Think twice before eating at L'Echaude
We went to L'echaude last evening in Quebec City after reading such positive reviews overall--my husband, my son and myself. Of course, when you don't know a city, you take risks with restaurants. This is a recap of our experience. I ordered the tomato-goat cheese tart as my first course, and this was good but not spectacular. For my entree, I had the fish-muscles-lobster court boullion, which was fresh but the stock truly lacked flavor (I ended up adding a air bit of salt to help it). My husband liked his steak tartar appetizer, but the steak frites came with the smallest steak we'd ever seen--my pre-teen son ordered this too and was still hungry after he finished and wanted what my husband had not yet eaten of his. The frites were tasty but rather greasy and soggy. The music was more problematic than the food, and from my husband, I quote: "At the end of the dinner, a pseudo hip, pseudo slow jazz version of the Violent Femmes Blister in the Sun almost caused me to lose my entire meal." Fortunately, we left before this occurred. Overall, this meal was not worth the $200+ we spent on it. I think we'll cut our losses and try and inexpensive creperie this evening.
73 Rue Du Sault-Au-Matelot, Quebec, QC G1K3Y9, CA
I always feel badly providing negative feedback, but I do think it is important for others to know before they spend $$. I am sure this restaurant works very hard to maintain standards, but it just fell short. It was not a disaster, but it was not a great dining experience either, plus is was expensive. I don't mind paying the $$ for a fine meal, but it needs to live up to the price. The following night we ended up giving Cafe de la Paix on rue des Jardins a try--my husband wanted sweetbreads and they had this on the menu. It looked like a cozy little place with a nice menu. First, the waiter seemed annoyed with us for reasons we didn't understand. Very curt from the moment we walked in (I wondered if he didn't like that we brought our 12 year old son, or if we weren't dressed well enough or something--we were certainly dressed appropriately for a nice restaurant). It was a nice interior, but again, the food was pretty disappointing. The sweetbreads were served in a sauce that was rather gloppy and more like a thick stew. Everything was pretty mediocre, including the onion soup. Plus, I felt stressed out because the waiter seemed like he really didn't want us there.
We loved Quebec City--it is a beautiful place.. There seem to be many restaurants but it is hard to know which ones are really good and which are just trying to be really good and charging a lot of $$ and embellishing the atmosphere to create that persona.