Nolah Bistro - West Island
We tried this place a couple of weeks ago, and it's one of my new favorite restaurants, we had a great experience from start to finish.
The waitstaff was attentive without being overbearing, which is always a great way to start to night. We had jambalaya balls for an amuse-bouche and they were fantastic. Both had the gumbo for appetizers, and the bowl of gumbo could easily have been a main course, it was filling and perfectly seasoned. The sausage in the gumbo was phenominal. Per our server, they normally use chorizo but that evening they had used toulouse sauasage. Not sure of the reason for the changeup, but I'm certainly not complaining.
For mains I had the short rib and my husband took the strip steak. Both were perfectly cooked. Loved the spicy BBQ sauce on the short rib, and the parsnips were also delicious. My husband who always orders his steak well-done (the horror!) says that this was one of the only times he has ever had his steak cooked perfectly. Not too pink, not too tough. Taste aside, presentation on all of the dishes was also just lovely.
It was pretty empty when we visited so we had the chance to chat with the chefs for a few minutes after wrapping up our meal. You can really tell they take pride in what they are serving and really enjoy what they do. Per the chef he is trying to ind a supplier for authentic cajun andouille sausage and hopes to be able to add that to the menu soon. That alone will have me coming back again.
Went to this place last night - and not sure if they had an 'off' night,' but I can't say I echo the recommendations of everyone else..
Evening started out nicely. We had seats on the terasse and it was a beautiful evening for an outside meal. I ordered a glass of wine, and we were brought an amuse-bouche shortly after ordering. The amuse was deep fried jambalaya, a southern arronchini (sp?) I guess. It was beautifully deep fried, and rested on and was topped with some kind of mayonnaise. Not sure what the mayonnaise was because it was pretty bland, and didn't add anything to the dish. And although the fry was beautiful, the rice was also pretty bland and I couldn't really detect any flavour in the rice.
I ordered crab cakes as an appetizer, and my wife ordered the seasonal soup. The crab cakes were also beautifully fried, and topped with a chipotle / lime mayo that was more prominent tasting than the mayo accompanying the amuse. The cakes were very good - nice crust, spicy, and lots of crab meat. My only complaint with these was the crab mix was a little too wet inside.
The 'seasonal' soup was a butternut squash soup. Was topped with some sort of foam, which I don't think added anything to the soup. Besides not being very seasonal, the soup was a pretty standard squash soup. Not special, but not bad either.
For main dishes, I ordered the short rib, and the wife ordered deep friend cornish hen. The short rib was not tender enough, IMO, and had a large amount of unrendered and un-edible fat running along the top. I also found it fairly bland- it had a nice beefy flavour, but would have appreciated some seasoning or spice to the dish. It was accompanied by some deep fried parsnips that were a little luke-warm - which resulted in soggy parsnips. I think I would have been happier with parsnip "chips", and the contrast would have been better against the mashed potatoes that were also served with the short rib. Again, the puree (I think it was potato, but may have had parsnip as well) was under-seasoned. Also on the dish was a corn salsa or salad that didn't really add anything to the plate. The same salad was present on the crab cake dish, I should add, and again I don't think it added anything to the dish.
The cornish game hen came with the same potato puree and corn salad as my main. The hen, although flavourful, was overcooked and dry.
For desert I ordered beignets, and the wife a chocolate torte. The beignets came with way way too much icing sugar on top - like a 3 or 4 mm layer. Otherwise they tasted as expected, like little doughnuts. There was about 6 of them, so the portion was generous, but much too sweet and too one-dimensional. It would have been nice to have some jams served on the side, or even better different jams stuffed in the middles so I could be surprised with each one.
The torte was good. The pecans and caramel on the torte were best, and I found the desert a little too heavy for my tastes. The wife enjoyed it.
THe service was good, and I found both waitresses lovely. However, at the end of the night when the restaurant got much busier, two waitresses were obviously not enough for the entire restaurant, as we waited half and hour after dessert until we received our bill. Actually, we didn't even receive the bill, I had to get up and go to the bar to get it because it was taking so long.
The meal cost $115, including tax and tip. Overall, if the above is too long - the food is under seasoned and uninspired. But I would agree with ios94, it is probably one of the better choices for those looking for a place to eat on the West Island. But that still isn't saying much.
Thank you for the recommendation. My husband and I went there tonight. They were ostensibly closed for a special wine tasting event, but very kindly offered us a table out on the patio. We had it all to ourselves and it was a perfect evening outside with great food, and the service didn't suffer.
They started us off with warm bread and butter, and a jambalaya amuse bouche. Between us we also had crab cakes, gumbo, sirloin, scallops, beignets and chocolate torte. I think we should have shared one dessert!
My husband is in Montreal for business fairly frequently and he'll certainly be back.