In Montreal, somewhere between the haute cuisine and the tongue-to-tail eateries, there exists a breed of restaurants that are haute yet humble, creative yet traditional, fine yet friendly. Les Trois Petits Bouchons ( The Three Little Corks), located on St. Denis, is one such place. Literally an “underground” resto, this dimly lit nook of a place gives off a cozy, feel good vibe. The exposed brick makes you feel like you stepped into the old world, the chalkboard menu shakes any pretenses you may have had about dining in Montreal and the food, stretching far outside of the comfort food box, is still comforting in its own, innovative way. All of the ingredients are fresh and the menu changes daily (something I am a huge fan of).
If there is one secret to this restaurant, it is hidden beneath the appetizer called “Dattes Surprise”: Tempura dates stuffed with goat cheese paired with a tarragon and chickpea puree, wrapped in prosciutto. Let me stop right there and tell you I would never, EVER order dates. I don’t like them. But on this rare occasion, with the recommendation from a fellow foodie, I gave them a whirl. . . and OH. MY.GOD.
What a surprise, indeed. All of the flavours, sweet & salty, blend together to make this a memorable mouthful. It’s best if you wrap the dates and puree up, almost like a sushi roll, in the prosciutto. I heavily debated ordering a second “Dattes Surpris” before they brought out my main (glutton?).
If you ever get the chance to stop in, even just for a quick bite at the bar, I can assure you that Les Bouchons will not disappoint. In a nutshell, it’s places like this that make me love Montreal.