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Cafe du Lac (Lakeshore W/Mimico area) - review

Mr. Cheeze and I stopped in here earlier this week on our way home from work. No reservations, and it was about 6.30 or so when we arrived. There were 2 or 3 tables at the time and we were seated very promptly by the one server working that evening. The restaurant has a small, neighbourhood feel to it – about 40 seats plus a few at the bar. Very pleasant atmosphere, done in coffees/browns with some blue accents. Cute place.

After being seated, we ordered a Quebec beer each and a basket of sourdough caraway-rye bread was placed on our table. It had been warmed (there were what looked like “panini” grill marks on the bread) so I am unsure as to how fresh it was. It was served with a sundried tomato spread which was extremely flavourful. It also looked like fresh basil had been mixed into it

There were several things on the menu we wanted to try (there was a cherry tomato tart that sounded terrific), but settled on the poutine as a starter. I recall reading someone’s post that the poutine was huge, so we decided to share – yeah, good thing too! First, it is MASSIVE – it could have easily been shared by four people. Of course we finished it (gluttons!) and were pleasantly full, but we had ordered mains.

Anyway, back to the poutine. It was very tasty – not traditional Quebec style, but very good. The fries were from frozen would be the one negative, but when they are slathered in cheese, gravy and braised beef, it doesn’t matter so much. Instead of cheese curds, there was a chunks of a sharp tasting cheddar – it suited the dish very well. The braised beef was very tender and provided a carmel-like sweetness, which really complemented the dish – it “cut” the natural heaviness of the gravy and the cheese. There was a lot of braised beef in the poutine. Would definitely order this again, but not anytime soon, unless we shared it with at least two others

As for mains, Mr. Cheeze ordered the bison burger. He said it was tasty (and would order again) but a little dry (not surprising, bison is pretty lean) and looked to be about 6oz. It did not come on a regular bun, but rather on thin slices of bread (grilled) that acted as the bun. It seemed to hold together well. It came with a HUGE side of fries, which Mr. Cheeze did not eat, seeing as we had just had a gorge-fest with the potine. I stole a fry from his plate – I personally did not like them – they seem to have been battered in something to make them extra crispy. I don’t like that style of fry.

I ordered the duck as a main. There was a lot of duck breast on the plate – too much actually. It was a bit tough. I’m not sure I would order it again. It came with a side of au gratin style potatoes – lovely. Thinly sliced, not at all mushy and nice amount of cheese baked on top – it was very good. It also came with a very flavourful (nutmeg?) side of cranberry sauce (whole cranberries!!) as well as grilled pepper and mushrooms. I thought the mushrooms were over-garlicked.

Over-all, I would definitely go again. We met the owner Kathryn – very nice lady and clearly passionate about her business. Out total bill (including 2 beers each, tax and tip) was about $100. I would say, they can put less food on the plates – it actually really is way too much. Not that I found it expensive, but I would say (and I admit that I know absolutely nothing about running a restaurant) that they could reduce prices by about 10% and lessen the amount of food by 15-20% and still make a lovely profit.

We are looking forward to going back and trying other things on the menu.


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  1. The poutine sounds like it has changed radically since late June. Back then, the frites appeared homemade and not battered, and curds were used. I too had the bison burger but, on my suggestion, they substituted salad for fries because of just having had poutine. Agree that the scallop potatoes are incredibly cheesy - they came on a plate of duck confit and perfect oyster mushrooms and veggies, as part of a 3 course prix fixe for only $22 (included carrot soup and pudding chomeur). I plan to go back in the next week to check how things are progressing since the opening.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Food Tourist

      FT - the poutine fries were NOT battered, only the bison burger fries were.

      Mr Cheeze grew up in Sturgeon Falls and even he said that they were not curds on the poutine. The poutine was great though. Maybe there were no fresh curds that day, I have no idea - really, I was too busy stuffing my face with the only good poutine I have had in Toronto. It tasted like cheddar to both of us

      I wanted the duck confit, but they were out that night

      No dessert for us - waaay too full from dinner

      1. re: mac n cheeze

        Did you notice if they offered a $22 prix fixe menu?

        1. re: Food Tourist

          I am about 90% sure they did....I think I noticed it, but then became distracted by everything I wanted to eat on the regular menu

    2. Think they'd sell a poutine to-go?

      1. What's the patio like? Is it away from the street?

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

        2 Replies
        1. re: JamieK

          The patio is right on the street, with a great view of the apartment buildings across the street. Not ideal.

          1. re: JamieK

            Patio is on the front - right on Lakeshore; has about 4 or 5 tables
            It does not look like a place one would want to linger

          2. Sounds like an Anglo presentation of Québécois cuisine, and very basic at that. But if it's well prepared that's good, and it is a niche business this far across the border.

