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Café du Lac: quebéois in Mimico open today

At last, Québecois cuisine and a welcome new resto in South Etobicoke. Let's hope it's as good as we've been anticipating!

Had my nose pressed up against the glass a few days ago. The door was wide open, lots of activity - apparently getting ready for dinner as there were no customers. One of the staff motioned me inside and I had a look at the menu, which confused me at first, then realized it was a special menu for a private function. Friendly chef came out to say hello and explained that yes, they were doing a soft opening dinner that night before the official opening today.

Their website (http://www.cafedulac.ca/) has been up/down recently, so here's the scoop:
Lunch/dinner Tuesday - Friday and brunch/dinner on weekends.
Tuesdays are mussel night with prixe fare menu.

brunch: $5-12

lunch: $6-12 ($21 with fois gras
) http://www.cafedulac.ca/pdfs/CDL_Lunc...

dinner: mains are $16-29

Sadly, the only fish offering is salmon, no lake fish or seafood. They do offer 2 veal dishes, duck, lamb, beef and mmmmmm - cassoulet. I think I'll try that. (even if it's technically european). And of course, there's poutine...

We'll try the brunch tomorrow...perhaps dinner next week. Looking forward to it!

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  1. please let us know how it goes. prices are very reasonable. will consider a trip there myself.

    1. That's a very dicey wine list for such an ambitious menu. Let us know how the food is. It will have to be the main attraction.

      1. That's near my cousin, so we'll definitely be giving it a test drive. Zukeeper, please report back, and please note whether it's wheelchair accessible (including the washrooms).

        I have to agree with Googs about the wines. Even within that price range, they could do better with just a teensy amount of thought. That list is just plain lazy. Boo! Hiss!

        1. Menu looks good, but I find this bit a little concerning:

          "All meals are served with market fresh vegetables sourced locally (primarily from The Ontario Food Terminal)."

          While the OFT may indeed be "local" to Etobicoke, referring veggies sourced from there as being "local" themselves is a bit disingenuous.

          8 Replies
          1. re: gregclow

            I hope their food is better than their spelling. The French menu online is packed with typos.

            1. re: isa1

              Hmmm, that bad speling makes mi wander. The grammer is even worst,

              Also, 5$ for a bagel with cream cheese?

              1. re: mrbozo

                They get their bagels right from St. Viateur every 2 weeks, hence the cost. It is the best bagel in creation, IMO. Though, I've heard the closest thing to a real one locally can be found at Bagel House, though I haven't made it there yet.

              2. re: isa1

                the translation was brought to their attention and apparently has been corrected.

                1. re: zukeeper

                  It appears that they've addressed the wine list issues as well. Now does anyone know if they're still sourcing from The Ontario Food Terminal?

                  1. re: Googs

                    Hey, Googs, could you elaborate on the wine front? They seem to be updating the website, so the wine list isn't currently up.

                    1. re: hungry_pangolin

                      I had no problem getting in. It isn't earth-shattering, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.

                      1. re: Googs

                        That's for supplying the link to a techno-moron. (But then, I still use a fountain pen, so I'm sort of a living dinosaur.)

                        You're right. A step in the right direction, if not yet far enough to be interesting. I guess that it's a solid, cover-all-the basics selection. Very nice to see those excellent Quebecois beers, though.

            2. +

              Cafe du Lac
              2350 Lake Shore Blvd W, Toronto, ON M8V, CA

              1. Just got back from the brunch.
                I ordered the crepes with 'seasonal fruit'. My mate ordered the western omelette. The crepes were very nice, 3 were served folded into quarters, delicate and tasty. A perfect drizzle of maple syrup, not too much. The 'seasonal' fruit were blackberries and blueberries, just piled on the plate, not as a coulis. The berries were almost certainly from California, the kind you can pick up on the street or at your local grocer. I pointed out a few moldy and shrivelled blueberries and my plate was whisked away. One of the owners, Katherine came over and apologized, promising a new plate. It came, this time with blackberries, which were fine.

                The omelette was superb. Airy and generous, fresh tasting. Served with toasted white bread (supposedly baked on the premises), a scoop of cretons (tasty to me, never appealed to me enough to be a fair judge when I lived in Mtl), and baked beans (sweeeetened with maple syrup). Fresh orange juice. The coffee machine was broken, so they offered espresso or café latté at the same cost, which was decent. There were perhaps a dozen or so patrons, so I saw some of the other offerings, mostly omelettes and bagel dishes, which looked great.

                Katherine also brought a complimentary plate of sides for us to make up for the returned dish. Pork sausage, lovely crispy bacon, more cretons and beans. She's friendly and attentive, as were her two wait staff. She's obviously excited about their new venture and openly chats with obliging patrons.

                Other observations:
                The overall feel is pleasant, not overly special, with earthtones, vintage pine floors and a few b/w photos on the wall of la belle province. Smallish room, seats maybe 30 or so (could be more, can't remember). Washrooms were clean and on the same floor, but wheelchair access might be a little tricky as they're small. Cutlery was clean but the waterglasses were FULL of spots. Definitely points off for that and I'll be sure to mention it to them.

