' La Croisee ' - Leaside's new French Bistro with cozy, romantic ambiance and delectable Burgundian Food!
- Charles Yu Feb 27, 2014 08:02 PM
During the past few weeks, fellow Chowhounders have been reading a lot about the new "Bistro92", a French Bistro headed by a La Tour D'Argent trained chef. Although the food was good but unfortunately the restaurant is located in a slightly sleazy part of town with difficult parking.
Tonight, fellow chowhounder CanEast and I braved -26C temperature and tried out another new French Bistro. This time, in more 'up-scale' Leaside and with ample of street parking. The kitchen of 'La Croisee' is headed by Andrien Beilleux, a Burgundy born chef.who was the Sous chef of Paris famous Michelin 2* seafood palace - Le Divellec.
We were greeted by a warm and cozy small dining room, with white linen table, fresh flowers and relaxing Mozart symphony as back ground music. They offer a 3 course prix-fixe menu plus complimentary amuse bouche for $45. Dishes involving more exotic ingredients like lobster or Foie Gras are charged an extra $6 supplement.
We selected the following dishes between the two of us:
- Soupe a l'oignon de Meursault ( Onion soup's recipe inherited from the chef's grandmother)
- Tartare de homard a la mayonnaise de Dijon ( $6 supplement )
- Revisite du boeuf Bourguignon sur son lit de polenta ( New version Burgundy beef with smashed potato not polenta, tonight )
- Sanglier Rossini, Foie Gras, Risotto au Parmesan ( $6 supplement )
Rossini Wild Boar steak with seared Foie Gras.
- Moelleux au chocolat avec creme glacee de Vanille
- Poires pochees a la seve de Bourgogne. ( Pear poached in Burgundy red wine )
Overall, the tasty food was very nicely prepared and executed.
Amuse of Cheese crostini and Foie Gras on Ginger bread was a delightful start.
The high light of the evening must undoubtedly belong to the amazing Boeuf Bourguignon! Absolutely fork tender with a nice mix of meat and tendons. The protein morsels, infused with the most complex and delicious sauce, were simply awesome!! This must be the BEST Boeuf Bourguignon I have had in Canada!! Period! Thank God for the never ending supply of fresh crispy and warm Baguette to mop up the sauce!
The Lobster Tartare was nicely done. The fresh succulent meat, just barely cooked, was slightly under-dressed so as to allow the sweet lobster meat to shine through! A reflection of the chef's seafood skill acquired from the Michelin Master 'Divellec'?!
The wild boar was perfectly cooked to medium ( however, for more tenderness, I should have ordered medium-rare instead ). The accompanying truffle sauce was delicate and tasty. However, the star belongs to that 'generous' piece of seared Foie Gras. Wow! What a size! For only $6 more! It was a steal!! (A similar size raw one from Cumbrae costs me $17 last week!!).
The two desserts were equally enjoyable. The poached pear in Burgundy wine a rare tasty treat!
Unfortunately, amongst all the good, there was one slight misses! The rather 'thin and diluted' Onion Soup was a sad disappointment. I was expecting a version with caramelized onion aplenty and a complex, compact broth. But instead, I received only a rather half-hearted rendition. What a pity! Definitely room to improve!
Overall, with 3 Kirs and Kir Royale, a couple of extra supplements, the meal comes to $170 all inclusive. I would say a pretty good value meal in such an upscale neighbourhood.
For my next visit, I will focus on ALL seafood!!
Thank yu Carles. I must go to La Croisee. It sounds like the chef can cook!
There is more than ample free and inexpensive parking at Bistrot92. It's neighbourhood is better described as "without airs".
I will report on La Croisee with special reference to the parking and comparison to Bistrot92.
Does "Revisite du boeuf " etc. mean leftovers?
We went yesterday and agree that the boeuf bourguignon is wonderful, as is the fois gras that comes with the boar steak. Asking for the boar medium-rare didn't seem to help with the tenderness, unless yours was really tough. Next time I'm going to ask if they'll serve the boeuf bourguignon with fois gras (for some extra $, of course).
Our wine was wonderful, seeing as we brought a '93 Nuits-St-Georges 1er cru from our own cellar. Corkage was a reasonable $20 (weekdays, which seems to include Sunday) and $25 on weekends. They had a considerable display of wine bottles that people had brought to the restaurant, so that's the way to go. We never even saw their wine list, so I don't know what it's like.
We both had the chestnut soup (nice) and for dessert the moelleux au chocolate (wonderful, but be warned that the chocolate was very bitter, as you'd expect in France) and the petit panier de fruits (very good).
Service was enthusiastic and very friendly, but a little ragged (a new waitress apparently). The waitress forgot my wife's latte until reminded, but then comped us for it, so we couldn't complain.
