Report on O'Thym
I remember from a while ago that there were a few people on here interested in knowing more about the BYO scene in Montreal. I have to admit, most dining experiences in Montreal's BYO's have left me cold, and I often find them to be a little kitschy for my liking. Dinner at O'Thym a few days ago was an exception.
My partner and I were in a bit of rush to get in and out pretty quickly, with tickets to the an opera performance beginning at eight - but the waiter was more than happy to fit us in and ensure our food came out as fast as possible. Sadly the wine that I brought along was corked- so that was a bit of a downer on the evening, but obviously was no fault of the restaurant.
We began with an on-the-house soup of carrot, red pepper and tarragon which at first glance looked like some kind of squash soup. An unlikely combo certainly. Have to admit this definitely wasn't a highlight - heavily overseasoned with pepper and the tarragon was almost indectable...
Things got better soon afterwards, we shared a fig and foie gras tarte tatin with caramelized shallots.. Absolutely wonderfully presented and delicious flavours. The foie gras was cooked excellently, slightly caramelized around the edges and meltingly tender on the inside. My only complaint about this dish was that the ingredients had not been left to temper properly - the caramelized shallots, obviously prepped in advance and removed straight from the fridge during service, were still cold when they got to our table, whereas the figs, pastry and foie gras were warm. Definitely not enough to stop me from scarfing it down though.
My partner had a bison steak with a raspberry jus for his main, me a magret of duck with a fleur du sel and thyme crust. Both were presented in the same manner, on an assortment of seasonal produce, (all things I had aseen in their prime at Jean Talon market a few days before) such as multicoloured cauliflower, red cabbage, fingerling potatoes... My partners steak was excellent, incredibly juicy and flavourful, losing points only for lack of tenderness. MY magret I think was a perfect ten - the salt crust made for a delicious crispy exterior, and the interior was a gorgeous medium rare pink and so so tender. Fantastic.
At this point we were running a little late - so asked the waiter what dessert we could squeeze into our remaining ten minutes. A mere minute or so later, he brought out a maple creme brulee, which was absolutely wonderful - the custard just barely set, creamy and nuanced with a subtle maple flavour. The caramel must have been made with some kind of maple casssonade. Delicious.
With a billl just shy of a ninety dollars, I thought this was incredibly good value - this really as a great dining experience and not very expensive at all. Sure its not the most innovative of menus, but when food is so beatifully cooked and plated, and uses local seasonal ingredients, how can you complain. O'Thym is also a lovely space - at once spartan and inviting. Service is friendly and efficient. Definitely a don't miss on Montreal's BYO scene...