Restaurant "La Verita" (West Island): Outstanding
I stumbled across this restaurant in the Marche de l'ouest (West Island) area. Having spoken with the owner and walked through the restaurant with him and met some of the humorous waiters, I made a reservation for that night, and my husband and I spent a very, very satisfactory evening on the patio'd area enjoying every element.
Few restaurants, in our own experience, successfully deliver excellent food, excellent service and excellent ambience - if you're lucky, you will get two out of three - more often than not, you only get one, if any at all.
The food (Italian):
Good to very good (I'm a tough audience). Cooked to perfection, had depth and ratio of filling to pasta, for example, was very good. The choices of appetisers, mains and desserts had clearly been thought through and were exciting; nothing is bought in, including desserts which are all made by the in-house pastry chef.
Excellent - supremely delivered by intelligent, dyed-in-the-wool waiters (you know the sort... have been doing waiter-ing on and off forever whilst trying to make a name as a writer, actor etc) who appreciated and knew food in general and could relate to what we were saying. The level of "interaction" vis-a-vis "doesn't he know when to go away" was outstanding.
Excellent. The decor is unobtrusive; elegant; contemporary; "approachable"; light and airy using hues of beige and brown. Space and various textures have been used intelligently and professionally. The tables are dressed beautifully with crisp, clean linen table cloths and napkins, but again, unpretentious, inviting and warm.
The tables themselves are roomy and the spacing between tables is very good, allowing you to have private and/or intimate conversations if you like, or close enough for you to interrupt your neighbour.
I was also surprised when Derek, the owner, told me that his newly opened restaurant had a mixologist (or is it mixatologist) - his name is Nick, and Nick knows his stuff and will mix any kind of drink you that you like. My husband explained to him how he liked his Gin Sling which was delivered to him just as he'd asked - the ratios were perfect, as was the style of glass and quantity of crushed ice. After a few of these, Nick could see that the cherry kept coming back untouched, so our waiter (Tommy) explained to us that Nick noticed that we were not eating the cherry and so left it out of the drink (attention to detail and taking the time to explain to the waiter who in turn explained to us why the cherry was no longer there).
All food is made to order versus pre-made with the exception of those things which simply cannot be made in advance (formal reductions, osso bucco etc); even so, the timing of delivery was good. The food was presented beautifully and unpretentiously and everything had flavour and depth and was cooked to perfection.
We were surprised to see salt and pepper shakers on the table, given the very high level of skill demonstrated in the cooking, but this too is indicative of the "unpretentiousness" style and delivery of this hopefully, upcoming restaurant on the West Island.
Price: surprisingly good.
11680 Boul. de Salaberry, D.D.O, H9B 2R8
Telephone 514 684 4999 (you won't find it listed on any of the restaurant guides right now - it's too new).