Then it was off to our evening engagement at Restaurant Tanière³. Charles already documented his dinner experience here, so I will try not to be too redundant. The Tanière family of restaurants all focus on local Quebec ingredients, some of which are foraged.
We arrived at 7:00 PM to the unlabelled door on Rue Don-de-dieu, where we entered the secret code so we could “enter the vault”. They seated us in a dark corner of what we thought was the main dining room.
They started us with a non-alcoholic cocktail of dulse, rose, and cow parsnip seeds - salty and also sweet and floral, and a gorgeous dark rosy red colour. Although a bit odd on its own, it went well with the sea-flavoured bouchées that started us off:
(Left) Tartelette with local shrimp and miso mayonnaise - light, with sweet tender shrimp.
Kombu in pot with fresh cream, whelks and lobster powder - for spreading on kombu wild rice chips (far above right), with a cute wooden spoon. Lots of fresh sea flavours.
For pairings we chose the more pricey The Collection (which they said could be ½ to ¾ of a bottle) and a non-alcoholic pairing for variety.
Our first drinks were fresh apple drinks in a shot glass inside a bowl. One shot glass had gin Menaud, Entre Pierre at Terre apple vermouth, verjus, apple juice and the other shot glass had dealcoholized whiskey. You drink the shot glass first and set it aside, and then drink from the bowl which had smoked homemade bitters (rose, sweet clover, glasswort, Piger Henricus reduction) and fake sand (powder of parsnip, sea parsley seed, maple sugar). An elaborate sensory experience all-around.
These drinks went with the next bouchées:
(Right) Cow parsnip with black-apple sauce on mussels (grilled on the hibachi) on a stick - the caramelized apple flavour went well with the mussel.
(Left) Mugwort (Artemisia) gel with milk and oyster emulsions on smoked herring bone and edible plastic on top (to remind us of the problems in the ocean) - odd sounding, but quite delicious.
Wild rose gel, pickled petals, rabbit rack tempura on a beautiful platter of rose petals - tender juicy rabbit perfumed with rose.
Sweetgrass sauce mornay inside a gnocchi fritto with tuna prosciutto on top - lots of umami.
At this point we were moved from the first room to a semi-circular counter, with a view of the cold prep area and a partial view into the kitchen:
Our next drinks were both delightful:
Camy Québec Reserve 2021, St-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Vallée du Richelieu Chardonnay - aged in neutral oak - green apple, tart and crisp.
‘Magic foam’ of chickpeas, sumac on top, prickly ash pepper, white cranberry juice.
These went with the first of the slightly larger dishes:
“Season Spring” Snow Crab - sweet crab segment with bisque emulsion, salad with prickly ash pepper (tastes of orange rind), beautiful fern-shaped radishes, potato roll with crab salad inside. A highlight among highlights.
- Mélilot, Foin d’odeur, cream soda from a seltzer maker - using sweetgrass and white sweet clover to mimic vanilla, infused into dealcoholized white wine - quite incredible, despite kind of a weird smell - possibly the favourite non- alcoholic drink.
- Champagne Pertois-Moriset, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Les Quatre Terroirs Grand Cru, NM; blanc de blancs (chardonnay) - brioche, bright acidity.
They then gave us a key to the little drawer beside us where there was a spoon and a little note:
Our drinks paired with:
“Building Noble” Wild Caviar from Lac St Pierre - from sustainable yellow sturgeon, only 11 licences available. This came over slightly butter poached scallop slices, Raphaëlle potato cubes from Isle of Orléans, with roasted scallop powder and beurre blanc, and chips that were a riff on rice chips but made with potato water - delicate and fabulous.
Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Bianco 2021, Calderara Sottana, Randazzo, Sicile - carricante - citrus, thyme salty, and a bit of oak giving it some nuttiness.
Cucumber juice, and Grove Seedlip, confit Montréal-grown preserved lemon, with a lemon piece on a nasturtium leaf, and a cucumber slice - many subtle and refreshing elements.
Brined quail breast slice from Isle d’Orléans with preserved lemons from Laval, reduction of wild celery, on warm brioche bread, and hibachi-grilled cucumber pearls, Thai basil and breadcrumbs - multiple flavours and textures complementing the juicy, supple meat.
Alongside the quail came:
Hibachi-grilled Guinea fowl leg, with cucumber powder and burnt onion - like a fancy bar snack.
Salcheto Riserva Nobile di Montepulciano, (Sangiovese) 2016 - spiced, leather, no new oak, smooth, licorice, warm black cherries.
