One of the first things that I usually do when I wake up every morning is routinely check my email. Most of the time I receive offers on restaurants that I’ve either never heard of, or offers that I’ll often find uninteresting, but this past weekend I woke up to an unbelievable surprise; Living Social had a 3 course dinner for two at Le Mas Des Oliviers for 45 dollars. I’ve heard of this famous restaurant for a long time. My girlfriend’s aunt and uncle have been going there for years and always say it’s their favorite restaurant, an opinion I’ve heard from several other people as well. Located on Bishop in downtown Montreal, Le Mas Des Oliviers is known for their impressive take on Southern France cuisine, and they’ve also been serving Montreal steadily for the past 40 years. After noticing several hundred vouchers already been sold, I immediately purchased my own and made a reservation for the following evening.
The restaurant could easily fit in along the cote d’azur; it’s got a charming, quaint, homely look to it, in what seems to be the semi-basement section of an old complex. In the vestibule I noticed a picture of the owner and Tony Curtis, one of my favorite actors who in the photo, looked like he just had a great meal. This restaurant has seen its fair share of important people, from big name politicians to writers like Mordechai Richler who apparently was a regular and had his own table.
I was immediately warmed by the wonderful ambience. There were clean white walls, pretty paintings, and all of the waiters were dressed in formal attire. We were seated close by the front and given the menu for the special that we purchased.
There was no amuse bouche, instead, a sectional plate with some pickled olives, strips of carrots, and balls of radish.
Having never tried escargots, I was a little reluctant with ordering them as my appetizer. I didn’t know much about eating snails, and it wasn’t something I ever thought about ordering until now. When I told this to my waiter, he strongly recommended that I give it a try. I knew that escargot is one of the most common appetizers in France and was confident that the dish would be fairly represented. I have to say that it was so unbelievable, to the point that it made me disappointed for overlooking this choice on many menus I’ve held in my hands throughout my life, especially the ones in France. The texture was just incredible, not slimy nor rubbery, but slightly chewy. It was the sauce that really shined in this dish, a delightful creamy vegetable curry that wasn’t overpowering, but accented just enough to compliment the escargot’s taste to the point of perfection.
The second choice was a potato leek soup that my girlfriend ordered. As the dish was set down in front of her I was a tad disappointed that there was no cream involved, but when I tasted it, it became apparent that it didn’t need any cream as the soup was quite flavorful without it. The soup’s simplicity is what attracted me; there was nothing fancy about it, yet the taste continued to entice me after each bite. With a dash of pepper, it was quite good.
Then came Le Bar Du Chili, or as you probably are more apt to call it, Chilean sea bass. This one was as good as it gets, honestly. The perfectly cooked fish was topped with some breadcrumbs that roasted quite nicely, giving it that beautiful, slightly crispy texture to each bite, from an incredibly generous portion. There was a great amount of a creamy Vermouth sauce surrounding the plate that married quite well to the flavors of the sea bass, as well as the mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables underneath. This was an absolutely flawless dish.
Equally as impressive was the duo of beef: A generous piece of filet mignon cooked medium (exactly how my girlfriend ordered it), and a hefty amount of braised short rib. The filet mignon was delicately covered in a hearty peppercorn sauce, promoting nice contrasting flavors that somehow did not overwhelm the taste of the beef. Then there’s the short-rib, which was a whole other story. Meltingly tender, the beef was covered in one of the most delicious sauces I’ve ever had to accompany short ribs; it was made from a reduction of port, a Portuguese fortified wine traditionally served as a dessert wine. The reduction was done right, as the sauce amplified the taste of the short rib to the point where every bite put me in a state of bliss.
For dessert we both opted for the profiterole, a dish involving ice cream in a choux pastry, sitting in an abundance of a thick dark chocolate sauce. It was a great finale that really tied the meal together, offering something incredibly sweet to send down a gorgeous dinner.
I really like the regular menu at Le Mas Des Oliviers and find that although it isn’t cheap, it’s reasonably priced, especially for their superb quality of food. I am proud to say that this was one of the best meals that I’ve had in Montreal, and I still can’t believe the deal on Living Social that I obtained, which at first, seemed to good to be true, but it most definitely wasn’t.
Le Mas Des Oliviers:
1216 Bishop Street, Montreal, QC, Canada, H3G 2E2 T:(514) 861-6733
JarredReviews is my personal weblog. The opinions and experiences represent my own. If you read that I didn’t particularly enjoy a meal or restaurant, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try it and see for yourself. Restaurants can have an off day, people make mistakes, we’re all human. My writing is mainly so that you can find out about great restaurants that you may have not heard about, and also to give you an idea of what I enjoyed that you can experience for yourself. Food reviewing is very subjective and you must take this into account and use your discretion when reading any review; If I have had a bad experience somewhere, do not let that stop you to try the restaurant for yourself.