1059 Rue Gilford (Christophe Colombe and Gilford)
Montréal, QC H2J 1P7
What kinds of food do you think about when you think of Switzerland?
I personally think about chocolate, Gruyère cheese (so good in everything!) and rösti. Then my mind wanders and I start thinking about yodeling, mountains, and The Sound of Music, all which has nothing to do with Swiss cuisine but, yeah, that is what happens when I think about Switzerland.
I never had much of an interest in Switzerland, including their cuisine, but my boyfriend and I have walked by the restaurant, La Raclette, several times in the Plateau neighbourhood here in Montréal. Finally, we had an occasion to celebrate with the parents and we thought an apportez votre vin (“bring your own wine”) restaurant in the neighbourhood would be most suitable. But we wanted the parents to like it too. Hence, we made reservations at the Swiss and European cuisine restaurant.
We looked up the menu online, which unfortunately is only available in French on their website. But not to worry, I will explain how the menu system works. You can order two types of set meals (table d’hôte) which come at a fixed price, and you can have your choice of soup, main course (plat principal) and other elements depending on the table d’hôte you choose. For the Petit Table, you have one choice of soup (soup of the day or gazpacho), one choice of main course (currently there are nine choices), and one choice of tea or coffee. The price of the Petit Table ranges from $27 to $30, depending on the main course of choice. For the Grand Table, you have a choice of appetizer (entrée), soup (soup of the day or gazpacho), one choice of main course (same as in Petit Table), dessert, and tea or coffee. The prices for Grand Table ranges from $39 to $42.
The main course selections include raclette and smoked meat for two, haddock filet with scallops, swiss cheese fondue for two, marinate beef flank, and duck confit. The appetizers (entrées) can also be added to your table d’hôte for $9.50, as well as sides such as rösti and an assortment of smoked meats (charcuteries) for $3 to $9.75. Dessert items such as chocolate mousse, sorbet of the day, and something intriguing called “vermicelli chestnuts”, can also be added to any meal choice for $6.50.
Raclette, in case you are not familiar, is a Swiss dish comprised of heating raclette cheese (though other, non-traditional cheese choices can be used), then scraping off the melted cheese onto the diner’s plate to be eating along with potatoes, pickled onions and cucumbers, and dried meat.
Fondue, on the other hand, relies on melting cheese in a communal pot, and using long-stemmed forks pierced with cheese or potatoes into the cheese. We did not order the raclette dish at the restaurant, but two of us shared the Swiss cheese fondue main course for two people, which was served with squared bread pieces, boiled potatoes, and gherkins. A small side of smoked meat and steamed vegetables was also served to each person participating in the commune.
Conversely, the men at the table ordered the meaty dishes — one order of the beef flank and veal for the other. We were served with copiously amounts of bread (which was delicious as expected at a Montréal restaurant), and finished with the dessert choice of the “floating island”, a custard and caramel sugar dome that was the perfect ending to the meal.
As the restaurant is “bring your own wine”, the credit card damage was not as large as I had expected given the large servings for the three-course meal (everyone had the Petit Table). Before tip, it came up to about $40 per person, which is quite a steal for such a classy looking restaurant with a Parisian bistro feel (a bit of an anomaly in the hip Plateau neighbourhood). Not to mention that the food was excellent; each of us raved about our respective dishes. There is a reason La Raclette has been operating since 1985.
Bonus: The restaurant hosts a beautiful covered patio at the front for the warmer season. We cannot wait to come back for the summer months.
La Raclette will now be serving Saturday and Sunday brunch (including holidays) starting Saturday May 11th!
Stay tuned for reviews.