairs, we were seated in the sun room area off the bar area. It was fine, but I would've appreciated it if I had known in advance.
We shared apps - an "Aussie shrimp" special which was pretty good & crab cakes which were a bit oily, but OK. I prefer them light and fluffy - these were a bit more fish cake like than crab cake like.
Dinner - Arctic char with a maple butter with sides of squash and potatoes. Pretty good. Fish overcooked.
Scallops on orzo with tomatoes and fresh peas - reportedly v. good.
Lamb chops with jus and roasted potatoes. V.good.
Overall, the entrees were good, but too much sauce. I like my food a little more "up front" and simple rather than buried in rich sauce. It was still pretty good overall.
Dessert: Raspberry cheesecake - v/good
Orange-Chocolate creme brulee- good. A but puddingy in texture
Chocolate-pecan tart - good.
Wine list - extensive and expensive. Nothing in the $30 range and hardly anything $40 ish.
Service - attentive, but despite mentioning at the time of the reservation and during dinner that it was my MILs Bday - no recognition whatsoever. Usually expect a candle in dessert or something (or more typically a dessert or after dinner drink on the house).
All in all, I would go back if I wasn't up to driving into TO, but it is very $$$ for the experience. Maybe a busier night in the upstairs dining room might have made it more of a fine dining experience.
Thanks for your detailed report; it's always interesting to read other's viewpoints and yours contained some astute observations. One of the advantages of the downstairs area (including the sunroom) is that you can order from both the tapas menu and the fine dining menu. I did just that Saturday evening and tried the Aussie-Cajun shrimp special which I also enjoyed - especially the spicing. For those that are curious, this consisted of a phyllo tube filled with baby shrimp and sauce and was topped by three larger shrimps. I also tried the bruschetta with brie, caramelized apples, walnuts soaked in port and roasted garlic from the tapas menu. This was good but I just wasn't sure about the garlic cloves' texture. The baby spinach salad with feta cheese, toasted cashews, etc. is always a good bet (although I didn't have it last weekend).
I too have found the orange-chocolate creme brulee a bit puddingy in texture although I enjoyed the orange flavouring and candied peel. I don't think that the dessert menu has been changed for a few months so I've been ordering the featured desserts as of late. On Saturday, there was a persimmon mousse containing pieces of this fruit and a biscuit which I quite liked: simple with a twist of the exotic.
I thought that there were a number of wines (perhaps a dozen?) available in the $30-$40 range but I could be wrong; I've just be ordering by the glass lately. Or perhaps you meant that none of the ones in this range appealed to you?
I think that you are right about a busier night (such as a Friday or Saturday) possibly adding to the dining experience. Sometimes it's like being in a totally different restaurant.
Interesting - they did NOT offer us the downstairs menu in addition to the fine dining menu. They gave us a little (like 2" x 4") piece of paper with 3 specials on it. Hmmmmm - oh well. Dh and I will likely try out the tapas menu in the near future so we'll see how that goes.