Au Cinquieme Peche report
This is a long-overdue report from a meal I had back in January, it has been a bit busy, and I am behind on my reports. So this menu reflects an earlier time.
I finally got a chance to eat at Au Cinquieme Peche, and all I can think is “why did it take me so long?” We had a really wonderful meal. The atmosphere is chic but understated. Service was professional and friendly, we were never rushed or ignored.
I started with sautéed wild mushrooms served with a Parmesan wafer and truffled mashed potatoes. The mushrooms were delicate and earthy, and avoided the slimy watery texture that I always seem to get when I sauté mushrooms. They were perfect! The potatoes were also fabulous. This was a very satisfying appetizer, and I could have happily eaten several more helpings of this dish. Hubbie had a fabulous marinated mackerel appetizer with salicorne, fennel and citrus. This was very fresh and original. I also tried a bite of a friend’s tuna tataki, garnished with a single, thin, slightly hot, slightly sweet and insanely delicious house-pickled green chile, and served with tempuraed andouille sausage cubes and a kind of hollandaise-mayo dip. Again, perfectly executed and insanely original. The combination was unusual but worked beautifully.
We then shared several orders of the os a la moelle, sel aux algues, bone marrow served with sea salt flavoured with seaweed. Sharing this dish with others is a good idea, as the bone marrow is insanely rich, you can’t eat too much of this without feeling incredibly guilty about the amount of fat you are consuming. The sea salt is a perfect accompaniment for the marrow.
I then had the lamb special, rack of lamb and braised lamb neck. The lamb neck was very tender and flavourful, it is a very unusual offering, and it was very tasty. The rack was delicious, but not as original, and I frankly would have preferred having more of the lamb neck. Hubbie got venison tournedos served on a grill overlying smoking vine shoots, you could see the smoke rising from the vine shoots, and it gave the venison a wonderful smoky, herbal flavour. This was accompanied by more masterful mushrooms, shallots and lardon.The presentation of his dish was aesthetically pleasing as well. I also sampled some of my friend’s delicious sweetbreads. Fans of sweetbreads should definitely add these to the “must-eat” list.
The wine list is fairly priced and very interesting. We started with a Quebec Chardonnay-Seyval blend from Les Pervenche – wonderful! I was so surprised this was a Quebecois wine, I have had few QC wines that reached this level of excellence. We also had an organic Cotes du Roussillon, 2005 La Coulee from Olivier Pithon, a blend of Grenache Noir, Carignan and Syrah. We finished off with the 2006 Lo Vielh, an organic 100% Carignan from Clos du Gravillas. All wines were lovely, and very fairly priced. The wine list is studded with fairly priced gems.
For dessert, I had the rice pudding topped with stewed prunes. Doesn’t sound so exciting, but for a rice pudding lover like me this was heaven. The pudding was decadent and creamy , and the prunes added a beautiful depth of flavour. A friend’s pear tarte Tatin with spice ice cream was wonderful. Chees plate was enjoyed by another friend, cheeses were all served at correct temperature and ripeness.
Overall, I found ACP to be a unique, elegant experience. Execution is spotless, the food is original and flavourful, and the atmosphere is warm and inviting. I’m already looking for an excuse to go back! For a party of 6, cost was about $100 per person with wine tax and tip.
Hey, you finally made it!
Great report and great timing since Voir/Recettes de Chef have just published an article about Au Cinquième Péché's chef, Benoit Lenglet. There's a video profile showing him in the resto along with pics of several of his dishes (including what appears to be that venison on smoldering vine cuttings), and three of his recipes (also with very well-done procedural videos): andouillette gratinéed with Maroilles on an endive-potato-maple *vélouté*; veal cheeks braised in red wine with phyllo-wrapped squash and smothered savoy cabbage; and -- a dessert I've enjoyed in the resto -- rice pudding with endives, crushed speculoos cookies and *argousier* (which I believe is sea buckthorn; Lenglet says other acidic fruit like plums and citrus can be substituted).
Piggy-backing on this thread to report on a couple of unusual new dishes we tried yesterday evening.
First a trippy starter of *loup de mer*, which is not Atlantic wolffish but a euphemism for Magdalen Island seal. $13 gets you a long rectangular plate with seal four ways: a cromesqui; smoked meat; tataki-style; and a salad of sliced radishes, salicorne (glasswort, samphire) and a pepperoni-style sausage. Each was expertly executed and together they give a good idea of the range of this overlooked, savoury -- and totally non-fishy -- dark red meat. The season's short and nearly over, so seize the day.
Second, an equally trippy dessert inspired by the flavours of Flanders, chef Lenglet's birthplace: chicory cheesecake on a speculoos crust, crowned with honey-caramelized endive (which tasted very fig-like), garnished with a dollop of chicory cream and a scattering of sea buckthorn preserves. Astoundingly good.
The other dishes -- a starter of crunchy local aspargus drizzled with Xipister vinegar and topped with Parmesan shavings and a fried quail's egg; seared hanger steak, slow-cooked chuck and caramelized shallots on mashed Yukon Golds and rapini; sweetbreads and wild mushrooms on parsnip pruée with hazelnuts, pancetta bits and a kiss of truffle oil; chocolate and fleur-de-sel cream topped with a dense, dry brownie topped with beet mousse -- could hardly have been better.
Capping what was already a great evening was the surprise of deducing from snippets of overheard conversation that the table next to ours was occupied by fellow hound nycgenki -- http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/621573 -- and his companion, enjoying their dinner just as much as we did ours. Cool, eh?
I never did follow up and thank you for your wonderful Montreal recommendations - each one was superb.
We had an absolute BALL in Montreal - eating and drinking our way around such a fantastic city. We will be back - often I hope.
It was also great to meet you at ACP - such a small chowhound world :-)