We had dinner at Le Baccara. It might seem a little unusual to have dinner in a casino that is about 10 minutes away from downtown Ottawa but I couldn’t help but be curious how is it like to dine there.
It is a five-star French restaurant where service is first class, from the choice of complimentary spring or sparkling water to the fresh linen napkin waiting every time you return to your table. We had a table by the window with a lovely view and see kayakers paddling around.
We started off with a glass of fine Pol Roger Brut Reserve Champagne. It’s quite apt since one of the waiters gave us a plate of spiced mixed nuts, Parmesan shortbread and Parmesan cheese crisps. The amuse bouche arrived; a goat cheese savarin, crumbles, pineapple salsa with a bourbon reduction. It’s an elegant savory cheesecake with a touch of pineapple sweetness and acidity.
For appetizers, the Petite-Nation bison tartare, ewe’s cheese, truffles, soft boiled egg yolk in a crispy crust and raspberry vinaigrette was a very good, creamy tartare that’s delicately seasoned but emphasized by the crumbly, slightly tart ewe’s cheese and sweet-tart vinaigrette. The egg yolk unfortunately just cooked through so it didn’t have the ideal runny yolk.
I had the seared foie gras piccata, asparagus and hazelnut vinaigrette paired with a glass of 1988 Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes ($75 supplement for 2 ounce pour). This truly decadent pairing is special to say the least. The foie gras was cooked perfectly through yet it has the silky luscious mouthfeel but rendered enough that it’s not too much on the palate. The d’Yquem is really the star of the pairing. Lush yet balanced sweet wine. The palate is medium-bodied with impressive weight, viscous as you would expect. It’s beautifully balanced with notes of apricot, honey and orange peel towards the harmonious and long finish. This wine works wonderfully with the foie, besides its classic pairing, the hazelnuts play along the nutty notes.
The veal filet mignon and lobster, spinach, polenta, Riopelle de Isle cheese, and pistachios was an elegant take on surf and turf. The filet was beautifully cooked to a medium-rare; the lobster was tender and it was plentiful on that plate and cubes of fried polenta added a lovely crunch.
Lobster, scallop, Italian caviar, curried vegetables, pappardelle with herbs, caviar cream is a decadent seafood pasta. The seafood comes first as it’s densely topped with sweet lobster and perfectly seared diver scallop topped with Italian caviar. The light cream sauce comes with chickpeas, sweet zucchini and carrots. The cheese crisp added a gentle crunch and the fresh pasta was nicely cooked.
The lamb loin and belly, pan fried and pureed green peas, roasted red bell peppers, mint chutney, ewe’s cheddar, and balsam fir jus was an incredibly delicious ode to the lamb. The lamb was tender and nicely seasoned. The vegetables added some sweetness and the mint chutney added some bright flavors. It’s really tasty.
Desserts were beautifully plated but uneven in terms of execution. The Dumpling Delight, a composed plate of passion fruit and coconut water jus, Nocciola Del Piemonte financier cake, Mojito flavored grand cru chocolate dumpling had good strong flavors but the texture of the dumpling was off as the clear dumpling skin that covers the chocolate was too thick.
My dining companion who is obsessed with strawberries had the Strawberries Forever. On the menu, the description is a full-flavored strawberry and cardamom sphere, strawberry jelly with hibiscus, grapefruit sorbet, strawberry souffletine, creamy Vanuari milk chocolate and long pepper. When we received the dessert, it looked like it lacked strawberries and when we tasted it, it confirms our thought. The dessert as a whole is mostly chocolate with a strawberry accent rather than the other way around as the menu made it seemed. It’s not a bad dessert but the name should be changed so the expectation wouldn’t be that way.
At the end of the meal, the plate of chocolates was pretty with the pulled sugar sculpture with blue flower. The chocolates were balanced and tempered nicely.
Overall, the savory food is very solidly made and luxurious. The service was very professional yet friendly. The restaurant is lovely especially when you sit by the window.
To view more photos of this visit, please view the gallery below or CLICK HERE for the photo set:[alpine-phototile-for-flickr src=”set” uid=”26389565@N00″ sid=”72157671701328688″ imgl=”flickr” shuffle=”1″ style=”gallery” row=”4″ grwidth=”1200″ grheight=”800″ size=”640″ num=”30″ shadow=”1″ border=”1″ align=”center” max=”100″]
Le Baccara at Casino du Lac-Leamy
1 Boulevard du Casino
Gatineau, QC J8Y 6W3, Canada