… on September 11, 2010
With Amin back in Ottawa that weekend, we had to continue our fine-dining-tasting-adventure of course!
After an extremely impressive first experience at play FOOD & WINE, and a pleasant lunch sometime later at SOCIAL, we decided to try out Le Cordon Bleu Bistro @ Signatures.
Our reservation was for 8:00pm and there were 4 of us that night, including Vinh and Elvin. I would say we dressed casual elegant, although I didn’t really know what to expect.
The manor was grand and beautiful looking on the outside, comfortable and cozy indoors. Dinner was well underway by the time we went in with a number of groups, including a private birthday gathering.
I think my expectations were a bit too high. Although I was not really disappointed in anything, I was not extremely impressed upon leaving either.
We were kind of left standing at the door upon arrival even though a few staff walked past us. I’m a believer in team work, even if it is not your responsibility to greet and show guests to their seat. You should still say something along the lines of, “Hello, someone will be with you in a minute!” This is true for me of any restaurant.
Unknown to me, our reservation was listed under my last instead of first name. So when I said “Sandra”, no reservation was found. Maybe the hostess was new, but it didn’t occur to her to ask me for my last name until I offered it. I did, however, like how one of the waitresses said, “Sorry, we’re setting up your table now,” while it was being sorted out. A fine attempt at saving the situation. Haha.
We were shown to our table and menus were handed out. We spent some time picking out our dishes only to be told we were given the wrong menus. Not a problem – we kind of noticed we got weird menus but disregarded it in the first place! We placed our orders and our dishes soon arrived.
Amin – Beef tartare, potato waffle, apple mustard vinaigrette. Curiosity got the best of Amin when he ordered this raw beef dish. Needless to say, he definitely didn’t regret it. It was delicious and I have to agree… never thought raw meat could be so tasty!
Elvin – Sautéed snails in a garlic butter, diced vegetables in a bread basket. Elvin seemed to be pretty satisfied with this dish. Although the garlic seasoning was delicious, I was reminded of why I don’t particularly like mollusks – it’s pretty hard to get rid of all the sand! Having grit between my teeth definitely took away some of the deliciousness for me. 😦
Vinh and I – Heirloom tomato salad, compressed cucumber and watermelon, citrus-infused goat’s cheese. We were pretty much heartbroken at the size of this dish (compared to Amin and Elvin), hahaha! Although the portion was tiny, I really enjoyed the combination of flavours. The goat’s cheese was made into a dressing, could definitely taste the lime – very good. There was also a dark brown gooey sauce (Vinh somehow thought was chocolate syrup) that tasted a lot like tamarind, it was an interesting added taste. I’ve never heard of food being “compressed” before, unless it’s been dropped and bruised, to be honest. However, the cucumbers and melon, although indeed compressed, were extremely crisp. Neat, because I’ve never seen that before.
Amin – Duck breast with Meyer lemon compote dusted with pistachio, roasted Ontario peach and chanterelle mushroom, duck leg pastilla. Although he found it slightly dry, a very good dish for his first time having duck!
Vinh – Seared halibut cheeks, eggplant cream, cashew nuts, green shallots and feta cheese, ‘Grenobloise’ garnish. Looked delicious and he agreed!
Elvin and I – Slowly-cooked lamb loin roasted pepper ‘piperade’ style with thyme and olive oil chickpea crêpe and stuffed zucchini flowers. Elvin really liked this selection. I was a bit disappointed because the lamb was pretty bland (even with the accompanying sauces) and probably a bit overcooked. The accompanying vegetables were delicious though and the tiny chick pea crepe made me laugh inside. I have no idea what was stuffed in the zucchini flower (reminded me a lot of pumpkin flowers) but it was tasty!
Amin – Chocolate lava cake, creamy milk chocolate and coconut ice cream. In celebration of having completed his MCAT prior that day, his sister arranged this surprise dessert for Amin, made by her friend who is currently working there as a pastry chef. He really, really liked the coconut icecream. I would have to agree with him that it was pretty delicious, the real coconut flakes and accompanying carmelized sugar clinched it.
Vinh – Blueberries and maple syrup crème brulée served with its tuile. Again, no complaints heard and he seemed to really enjoy it.
Elvin, Amin, and I – Chocolate profiteroles served with homemade ice cream. I loved the chocolate and loved the homemade ice cream, but was not a fan of the actual profiteroles. Although it was my first time having them, so I have no idea what they are supposed to taste like… they were a bit too hard and dry for my tastes. The ice cream, however, is a totally different story. 3 profiteroles, each with a different filling – strawberry, vanilla and mint chocolate. Both the vanilla and strawberry tasted awesome for their richness in flavour but the mint chocolate was a wow factor for me. Instead of the mint flavour we’re so accustomed to in toothpaste, gum, (other) mint chocolate chip ice creams, etc. I could actually taste the spearmint leaves’ flavour in this icecream. This was what real mint is supposed to taste like – exactly the same as the mint growing in our garden. The only word I can use to describe that ice cream – fresh.
Our waiter was great, the service was pretty good. I do wish I drank alcohol though. I guess if that were the case, I would be saying something similar to what Elvin said that night, “Thank you for showing me alcohol that costs 3 digits per glass!” LOL. I wish I drank because I think Le Cordon Bleu really knows their wines and of all places to enjoy a wine pairing – this place would be it. The table next to us went through at least 3 different kinds of wine, and each time served in its appropriate glass for maximum flavour and aroma. I noticed a bottle of red wine was even decanted before serving. There is so much about wine (and cheese) I wish to learn more of!
Our meals came to around $60 I think, which wasn’t too bad for the experience. Thank you again guys for the treat! ❤
Overall, I really enjoyed the meal and the experience at Le Cordon Bleu Bistro @ Signatures. I think the company I had really played a role in that. 🙂 Would I come here again? Probably not. I would most likely choose to try a different restaurant.
[Sorry, no pictures!]