                Booze - they actually get their license next week, so no mimosas today! I didn't notice the wine list before - boy the comments on that are right on! Yikes!

                Aside from the obvious issue we had, which was taken care of properly, I think it was overall decent and seems promising. They will have to watch the details though. And that menu needs some work. The translations are pretty suspect. Funny, Katherine's husband is the chef and he's from Montreal. You'd think they'd get it right.

                We're going to try dinner in 2 weeks, should be enough time to shake out the bugs and jitters. She says the cassoulet is excellent and takes 3 days to construct. We'll see! For now, it's nice to have a new addition to the neighbourhood. Looking forward to hearing feedback from other chowhounds!

                1. Maybe Im missing something but what does "sprinkled with beef short-ribs" mean?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Everythingtarian

                    Quite literally that the poutine has beef short ribs sprinkled throughout the fries and the sauce...

                    1. re: baxzoe

                      That sounds awsome. Most of the menu looks nice and hearty.

                  2. I would have checked this place out but their menu says theyre only open until 2PM today :/

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: duckdown

                      Do they use cheese curds on the poutine? If so, I'm in!

                      1. re: LovesToEat

                        They do indeed!

                        Its a very good poutine! No beef gravy but very savoury. My only recommendation is they should think of serving it in an appetizer size as well because its a huge plate. I guess it would be an alright appetizer if you were sharing it with a few people.

                    2. Excited to hear the good reviews I convinced my wife to hike down the street to try out the new upscale dining in mimico (a much needed improvement to the retail strip on Lakeshore).

                      We sat down and were impressed with how nice it was inside. Then the good vibe we had unravelled a bit. The waitress informed us Tuesday nights were a set menu of all you can eat mussels and neither my wife or I are seafood fans. We asked if there were any other options and there was not. I really want to support this local restaurant but it seems to be a very odd decision to only serve mussels on Tuesday.

                      Were still looking forward to visiting but be warned Tuesday night is not a good night to go if you dont want mussels.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: elvistheevilscotsman

                        I can understand a once-a-week special night, but to the exclusion of all else?!? That's patently absurd. What are they thinking? Are they thinking?

                        1. re: baxzoe

                          Im guessing the wait staff wasnt up to speed as the we confirmed with the waitress that there was no other options other than mussels last tuesday.

                          I am pleased to report my wife and I did go back on Friday.

                          The restaurant is decorated well and a huge step forward for our neighbourhood. The french fusion music was a bit annoying but the night we retreated home on mussel night they were playing Jack Johnson lightly in the back ground which to me is more what we need this place to be. Not too fru fru downtown just a great place to have a good meal and relax.

                          I had the poutine without foie gras. It was very good but I think they should offer an appetizer size vs one large plate as its very savory. My wife had the steak frites. Fries taste like fresh cut and are really good. The Steak was cooked well. My only complaint about the steak is that there was no spices rubbed on which made the nice piece of meat seem a bit underwhelming. Just tasted like charbroiled beef. My neighbour tells me that this is the traditional way of serving Steak Frites but i think it would be good to offer it with spice or a sauce.

                          All in all we really enjoyed our night out and are going to make a habit of frequenting it as its a excellent step in the right direction for our community.

                          1. re: elvistheevilscotsman

                            We had a similar experience. Tuesday is a very limited menu night. Our choices were Mussels & Frites or Steak & Frites. Delicious food and lovely people (& extremely authentic French Canadian dessert, mmm), but if you are vegetarian or looking for a choice, choose another night.

                      2. Bah, am I the only one here with a bad experience? I always say that it takes a pretty bad restaurant to screw up brunch...and brunch at Cafe du Lac certainly didn't impress. The owner (I take it she's the owner) was very nice and friendly though. We just ordered a couple of egg dishes - one poached, the other over easy. However, it took a long time for our order to come, which made me think that everything was being made on the spot. To my surprise, our potatoes came cold, and my poached egg was cold (in very vinegar-y water. I know vinegar supposedly helps hold the egg in shape in boiling water, but I've never had it so acidic). Why was everything cold? Did it take so long simply because they forgot about us? Hard to do considering that there were only two other tables filled. The raspberries were good though...

                        1. Just wanted to throw in another opinion. When I saw the place as I walked by, I joked around with my girlfriend that I was looking forward to some tourtière. As you can tell from the menu, that didn't quite happen.

                          We split a special duck confit poutine to start. It was very delicious. I don't know if it is better or comparable to the beef ribs poutine but I was quite pleased with the flavour. My girlfriend had the salmon with no complaints and I had the wild boar burger. It seemed a bit dry but I am left to assume that it should have a bit of a dryer taste as compared to other ground meats.

                          The bread and tomato compote (I guess, as another poster mentioned) was not bad. Unfortunately no room for dessert so I can't report on that.

                          Overall, not a bad place. I'd return to try brunch. Dinner, it might depend on the specials or I may have to give the duck or lamb a try.