What was worrisome was that for the entire time we were there (7:30 - 9pm) we were the only customers. Granted, it was Oscar night and bitterly cold, and they did say that they were crazy busy on Saturday night, so perhaps it was a fluke. Let's hope they stay around for a while.
We'll be back, and we recommend it.
re: Charles Yu
We have not been (yet) but drive by regularly, as we live in the general vicinity. It has been busy on the past number of Thurs, Fri, Sat nights we have driven by.
There is a dearth of good restaurants in the neighbourhood (L'Avenue being an exception). Too much Asian fusion, the horrid Amaya, and sushi roll places.
Mr. Vuitton and I are looking forward to trying it. Sadly, given the current crazy at work/work travel, it is looking like late April. :(
re: Charles Yu
The design is miserable. I walked by there before I had heard anything about the place on a trip uptown to Cumbrae's and Rahier and it looked very unappealing. Hearing the reviews here, I want to go, but I fear that too many skilled chefs forget that restaurants are places where people go to eat and they have to spend time in those places. The room needn't look plush or expensive or even swish, but it must look welcoming or charming or comfortable (think Edulis). While most people want a good meal, not everyone is as focused on the food as we are here. The lack of a marketing footprint probably doesn't help them either. I wish them well and hope to get there soon, but I worry that they've made some missteps.
re: Charles Yu
It looks dated. The sign, the painted drop ceiling, the weird stones, even the table clothes (neither Simple nor Mogette, both of which have cleaner and warmer designs use full table clothes) give the impression that not much care has been put into the place.
The food looks great, and I hope they succeed, but it's a tough dining neighbourhood for serious food (there's been nothing particularly great since Celestin and Jov, maybe the early days of Simple) so you've got to create a place that draws in the neighbourhood. Design's important. Probably too important.
Anyway, I hope to get there soon and I'll leave the design criticism for elsewhere (or at least until I eat a meal there)!
We live just up the street and decided to try out this resto last night for my husband's bday dinner. When I made the rez on Open Table I indicated it was his birthday.
When we arrived we were greeted at the door by a server and maitre d', and my husband was immediately wished a very happy birthday. Coats whisked away, we were offered a choice of tables and chose the front window position. Two other tables were occupied in the long and comfortable (nowhere near "miserable" room).
My husband (not I) was offered a complimentary kir or kir royale or a dessert wine to celebrate his birthday. A nice touch, though odd that the offer was only to him.
We brought a very nice bottle of wine with us as we had read about the reasonable $20 corkage fee and limited wine list.
The amuse and homemade butter with paprika were delicious, thought the teensy bread rounds were too petite.
As the very limited menu and pricing have previously been described in detail, I will only mention we started with the onion soup, which was indeed watery and not the traditional cheese topped soup of lore and the chestnut soup which was rich, flavourful and delicious. I almost licked the diminutive bowl. Having heard raves about the bourgignon, we had to give it a try. The extremely tiny portion was very salty, yet flavourful, the best part being the small dollop of dauphinoise potatoes. We also had the honey, orange duck breast which was comprised of several very tough chunks of almost raw, very sweet meat with nary a hint of orange, accompanied by an off-putting eggplant curry mash which fought the flavours of the thick reduction.
The chocolate moelleux was beyond bitter, and we're dark chocolate lovers. This must have been made with a 90% product as was evidenced by the mouth puckering tannins which could not be tamed even by the ice cream or whipped cream. The mixed berries were beautifully presented and fresh. We passed on coffee as they do not have any type of decaf - not espresso, nor drip.
A few good notes; the service was fantastic, attentive and polished and shared between the lovely female server and the maitre d'. The china, stemware, flatware and linens are all top of the line and beautiful, most notably the plates.
The Chef did not come out to chat, but halfway through our meal, a corporate party of 12 arrived and he became busy.
I wanted to love La Croisee and I will try it again. They're really trying. I hope they can improve.
Looks like you too have a 'Hit & Miss' experience! :)
Yes,I too wish them well.
BTW, with Bistro 92 and its Michelin trained chef on the verge of closing down, may be the two Paris trained chefs can join up and become a 'FORCE' to reckon with!!. Personally, I would love to see Bistro92's French Apple tart on the Croisee menu!
Skip the lamb shoulder dish - it isn't falling off the bone shoulder roast as you may have enjoyed in Greek places - it's pale and has booby traps of unappetizing wobbly lamb fat.
The accompaniment of sweet and ordinary potato mash was great, but the piece of picked red onion perched on top was a real harmony buster. It was like glugging a glass of vinegar.
The soggy spiced poached pear served with the lobster tartare ($12) - ruined the dish.
And if the waitress had said "no problem" one more time I think I would have run screaming!
The chocolate desert, as others have commented, is quite bitter, but is nicely off set by the vanilla ice cream.