            Me, I'll just travel the 300 hundred miles for the real thing

            1 Reply
            1. I had a Bison burger that was fattened up with some bacon fat the other day. First time I ever enjoyed one - they're just too lean otherwise.

              1. My boyfriend and I recently went for dinner. While the atmosphere and food were great, we were appalled by the service. First we were sat at a partially set table and then waited almost 10 minutes before we were greeted. Each visit to our table was a long time coming and after we'd ordered we were not given bread, cutlery, steak knives and water. The icing on the cake was the dirty wine glasses we were given for the bottle of wine we ordered. The only time teh server showed any care in our experience was as we were paying the bill. Although it was a busy night - the managers need to either add another server or find one who can handle the high volume.

                1 Reply
                1. re: jaxmccaff

                  A friend and I went for dinner on Saturday, and we found the service to be stellar. We arrived sans reservations, and the server (is one of the servers a co-owner? She was very warm and at-home in a way that suggested a certain proprietary-ness) and she said they were booked full from 7pm (it was 6), but if we didn't mind a less-leisurely pace, she'd be happy to oblige.

                  We ordered... generously. It was out of our neighborhood, so we decided to make it really worth the trip. So, we had the poutine... Not traditional, it's true. It's a creamy sauce rather than a gravy-like sauce, but the cheese was curds, and the braised meat was a yummy addition. We both agreed that a little more salt would have been nice, but oversalted is a far greater sin. My friend had the country pate, which was delicious, and a pumpkin soup (served in a little pumpkin). Thumbs up. For mains, I had the seared duck, which was beautifully rare and seasoned perfectly. The mashed potatoes were blue and very creamy, and the side veggies were perfect. My friend had the chicken supreme, and she raved repeatedly that it was phenomenally moist and tasty. Desserts, we both had the chocolate mousse. Yum! Mine was a smidge frozen in the middle, but thawed as I enjoyed it.

                  Through it all, our server was absolutely thoroughly cheerful and warm, and efficiently prompt without ever yanking stuff out from under us. We did get the bread basked with two types of butters, and a description of everything we inquired about. And even as we approached zero hour of 7pm, she continued to ask if we were all right, if we wanted anything else, etc. Even with the time constraint, we didn't feel rushed or like we were being pushed out. We were being brisk ourselves, since we didn't want to make customers with reservations have to wait, but the server didn't give any indication she wanted us out-out-out.

                  As an interesting point, we overheard her talking to a couple of other customers, and I'm 99% sure she said that the only thing on the menu that was fried were the french fries, so there was never any flavor crossover through the fryer. Nice to know you won't get fish-scented frites.

                  Dinner for two with 3 starters, 2 mains, 2 desserts, and soft drinks, was $80, and we left *very very very* full - and we are BIG eaters. The poutine could very easily be shared by 2 or even 3 as an app, and even the country pate would be a perfectly pleasant starter for 2. Non-oinky types might even happily share a dessert.

                  We're definitely going to return (with reservations) and try some more goodies. It's clear the chef takes pride in his food, so we're looking forward to more specials... and probably poutine. Non-traditional or not, it's darn tasty.

                2. My husband and I finally went for dinner last night, and boy are we impressed!
                  This is a very cozy and quaint little restaurant with seating for no more than 38 in total, including 4 stools at the bar.
                  We had made reservations for 6 and were seated promptly upon arrival. There were only one other group in already dining, but that changed within an hour. The place was filled to the brim, with the exception of one table for two and two bar stools being empty!
                  I ordered a glass of house red and we also ordered one large sparkling bottle. Within a few minutes after going over the specials of the evening (RIBS - pork or beef!!!), we received a lovely bread basket of two house-made breads - one was a sundried tomato and the other was with Thyme and some other herb that escapes me. Along with the bread basked was a very flavourful herb butter spread. There were grill marks on the Sundried tomato bread and both were warm. Very nice!!!
                  Now onto apps!
                  As a Montreal born and raised, I had to order the regular Poutine (not the one with the Fois Gras). My hubby ordered the French Onion soup.
                  The Poutine is unlike any other Poutine I've tasted. Ok, it's not like a regular style Poutine. This is a little more "luxurious" in my opinion. The fries were REAL potatoes NOT frozen!! The skin was still on them and they were varying cuts & thickness. The "gravy" is a light coloured cream sauce, which was most appetizing. The cheese curds were plentiful and they were the real thing!!! The braised beef was also quite a nice touch and added a different texture to the experience of eating Poutine.
                  My husband really enjoyed his French Onion soup, which was on the sweet side.
                  One very interesting tidbit: there are no salt or pepper shakers on the table, which adds a nice air of confidence to the Chef's flavouring abilities. Nothing needed salt, nor was anything over salted.
                  Now for the mains.
                  I ordered the Steak (medium) with Frites. Spectacular flavours on this meat and really nice marbling. It was cooked to order., all the way through. Again, the fries were most certainly the real thing and not frozen.
                  My hubby ordred the Filet Mignon (medium) which came with rustic mashed potatoes. He really enjoyed every last morsel and was impressed as I was, that the steak was cooked to order.
                  Last but not least...dessert.
                  We had to try at least one item, so we had a Lemon tart. This is one heck of a homemade tart. Nice round piece about 5 inches in diameter. Extraordinary lemon flavours! We loved it!!!
                  I also ordered a single Espresso to finish things off and it was a delightful little shot.
                  All in all, after all is said and done, we paid $125 with taxes & tip.
                  Service was A+ and we had no complaints!

