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Aug 1, 2008 07:03 AM

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.