Again, this was a spontaneous restaurant chosen off my ever-expanding list of places to try. The original plan with my close friend Kitty was to go to a restaurant that was participating in the DineOut Festival. After much research on the website (that was not so easy to manoeuvre around in my opinion), the both of us narrowed it down to Ask for Luigi, a restaurant that had been popping up throughout my social media outlets. The site stated they did not take reservations, so the two of us trotted down East Hastings to find this little gem.
However, the opposite was true; I was honestly quite disappointed to find that there was a list of reservations and that an hour-and-a-half line up was taking place around the corner down another street. This was such a shame, as the place actually looked really cute. Hopefully I will be able to come back in the future. Fortunately, because I had met up early with Kitty, we were able to come up with a plan B.
Deciding to go for French food was not a difficult choice for us, because both of us are extremely immersed in and passionate about French culture. We both separately did the Français Langue Étrangère Explore program at the Université Laval on a bursary granted by the Government of Canada (which I strongly encourage all of you to apply because everything is basically free!), we both took French in university and most importantly, we travelled to France and Italy together in high school as part of a study tour.
Les Faux Bourgeois has definitely become one of my favourites after this visit. Upon entering the dimly-lit environment, we were greeted by a hostess that nervously informed us that the only seats available were at the bar. The two of us looked confused, and after some clarification, she chuckled thinking originally that the two of us were not of legal drinking age. Here’s to being Asian, where our ages are simply unpredictable regardless of make-up!
Sitting at the bar was slightly cramping but I actually quite enjoyed it because the position allowed the two of us to have a closer interaction with the bartender, who was also our waiter for the evening. I realized that everyone working there were either French or were fluent in the language.
For starters, Kitty ordered the Soupe À l’Oignon Gratinée ($9) and I undoubtedly went for the Assiette de Fromages ($7 and $12) to share. After hunting down the names of the delicious samples I nibbled on, they turned out to be Fleur d’Aunis and Sauvagine. Mmmmmmm, cheese. Personally I wish the presentation of the cheese platter could have been a little nicer, but overall the appetizers proved to be worth the money.
The entrées were, to no surprise, even better than what the appetizers had to offer. I contemplated between the Moules Marinières ($17) or the Queue de Boeuf ($19). I ended up choosing the latter. Kitty, who I had known all along to love tomatoes, chose the tomato-based Fruits de Mer Provençal ($20), featuring pan-seared Pacific snapper, prawns, clams, mussels, fennel, potato, olives, and capers. (Side note: I’ve always been fascinated by how “fruits de mer”, which translates into “seafood” in English, means “fruits of the sea”. Similarly, “pommes de terre”, which translates into “potatoes” in English, means “apples of the Earth”. The French language is simply beautiful. I also picked up during my studies in Quebec, that “purée” essentially means “mashed potatoes”.) My Queue de Boeuf was HEAVENLY, made with braised oxtail ragout, king oyster mushrooms, my new favourite kale, carrot, pommes purée and crispy leeks.
By the time dessert time came around, my stomach was already filled to the top with no room to spare (because we were offered 3 baskets of bread.. they just kept coming and I just kept eating). I didn’t even manage to finish my entrée so I had to get it to go (but noms, good lunch for the following school day). Kitty, however, insisted that we get a dessert to share if we weren’t going to go to a café. The both of us unanimously agreed upon my favourite, Classic Crème Brûlée ($7). For me, the dessert was pretty average – size, taste, and all – nothing too special about it. This could have been due to the other (maybe 5) crème brûlées I’ve had in the past week or so from DineOut.
This place definitely surpassed some of the other restaurants that participated in DineOut with $38 menus. My bill totalled to be around $32 after tips, and for the quality and amount of food we received, I would say this was definitely worth the price. Can’t wait to return again in the future, hopefully during the day with better lighting!