The new Nouveau Palais
As promised in the Restaurant openings thread, I finally tried out the new Nouveau Palais last night. I'm kind of excited and feel the restaurant deserved its own thread.
Before getting into the details, I must say I’m very happy about this addition (replacement?) to the neighbourhood. Although it is certainly not a fine dining establishment (nor does it pretend to be), it is almost exactly how I feel a diner should be. Everything is obviously made from scratch and is, for the most part, deeply satisfying.
We ordered a bunch of stuff (takeout....turns out they just hadn't received their boxes the first time I called) which was shared among our group, so I got a taste of many items.
First off, “alphabits soup” (3.95$) (matzoh ball soup is gone… a shame, I would’ve like to try that). Standard alphabet noodles with fresh beans, kale, dill, carrots. I applaud the use of the very fresh tasting veggies, but a good soup starts with a good broth and this one was relatively weak. At 3.95$, I expect a deep, rich “chickeny’” broth that’s properly seasoned.
“Greek salad” (5$). This salad was great. Good, creamy feta (finally!) made the salad sing, along with fresh tasting tomatoes, olives and cucumbers. No particular twist, just good ingredients.
“Roast beef sandwich au jus” (8$?) My favourite dish. Squishy baguette bread with sliced braised beef (and I’m not a fan of braised meats usually) and “giardiniere” style hot pickled vegetables, drenched in beef jus… sooo satisfying. I still crave this. Came with fries. Some would call the fries a bit greasy, I would just eat them.
“Fried chicken” with crudités, blue cheese sauce and veggies (this time, carrots). This was one of the favourite dishes of someone in the group. I must disclose I am not a fan of blue cheese so the sauce did nothing for me, but the chicken was good. It was not battered, perhaps only dredged in (well) seasoned flour and then deep fried. I appreciated that we were provided with a drumstick and two thighs, and no breast (which is often dry and lacking in flavour), but this may have simply been the luck of the draw.
“Spaetzle with tomatoes”. Ok dish. I found the spaetzle to be a bit overcooked (but perhaps this was due to the delay before eating, having ordered takeout), kind of oily and lacking in salt. Fresh and flavourful cherry tomatoes were appreciated. This dish could be improved into a winner, but it's not there yet.
“NY style coleslaw”. Oh yeah, cabbage was still almost crunchy and swimming in a creamy dressing. Can’t eat too much, and could actually do with less dressing, but flavours were still well balanced.
“Fries with cheese sauce”(6.95$). I may now favour this over poutine. Fries in a tangy, satisfying cheddar (probably) sauce. Very good, but I would have personally liked more sauce.
I’d like to point out that the menu has evolved since I first checked out the place. It seems the prices have gone up one or two bucks and some items have been replaced. They’re obviously still working their way into something more definitive, but I feel like they already have some solid winners and you just can’t go wrong using quality ingredients as they do.
I wish them all the best and will definitely be back.
Correct, sorry I didn't specify this. The Nouveau Palais is indeed under new management, but they are not changing the decor except for somme dimming of the lights. My comment on the menu change alluded to my post in the Restaurant Openings thread where I relayed the opening day menu.
Also of note, they are now only open evenings. Hopefully opening hours will be broadened, which would be nice nod to the original's almost 24-hour/day schedule. A diner should indeed always be open.
Also, I was told that the City is using the fact that the Palais is under new management to ask the owners to take dowm the original sign. If anybody knows of a way to support the Palais in their efforts to keep the sign, let it be known.
As a resident of the area, and fan of Le Pick-Up (if only they would deliver...), I'm looking forward to trying this out. Any sign of a liquor license?
the 7$ "cheese fries" are an abomination. how a few spoonfulls of bland melted chedder justifies +3$ charge is beyond me. just make a poutine and give people what they want.
burger, motza ball soup, wedge salad, fish and chips were all just unremarkable, uninteresting. standard. portions are small. their attempt at a "wine list" is laughable.
i'd personally rather just go to a real greasy spoon joint with big portions at half the price over a place which is miserably "in between" and failing at making interesting comfort food. this place is a hipster trap and a racket. the ancien palais was infinitely better and without pretention.