Ô Chalet – Seasonal Cuisine
By Annick Gagnon
I had already been to this restaurant several years ago and I really liked it. Unfortunately, Ô Chalet was destroyed by a devastating fire in April of 2011 and I really thought that was the end for them.
To my surprise and the joy of their regular customers, they have renovated, changed ownership and reopened under the same name. I could not wait to find out if the place had kept the same homey feel. The much appreciated rustic chic decor has not changed one bit and the menu still offers French-inspired comfort cuisine.
As soon as we open the door, it feels like we just entered a typical Quebec chalet: mismatched chairs and lighting, wood stove, knotty pine wall with branch design, plaid couches … all with a beautiful distinguished touch. The private terrace is enclosed by wooden walls with pretty “windows” overlooking Plessis street. Unfortunately, it’s a cold rainy evening so we decide to sit indoors.
The wine list offers a good variety of affordable choices. They also have several sparkling wines, champagne, bottled and draft beers and a well stocked bar.
Sheltered from the chilly weather, we enjoy a nice glass of white wine and we can’t help ourselves: we go through the whole piece of soft and toasty bread. As we’re chatting away, we notice our napkins are folded in the shape of mini-tuxedos; so chic!
For starters, we share the shredded duck salad and onion tart. Served on a bed of mixed greens, the duck confit is perfectly cooked; the meat is tender and full of flavour. The tart is made with puff pastry, a hefty piece of slightly melted Brie cheese and a mix of caramelized onions and apples. It is a beautiful blend of sweet and salty, delicate and spicy.
The main dishes are all so tempting! We hesitate between the guinea fowl breast on gratin dauphinois, pulled pork risotto, maple flank steak… I finally opt for Ô Chalet salmon tartare, served with fries and salad on the side. Tartare mixed with cashews is a first for me and I must say the interesting texture and the light seasoning result in a winning combination. The salad’s ingredients are fresh and the fries are golden and delicious. My friend, who ordered the fish of the day, enjoyed a Tilapia fillet, cooked flawlessly and served with basmati rice, broco cauliflowers and mini roasted red peppers. The fish is light, delicate and savoury.
To satisfy our craving for something sweet, the waiter suggests we try their homemade creme brulee. Since it’s both our favorite, we indulge in the thick and creamy vanilla flavored dessert with a thick burnt sugar crust. Yummy! I love that the portion is big enough to share and that they respected the classic recipe: why mess with something so delectable?
For a chic dining in a rustic ambiance, you can’t go wrong at Ô Chalet.
Restaurant Ô Chalet
1393, boulevard René-Lévesque Est, Montreal