Sauge, courge, érable: sage-infused clarified squash juice with pickled squash roll-up and pea shoot; tiki inspired, over ice in a tiny barrel - a little odd on its own, but it went well with:
“Tradition Three Sisters” - confit butternut squash (with pea shoots over) grilled on the hibachi, green beans grilled raw on hibachi with sage oil and tamari, over braised venison with marvellous consommé poured around, and some burnt sage infused butter from a butter candle
that they poured over. This was accompanied by:
Corn, white wine and cream “butter” with freeze-dried corn on top, with lovely homemade sourdough with corn flour.
- Hermitage Domaine du Colombier, 2020, Rhône valley - all Syrah - blueberries, blackberries, peppery, smoky bacon.
- House dealcoholized red wine ‘par Simon Faucher’ - they add tannins, shiitake mushroom brine, lavender, blackberries and blueberries - a very complex juice.
"Artisan Seaweed Fed Lamb” from small farm in Gaspésie - two pieces - loin and a square of flank and shank together, with pickled shiitake and tuile, black apple gelée and spirals, lamb jus - rich, lamb-y, cut nicely by the pickle and sweet apple.
- Lactofermented plum juice with homemade fernet, slightly smoked with rim of powdered hazelnuts.
- San Rustico Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2015: dried figs, chocolate, plum - gorgeous.
“Classic Pithivier” Duck - breast in centre, with creamy mushroom; ground duck thigh on the outside, pate crust, lined by collard greens on the inside - more like a beef Wellington than pithivier and jus was unfortunately too salty - really the only misstep of the night. This came with:
Bouquet of bibb lettuce with pickled king oyster mushrooms, plum paste, and chives holding the bundle together; and two dipping sauces - black walnut emulsion with dollop of lactofermented plum in the middle.
Cidre de glace, St-Henri, Québec (Carvi) - couldn’t pick up the caraway, but still lovely.
Pears and physalis juice, with little tin of confit physalis (preserved but not salted or pickled) - tasting strongly of caraway.
These came with the “cheese course”:
Thin slivers of Clos des Roches (cow, aged for 36 months), alternating with parsnip chips (sort of like the leaves around the physalis berry). Creamy cheese in the centre with beautiful physalis coating and caraway flavour (caraway from Gaspésie).
They then moved us to our final room for desserts:
For drinks they served us “aperitifs at the end”:
- Torelli Chinatum Vino Aromatizzata alla china - Piemonte aperitif with barks roots herbs, dulcetto d’alba base of red wine, and licorice, in a cute little brandy glass.
- No Amaroux aperitif - gentian root is the base and they infused their own herbs, rhubarb etc but also Seedlip spice 94, Lyre’s American malt, bitter caramel.
First dessert was a riff on agnolotto:
Bitter caramel ‘pasta’ stuffed with Jerusalem artichoke and foam of milk, with essence of smoked cherry tuile (almond flavour), over malted barley crumble with marinated cherries and pumpkin seeds. The server grated Jerusalem artichoke ice cream over as a reference to grating truffle over pasta. Good, though a bit more appealing to the eye than the palate.
Tea - wild rose, goldenrod, raspberry, raspberry leaves (from Bourdelais farm) and cow-parsnip.
Mignardises in a stack of lovely boxes:
First on top:
Tartelette with barley pudding (and grains) in sweet clover milk and dulce de leche - and paw-paw confit on top.
Then a scone with sea buckthorn marmalade, prickly ash pepper mascarpone and homemade agar tiny pearls made with flowers (marigold petal caviar).
Then a “smoked taco” presented on unpopped popcorn - pepper ice cream and pepper jelly and homemade ‘fake chocolate’ - black apple and black beets, prickly ash pepper, candy cap mushroom (like maple), and hazelnuts - interesting and quite spicy.
And finally a “Gold Nugget” gummy with pineapple weed - remarkable, so herbal and just like the weed smells.
“Icy Lollipop” with verjus and creamy turmeric - like lemon cream with Italian meringue.
Then came a wax sealed booklet detailing all the food and beverages:
Spruce candy came with the bill:
All in all a fabulous and wondrous experience. As Charles mentioned, this is definitely worthy of a Michelin star and getting closer to two. It certainly was as inventive, intricate, elaborate, and delicious as others in the two-star ballpark. The focus on boreale cuisine and Quebec-specific ingredients makes it very much grounded in its location and not really comparable to other fine dining elsewhere. Service was generally impeccable (though I wish they would stop refolding napkins when you leave your seat for a minute). We get why Estufarian says this is favourite restaurant in Canada.