Saint-Valentin at Le Bifthèque

Feb 14, 2009

We decided to eat out tonight, and didn’t think about the fact that this was the eve of Valentine’s Day.

 And, marketing obliged, Le Bifthèque had prepared a lovely menu for those who wanted to celebrate love.  Their regular menu was available, except for the appetizers, but the three course special was attractive enought at $25 that we decided to go for it. 

 In Gatineau, Le Bifthèque (which I think should be named La Bifthèque – as La Bibliothèque, La Discothèque, La Vidéothèque – but I digress) is located in the  Ramada Plaza – Le Manoir du Casino, just accross the Casino du Lac-Leamy.   

And tonight, Le Bifthèque was hosting Anne-Marie and Yvon Farmer  for the first of their two Valentine’s Day shows.  Such luck!

For some reason, the menu was incomprehensible to many. I even offered my services when the couple beside us asked for the assistance of a translator. 

“French is on the other side”, I said helpfully. “I know,” she replied. “But I still don’t understand what it means!”

You be the judge.

Melissa started with the Embrace of young leaves in their ribbon with a raspberry emulsion.

The greens were fresh, the emulsion seemed also fresh, and wasn’t too sweet or tart.


I went for the Lovely crawl fish bisque with crocus pistils.

This was indeed lovely.  Very smooth and creamy – thanks to the butter topping added as a final touch.  Too often, crawl fish dishes are made to taste like seafood, but actually, you should be looking for a very “inland” taste.

As a main, we could have gone for the Tender poultry with a leek melt and cepes cream, served with tarragon butter, garden jewels and beet and old cheddar risotto.  Or an Atlantic “pavé” hugged by it’s saint-Jacques and creamy sortilege sauce, served with tarragon butter, garden jewels and tomato saffron rice.   But we both decided to go for their Caged prairie heart, “Grand Veneur” sauce, served with tarragon butter garden jewels and accompanied by a potato “pavé” with garlic flower.


The meat was a very nice cut, quite tender and cooked medium-rare, as requested.  The “cage” was made of a salty paste, and no doubt they throw this in the oven to finish.  It was a little too mushy, but probably would have been perfect if we had ordered our meat well done.  Superfluous.  The sauce “Grand Veneur” was fine, but not the best I ever had.  Usually, you bind a pepper sauce with some game blood, and you finish by adding cream and black or red currant jelly.  I think they used beef blood here, as the sauce wasn’t very gamey. If anything, they didn’t use any blood at all.  The vegetables were not jewels, but they were okay.  The tarragon was present, but very subtle. The potato “pavé” was nicely done, crusty on the outside with goey-ish potato goodness on the inside.
For dessert, their Lovely Declination:  Chocolate Truffle with Grand Marnier and Red Currant Jelly, Crème Brûlée with Litchi and Maple Sap, Apple Tatin on it’s “Crème Anglaise.”


The Truffle was fine, the Apple Tatin was passable (the Crème Anglaise wasn’t rich enough), but the Crème Brûlée was not cooked enough.  The custard hadn’t set, so it was very runny and therefore, not a custard.  It is likely because of the container, a shot glass which was tall and thin, as opposed to wide and shallow.  You could taste the Litchi and the Maple, if it hadn’t been presented as a crème brûlée, it would have been a passable dessert. 
All in all, a not a bad dinner.  It was fairly cheap at 25$ each for the meal, chased down with a decent Bordeaux, a Franc Caillou 2005 and fortunetaly enough, Yvon and Anne-Marie didn’t perform very long once we showed up.



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