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Le Local in Old Montreal

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Le Local on William st. in Old MTL opened last week and I tried it tonight. The chefs are Alexandre Gosselin (Simplechic, O Chalet) and Louis-Francois Marcotte (SimpIechic, Le gout de Louis). I brought my parents for mother`s day and we were very impressed with this place. First, the decor is gorgeous, the furniture is comfortable and the music not too loud. I got a bit scared when we got there because it looked like a shishi place where people start dancing on your table before you even finish eating (example:Garde-Manger). The service was very friendly and personalized. The sommelier proposed a really nice wine and didn`t try to sell me the most expensive stuff. As a starter, I had escargot with mushrooms, garlic gnocchi in a bordelaise sauce. Hubby had crab cakes with a curry sauce and they were delicious. My parents had some king of barbecued chicken thigh with grilled calamari(can`t remember what they called it) and this was the best appetizer we tried. Then, my mom and I had braised beef with a parsnip puree. The beef had a crispy outside but was so tender inside, I never used my knife. My BF had a shrimp risotto with Isle aux grues cheddar, very tasty, in fact he inhaled it in 30 seconds... My dad had mackerel cooked with chorizo with an orange sauce. very nice. We then ordered deserts and before they arrived, we were served a "pre-dessert"(!) which consisted of a raspberry puree, mint gelato with homemade cracker jacks. I know, sounds weird but the mix was very interesting and made sense. I finished my meal with a lavender creme brulee served with chocolate shortbread cookies, hubby had a valronha chocolate cake with apple sauce and chocolate mousse and my dad had a lemon and ginger pie served with melon ice cream. I have a sweet tooth but am also very picky when it comes to dessert and I was not disappointed with what we tried, everything was so tasty and delicious. All this came up to about 60$/ person including wine and coffee/tea. Hopefully, the food and service will always be this great. We need a place like this in my neighborhood...This will be my new hangout, hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do. BTW, I was told they were opened for lunch. They also have a nice terrace and they have a huge bar and lounge for 5 a 7 in the front.

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  1. Do you have a more specific address for Le Local? Thanks

    1 Reply
    1. re: DrDave

      According to Canada411.ca:

      Le Local
      700 William
      Montréal, QC H3C 1P1

    2. Thanks for the great report Isa1! Crab cakes sound very tempting, and I like the idea of a lunch menu.

      1. This sounds like my kind of resto! Do you think it is kid-friendly? I don't mean the menu (our kid will eat anything), but the atmosphere?

        1. The exact address is 740 William. Great great menu. Too bad there weren't any tasting menu 'cause I wanted to try everything. Took the venison tartare. Very good. Then the crabcake, good. Then the Tartiflette du Lendemain de veille with smoke meat, foie gras on it... pretty decadent! So food is very very good. But, there is 2 BUT:
          1) Their terrace is right in front of a parking lot which doesn't look appealing at all. 2) It is located far from everything so if you don't have a car or don't live in the neighborhood, it is not easy getting there.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mtl98

            it is a 5 minute walk from Square Victoria metro

          2. Lesley Chesterman wrote a glowing review in todays Gazoo. I am usually wary of her reviews for ideological reasons (her lack of anonymity, i don't share her perspectives toward food and eating, etc.), but this time it was intriguing. She wrote that they have interesting wines per glass, averaging about 7 dollars a verre. That sounds good too.

            6 Replies
            1. re: emerilcantcook

              Unfortunately the article doesn't appear to be online. Surely they don't expect us to pay to read it?! ;)

              1. re: carswell

                Took a while to find it (Gazoo site's navigation sucks) but here's the review, seems like it was actually in yesterday's paper:


                1. re: kpzoo

                  Got it. Thanks. And in response to your earlier and now possibly deleted comment, yes, the CH site is having all kinds of latency problems; see the Technical Help board for a discussion of some of the issues.

                  1. re: carswell

                    > see the Technical Help board for a discussion of some of the issues.

                    Indeed, I've been following the problems for weeks. Only seem to be getting worse, sadly.

                2. re: emerilcantcook

                  Just reading this thread now as it was bumped up by Carswell's thorough review, and this comment really grabbed my attention.

                  I have a problem with Chesterman's reviews concerning food, too. Can't quite put my finger on it, though; maybe a feeling she sticks too much to trad bistro genres.

                  But the lack of anonymity - are you saying, emeril..., that most restauranteurs could spot her a mile away? Cause if so, her reviews aren't worth the paper they're printed on, are they?

                  1. re: Shattered

                    Lesley is recognized by most of the major Montreal chefs/restaurants in the city(yes they could spot her a mile away). When I went to the A Bourdain event at Corona Theatre almost 2 years ago, everybody seemed to recognize Lesley(even the average folk).

                3. Any more reviews of Le Local ? Are we blown away ? I think the space is outstanding but haven't made it for dinner so far.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Abendschein

                    do you have to make reservation before going there?!

