Monday, November 17, 2008
Le Pégase, 1831 Gilford, Montreal
One of the things I love most about Montreal, is the abundance of byob bistros. While the majority of these restaurants aren’t breaking new culinary ground, they are providing good quality French food at very affordable prices. There is nothing I like better than settling down for an evening in one of Montreal’s small French bistros, sipping a glass of wine that I lovingly chose for myself.
One of such restaurants is the Plateau’s Le Pégase. Located on the main floor of a residential duplex, Le Pégase spreads itself over two small rooms. While some may view this lack of space as cramped, I prefer to think of it as cozy; likewise, while some may find the noise irritating, I find it ambient… most of the time. It should be noted that the restaurant can get very loud – often, the combination of a small space, many diners and unfettered wine access can make for a very raucous evening. This is all fine and dandy when you are that group, but a mite annoying if you are not.
My most recent visit took place on a blustery October evening. As we unpacked our bottles of wine, we were met with baskets of warm baguette, accompanied by a mushroom mousse. Like many bistros, Le Pégase features a ‘table d’hôte,’ which includes a soup or salad, main course and coffee or tea. The ‘menu gourmet’ features a soup or salad, choice of entrée, main course, dessert and coffee or tea. On this particular visit, I chose the ‘menu gourmet’ and started with a very passable house salad, followed by the escargots with caramelized apples and blue cheese. Being only a recent admirer of the snail, I am rather picky when it comes to preparation. These were flavourful, but were a little gritty. The apples were a nice touch and played off the salty blue cheese, but the presentation could have been a bit more inspired. As for the main courses, I chose the ‘cerf de boileau’ and was presented with an enormous piece of deer with elderberry sauce, which had a strong tea flavour – most delicioius. The meat was perfectly prepared and had a very toothsome flavour. The deer came with the requisite serving of scalloped potatoes, something like a squash mousse and a piece of roasted turnip – all of which were good. The other main courses tasted equally as delicious: the ostrich was tender and full of flavour, as was the lamb and duck breast. The only mild complaint was that the salmon was a little salty. This was rectified by the fact that my dining companion’s sister despises raw tomatoes and removed the accompanying “sauce vierge” which may have contained much of the saltiness. As per usual, the desserts hit a high note. I opted for the profiteroles, which were the perfect accompaniment to my espresso.
All in all, our meals met with positive reviews. As we gathered our coats and packed up our extra bottles of wine, I noticed that we were the last table left in the restaurant and I can safely say that it was the hour, not our rowdiness, that had cleared the restaurant… at least this time.
Table d'hote (soup/salad, main, tea/coffee):$22-30