The design is ..... a bit home spun, too many different stone things going on, and those mirrored tiles on the ceiling.... but the worst aspect is the clash between the calmly lit dining room, the white table cloths and the fresh flowers and the view into the kitchen which is garishly lit with fluorescent light, stark white walls and red pipes and doors. The Chef gazes out too much, it's uncomfortable being watched while you eat or while you order. I know he's calculating his take, but cover it up!
For me, it was too expensive for what it was, and it involved a trip, so I probably won't be back.
I'm generally not a fan of open kitchens anyway - but in a small place (1 chef-owner, one server, one kitchen help) how would you suggest that a 'dutiful' owner keep tabs on the whole operation - other than scanning the room?
This place is too small to have a separate front-of-house manager, and clearly has different servers on different nights.
I was particularly impressed with the service - whenever any of my glasses (water or wine) were near the bottom, each was promptly refilled. It didn't occur to me, until this discussion, that it could have been the chef prompting that service, rather than just an attentive server.
Surely, in any competently managed room, there would be maître d' (or similar) eyes looking for such things. It's just more obvious if it's the chef.
I can't speak for La Croisee because I've not been.
Kitchenvoodoo said s/he was watched while eating which is different from someone scanning a room. Of course, they need to be aware of what's going on, etc.
My experience was of an owner starring out at us each time a dish was served to get our reaction. Honestly, it seemed he never took his eyes off us the entire evening. It was really quite awkward and disturbing.
Estufarian - As flattered as I am by the thought of a chef being entranced by the sight of me, I'd rather he keep his eyes on his stoves.
Zucca is a similarly laid out restaurant, and the kitchen is in open view, but I've never experienced that discomfort of being stared at while I'm ordering or eating.
I think La Croisee should either tone down the harsh lighting in the open kitchen, or screen it off.
Our meal here was pretty good. Service was particularly fine (clearly we had a different server than in some of the other reviews).
First, kudos to the Boeuf Bourguignon – I think everybody has tried this and it deserves the accolades. The portion size is adequate although not exactly generous. But the quality was certainly top notch.
Our other main was the lamb shoulder – ordered because it was cooked in vin jaune, which is rare in Canada (fond memories of a chicken dish in France). But, sadly, no evidence of the flavour of vin jaune. Absolutely no fatty ’traps’ – the entire portion was edible but the flavour didn’t jump, and the long cooking made the texture a bit too ‘tender’ (I like more bite in my meat). I also found the mash bland – could have done with some of the red onion mentioned above (no evidence of same on my plate).
To start, we had the chestnut soup, which was excellent – only jarring note was the garnish which was a slice of radish, Certainly, the idea of adding some colour to this dish was a good one, but it didn’t add anything to the flavour (for me).
The lobster was excellent ($6 supplement) but was advertised as lobster tartare – which it wasn’t (at least in my experience). It was ‘dressed-up’ with various additions, including mayonnaise (think more like tuna salad) but was very tasty, although the apple accompaniment had been poached and I would have preferred a crunchier texture (e.g. celery root or parsley root – julienned apple is difficult to stop from browning).
Loved the poached pear dessert and ‘double-loved’ the BYOW policy.
Enough hits to ensure we visit again. Apparently he will move to a ‘Spring’ menu within the next 2-3 weeks – but will keep his ‘signature’ Boeuf Bourguignon dish on that menu. Grab those Burgundies from your cellar.
We went yesterday (Friday). At 6:30pm there was only one other table. Coincidentally, that other table was pastry chef Mr. Schmitt and his family from (about) next door Patisserie La Cignone. We've never met Mr. Schmitt so didn't recognize him but know and recognized his wife, Juan. Nice family! In any case, by about 8pm, the small restaurant was almost full, so not bad.
Service was so so for us. We were sat down and had to wait more than 5 min while the staff who were chatting nearby before we finally got the menu after we asked. My wife asked why the trout (that we saw on menu posted on their website) wasn't there. The maître d had a puzzled look and told us they just switched to the Spring menu. However, later (when we were looking at the same menu for desserts) we found the trout "hidden" at the top of page 2 where the desserts were found. My wife was not happy because that was what she wanted.
Menu was smallish - a few entrees and mains and 3 desserts. I started with the Burgundy poached eggs. Interesting. My main was the "signature" beef bourguignon. Better. But not amazing. Maybe my expectations were high based on the glowing reviews of this dish here. One thing. It was a small dish. I was done in a few minutes! My wife had the Lamb shank which she thought was "OK".
We BYOW'ed a 2001 Ribera del Duero which matched nicely with my appetizer-size beef bourguignon. We were told corkage was $25 but I never checked the bill. So maybe it went up from $20. Still a decent price though. I did look at their wine menu. Not much there.
Overall, I had hoped for better. We live not too far from there and really wanted this to be as good as others have reviewed here. But it fell a bit short.