                  Next time we go back, it will be on a Thursday again, but this time to enjoy the Rib Prix Fixe. You can choose between pork (pork was sold out by 7pm) or beef. For started you can choose between the daily soup or the organic salad and finish off with a coffee and chef's dessert of the day. Yesterday it appeared to be some type of crepe dessert. Lots of tables were ordering the rib special and the ribs were falling off the bone.

                  What a GREAT gem in Etobicoke!!!!!

                  1. My wife and i went this weekend, around 8pm on a saturday night. The place was half full and we were warmly greeted and shown to our table. The place is nice, and warm. Thank god they put a shade on the front window...otherwise we would be looking at the apartments across the street. The service was the worst part of our visit. It took almost 15 min before the waitress made her first visit to the table to take our drink orders. Then another 10 min to get our drinks.....we were served some really nice warm bread, but I think thats a result of the hostess seeing that we were still waiting for our appetizer(45 min). The french onion soup was fantastic...the salad with warm goat cheese was ok, but there really wasnt much in the way of greens on the plate. Waited another 25 minutes after that before we got our entrees. My wife has the poutine, which was ok...didnt like the cream sauce, as it was kind of bland and took away from the cheese...but the addition of the pork was excellent. I had the wild boar burger,with foie gras. The burger with the foie gras was excellent, but the foie gras placed on top of the bun, rendered the top of the bun kinda useless. Should have been served without the top bun and that would have been better. The waitress asked if we wanted to look at the desserts....we were given the menu, and then 5 minutes later she came with the bill....I guess no dessert! Anyway I looked at the bill, and really felt the prices could be a little cheaper...and the service could be a lot better....We were there for 2 hours, and it wasnt even 100% full. We will go back in a couple of months hopefully when things are a little smoother

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Love it Spicy

                      I've heard complaints about the service, but I've been there 3 times in the last 3 months and the only time the service was a little "off" was a very full Wednesday night with only 1 waitress working. They got a second in within the hour and service settled in.

                    2. Duck in a jar ($35) is very tasty, and includes cabbage, bacon, and more. However, I don't love their foie gras and next time will stick to the regular poutine. Service was good on a recent Saturday evening visit. This is not Au Pied calibre food, but enjoyable nevertheless.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Food Tourist

                        We're going next week - looking forward to trying it

                        1. re: ElizabethS

                          Ate there last week for the first time - I really want this to like this place and for it to succeed as it's a great addition to the neighbourhood.

                          The experience averaged to OK - with highs and lows. Service was both good and bad - all from the same person - that's a first for me. The server did a great job of working with the kitchen to customize a couple of meals - good - but the pace of drinks/water was sporadic (and there were enough servers on). Bread (which was delicious) didn't arrive (despite repeated requests) until the last spoonful of soup was in the bowls.

                          One major problem was the live music - it was so loud our table of 4 could not converse. You could talk to the person next to you (if you yelled into their ear) but you could not conduct a conversation across the table. We mentioned this several times to the servers and the volume might have been turned down slightly, but it rendered dinner a solitary experience.

                          Hard to comment too much about the food considering we couldn't talk - the mushroom soup was good, one person had poutine which she enjoyed and my duck confit was delicious (potatoes slightly underdone but not bad)

                          So....will try again - once.

                      2. After checking out their website, my SO and I are intrigued by their Tuesday specials. How are their mussels and whether both of us would have to order the mussels? I would imagine it to be weird if one of us order the all you can eat mussels while the other is just sitting there waiting after he/she finishes his/her entree.

                        On another note, how is the crepe dessert? There's a pic on their website and it looks pretty good, any idea whether the pic is accurate?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ragged25

                          They only serve mussels, steak or poutine on Tuesdays, not the regular menu. So you only have those 3 choices. It's good value, as I enjoyed two huge bowls of mussels (with choice of flavour), salad, bread, fries, and dessert for $20!

                          There's also a buy one get one free entree coupon in this month's coupon book that gets delivered around our neighbourhood. Valid Wed and Thurs evenings only.