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Sep 24, 2002 05:43 PM

Leméac: Very Good first impression.

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I finally tried Leméac last week and I must say that I left with a very good first impression. Unfortunately, I only went for a quick meal and a glass of wine after a long day at work. (I did not get an entree or a dessert) In other words, the circumstances were not ideal and I could not get the true sense of the place. However, I can attest for the quality of the environment, the service and the food. The room is spacious and well lit, the ceilings are high and the windows are huge. It's looks like a big, neat and high-end restaurant. I did not sit there but the terrasse might be a place where one could enjoy spending a lot of time with friends on a warm summer night. The service was courteous and the recommended wine was appropriate. My girlfriend and I had a Pintade (small bird) and a bavette de boeuf. Both were of high quality.

To sum it up, I will definitely visit this place again, and I doubt anything could dissapoint me. My only concern involves the crowd. I am 28, I have been to several restaurant I rarely felt as young as I did while I was there. The clients seemed to come from this baby-boomers from Outremont mold and, though I might be one of them one day, I am still far from there. In that sense, it wasn`t as cosmopolitan as L'Express.

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  1. Thanks for the report, nachodan.

    To celebrate the end of a big project, a client took me and few other suppliers to Leméac for lunch a couple of weeks ago. My impressions were mostly postive if a bit less so than yours.

    We had a table outside. Although alongside the street, the terrasse is very pleasant, the greenery and fence providing an effective psychological barrier. Unfortunately, the low September sun slipped under the awning and soon had our table broiling (the butter even melted in the dishes). We asked for another table but by then the resto was completely full (!).

    I began with an excellent fresh corn soup, cool and silky, drizzled with truffled olive oil and garnished with basil chiffonade: late summer in a bowl. Then came a plate of grilled mahi-mahi on grilled zucchini and yellow peppers: simple and tasty though the fish was dry, slightly overdone. For dessert, the table shared a couple of plates of "mignardises", elegant little pastries and chocolates, all homemade. The espresso allongé was first rate.

    As this was a business lunch, we didn't do the "give me your fork, you've got to try this" number that's a regular feature of meals with friends and family (well, *my* friends and family), so I can't pass judgement on the starter of rillettes on toast or the veal and lamb dishes that most of the others ordered. They looked nice, though the lamb was more well-done than I would have expected and one person sent her noix de veau back because it wasn't warm enough. Actually, my fish wasn't especially hot, though I didn't count that a disadvantage on such a warm day.

    Service was professional: attentive and discrete. I didn't see the wine list but the young syrah (from the stable of Yves Cuilleron, better known for his Condrieu) we drank was a lovely, food-friendly red, enhanced by being slightly chilled. I've never seen it at the SAQ or on another restaurant's list.

    I didn't post a report because I don't think it's fair to judge a restaurant on the basis of a single lunch: the head chef is not always on duty at noon, lots of plates have to be turned out in a very short time and the kitchen has less money to work with than at dinner. I expect the overcooked fish and underheated veal were symptoms of that (as I said, the place was packed). But I like the overall philosophy--high-quality, seasonal ingredients cooked so they taste of themselves (a philosophy it shares with Le Pied du Cochon, though with very different results)--and I hope to go back for dinner soon.

    PS Agree about the clientele, though that didn't bother me (of course, I qualify as a boomer). Indeed, I'll gladly take the subdued murmur of the Outremont business set over the din of trendoid places on, say, the St. Lawrence strip. We were a table of eight and could talk to anyone in our party without having to yell; that's just the way it should be when you're paying a premium for fine food and wine.

    PPS Pintade = guinea hen. Bavette = flank steak.

    1 Reply
    1. re: carswell

      I have to second the comments on the ambience of lemeac. far more subdued, mature crowd. Based on dinner. Food was above average, service was slightly above average, deserts were above average. would return

    2. We went last Thursday evening to take advantage of the 22H/22$ menu. I was quite surprised how busy it was, considering we arrived after 11:00 p.m.

      I greatly enjoyed the crusty chevre chaud appetizer and the deliciously dense chocolate mousse, served with three fluffy little chocolate madeleines. My main course of tartare de boeuf was standard - maybe a bit too mustardy - but the pommes allumettes were quite good.

      The staff was quite nice, and our server recommended two nice bottles of wine that please everyone at our table.

      I only have two complaints. One was that they ran out of bread. The other is that one of our dining companions was served a calamari appetizer with a piece of metal wire in it - but they replaced his plate immediately and his meal was fully comped.

      Next time I'd like to try the tarte tatin a deux. If anyone has reviews of that dessert in particular, I'd be happy to read them.

      1. I always love going to Lemeac,especially when you can sit on their terrasse and enjoy a tartar and frites.They are good,my kind of restaurant.I am not saying they are the best,but they are good in the sence that it is a restaurant that is working.
        I do however have one complaint and I do sure hope they fix it up.

        Service,it is slow-not because of the food-because of the staff.Either they do not have good leadership or they hire non experienced persons,but every time I go I loose patience with getting started or finishing.Is this something that others have experienced?Is there a subtle way of telling a restaurant how to wake up.Maybe it is only co-incendental with me?I would like to know if others have had similar experiences?

        1 Reply
        1. re: stingray

          It,s funny the remarks about the baby bommers/Outremont crowd. I've heard many times former premier Lucien Bouchard & Jacques Parizeau mention Lemeac as their favorite restaurant.

        2. about the age thing, I was at Lemeac's 5th anniversary party last week and I think that most people who were there were at least 50+, but as the evening went along, a lot more younger people, like me,in their 30's and sometimes younger.

          anyway, I never felt out of place at Lemeac, either sitting at the bar or in the dining room.

          1. Boomers are feeding restaurants, no surprise there, name me a restaurant in that price range (before 22h) who dont need grey haired costumer to full the place!?
            After 22h the place look like pre-clubbing
            There's a neverending buzz around this place, the success talks for it self.(did you ever saw the late-night line-up?)
            Never had problems with the service, and some members of the team are hugely experienced, saw them for years in Montreal...