Log Cabin Chronicles

greg duncan

The Gallivanting Gourmand

Fan the Flames at La Girouette


Things are heating up at a local eatery in Dorval, Quebec.

A recent visit to La Girouette proved that classic French cuisine can be scrumptious and entertaining at the same time.

I witnessed first hand how a simple French meal can be turned to magic by a finishing at the hands of an experienced maitre.

As is often the case, French culinary delights comprise a good dose of cream, butter and demi-glace. Add a splash of good brandy and you have the makings of a flambé.

On this particular visit I could not resist the obvious talents of our waiter as I watched him set dish after dish alight before serving up a variety of main courses.

The menu is simple and classic with a full range of main courses complimented by the requisite potages, salads and entrees. The dessert menu does not stray far from this concept of simplicity and it is easy to pair your selections with good quality affordable wines.

My partner and I enjoyed a simple fusion of olives, garlic and tomato with good oil atop small crusts while perusing the menu.

This offering was so good that we insisted that the server leave it on the table to enjoy with our fresh baguette later.

Our starter was an entrée of house pâté with an onion confit and it did not disappoint. A consommé garnished with small slivers of vegetables was perfectly clear, as it should be.

My partner's onion soup gratinée was enhanced by a dash of Porto. She gave it two spoons up. We followed with salads tossed in walnut oil and currant vinegar. Nice endive and radicchio contrasted with the slightly sweet vinaigrette.

The chef had dressed each plate with a reduction of balsamic for presentation and this interim dish allowed us to freshen our palates for the anticipated main course.

A discussion with our friendly waiter saw him recommending veal kidneys a la moutarde de meaux, which he promised was his specialty. His claim that this signature dish is popular with the female species rang true as my partner lapped up the kidneys in a rich earthy sauce that had sprung to life after a final flaming tableside.

I chose a more traditional steak with a Madagascar green peppercorn sauce that benefited from the same fiery treatment. A rich reduction of the aforementioned cream and butter, demi-glace, shallots and brandy allowed me to dredge my steak at each slice.

A mandolin had been used to slice squash and potato razor thin as accompaniments on each plate. The veggies were crunchy and delightful and both dishes proved that the timing between chef and waiter is impeccable here.

It is no easy feat to prepare a steak to just the right level before handing off to the front of house for final preparation prior to delivery. This choreography showed that experience in the kitchen and on the floor is substantial.

Dessert was a masterpiece.

If you dine here I recommend the Crepes Suzettes, which are prepared with skill and passion. Served for two, this classic dessert will more than satisfy sweet cravings.

Fresh orange juice coupled with Grand Marnier, caramelized butter and sugar top wonderful folded crepes. A flambé does the rest. Our waiter provided us each with a large spoon so we could enjoy the buttery syrup.

This dish is the perfect pair with good coffee so we indulged and reflected on the experience.

Prices are very good here for both the food and wine, particularly compared to other classic French eateries. A further visit will allow me to sample the confit de canard and the Chef promises it will melt in my mouth.

I believe him.

Reservations can be made at 514-631-6444.

La Girouette is located in Dorval Village at 470 Bord du Lac.

Tell them the Log Cabin Chronicles sent you.

Greg Duncan is the Executive Director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association and Lives in Notre-Dame-De-L'lle-Perrot, near Montreal. He is an avid cook and a lover of all things culinary.

Home | Stories | Columns

Copyright © 2001 Greg Duncan/Log Cabin Chronicles/11.01