                    1. re: alex146

                      Given that Le Local was just named one of the top 10 new restos in Canada by En Route magazine - it garnered the #2 slot - I would think a reservation would be wise. ;-)


                      1. re: kpzoo

                        Not only wise, but essential especially Thursday to Saturday. I called on a Tuesday for a Saturday reservation and was informed that I should call at least 2 weeks in advance for a prime time weekend reservation (and this was before the Enroute selection).

                        1. re: davyboy

                          To all of you wanting to go there, read my review as well as the recent review of APD and le Local:

                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/571922 and


                          Like I said in my review from July (2nd link) there more than made up for the service inadequacies by giving us free champagne and then comping dessert. But to hear that these problems still exist so many months later makes me think that they don't really care or aren't trying to remedy the situation.

                          It would seem that it's a hit and miss restaurant and well, I just don't want to take that chance.

                  2. A couple of weeks back, on behalf of a client I asked for suggestions for a business lunch venue. Said client ignored them and instead chose Le Local.

                    There's no denying the space is impressive, dramatic even. With 20-foot ceilings, huge windows, a two-story glassed-in wine cellar and floor-to-ceiling black drapes defining the various sections, the design has a real sweep to it. A big room to the right of the entrance area is decked out as a bar cum lounge that overlooks a largish terrace. To the left is a long room -- hall might be a better word -- with an open kitchen running along one side. (Cooking smells announce the kitchen's presence as soon as you step into the restaurant; on Friday it was clear there was fish on the menu.) To judge by the foot traffic, there may also be a third room -- a private room? -- in back of or perhaps over the kitchen.

                    Reception was fumbling and a tad condescending. I'm pretty sure the "hostess" looked down her nose at my neat and proper but hardly designer attire (the client's office is casual dress on Fridays and I also had a lot of traipsing about the city to do before and after lunch on a very snowy/slushy day). A silly mix-up involving a party that had arrived just before us left us and another party standing, coats in hand, for five minutes before we were greeted.

                    Once past the portal, service was polite and businesslike, if a little impersonal. Descriptions of the menu options were rattled off. The one exception was the sommelière, businesslike too but evincing some empathy and a genuine concern that we enjoy our meal. Her wine suggestion -- a white Burgundy from Pierre Matrot -- was spot on. Also, the number of interruptions at the start of the meal was almost comical, nearly preventing sustained conversation: the menus arrived; two minutes later, the wine list; then another waiter recited an off-menu item or two; then we were queried about which type of water we wanted; then we were asked whether we were ready to order; then it was time for the bread service (they bring around a big basket and you say which types you want); then were we finally ready to order; then did we have a wine in mind (we said we'd like to speak with the sommelière); then a visit from the sommelière; then the wine service; then the starters; then another visit from the bread boy. Only then did we have an interruption-free stretch longer than two or three minutes. Crazy.

                    The lunch special offered a choice between salmon and beef bourguignon. The entire table went for the fish. Two chose a green salad starter: your standard-issue mesclun lightly dressed with a vaguely Asiatic vinaigrette and garnished with pine nuts. Two others chose a beet soup: straightforward, tasty, subtly beety, but heavy from an excess of cream. There followed a slice of pork terrine -- a $7 supplement -- that, once again was straightforward and technically flawless but plain, needing more than the whole-grain mustard and cream sauce to make it really sing. The salmon, too, was textbook perfect but a little soulless. The skin was the best thing about it, grilled to crisp perfection. The flesh, moist but cooked slightly more than I like, had a slightly fishy taste (see "cooking smells" above). The pile of Israeli couscous on which it was perched was perfectly al dente and nicely spiced but rendered a little heavy by the unnecessary addition of, yet again, cream. For dessert, two of us chose a cupcake-size rustic butter cake with a shaved chocolate filling and a side of cranberry compote: the cake was tender and not too sweet; the cranberries tasted more like cherries and cloyingly sweet ones at that. The other two chose a fun plate of house-made mignardises that included, among other things, berry jellies (I thought straw-, they thought rasp-), trippy maple marshmallows and mini "Revellos," vanilla ice-cream bars dipped just before serving in dark chocolate. In all cases, plating was impeccable, artful even, but not exactly original.

                    Artful but not exactly original. I guess that's how I'd sum up the entire experience. Appearance counts for much here, maybe more than the food, which is competently prepared and certainly modish but also a little derivative, cookiecutterish, a little lacking in imagination and passion. If it's a scene you're after, you could do much worse than Le Local. If it's modern bistro fare, well, I can think of several places that do better. Of course, I'm basing this conclusion on the experience of a single meal and a lunch at that. While I'd be curious to return in the evening, I doubt I'd ever choose it over, say, Au Cinquième Péché, Bistro Bienville or even Bouchonné -- less trendy, for sure, but also less of a production line and endowed with something that seemed in short supply at Le Local: personality and soul.

                    This was the client's treat so I didn't see the bill except out of the corner of my eye. Looked to be around $250 for four, including wine and taxes but not including tip.