OK, so I don’t just eat with my eyes, but I do enjoy a little culinary voyeurism from time to time… And Europea restaurant, one of my favourite fine dining establishments in downtown Montreal, offers the perfect spot for it: a table that looks right into their kitchen, where the famed Jérôme Ferrer still stands at the oven. And this privileged perch doesn’t cost you a penny more… You just have to reserve it in advance!
Even if you don’t get the special seat that looks into the kitchen, you can still ask to visit it – no need to be shy, this service is even advertised on the menu. It’s all part of Ferrer’s welcoming philosophy, which he summarizes as, “It’s all about pleasure.” And with a ratio of one staff member for every three guests, Europea certainly delivers on this promise. (And just in case you might suspect that my blogger status makes me privy to extra perks, think again. I’ve been to Europea incognito many times before and received the same fantastic treatment every time!)
The great view and terrific service, however, are really just the frosting on the cake, so to speak. The number one reason for going to Europea, like any great restaurant, is the food, of course!
For about $55, their five-course tasting menu is not only one of the best deals in Montreal, but it’s also a sure bet for pleasant surprises, since Ferrer likes to keep things interesting with the unexpected. This is what I ate:
1. The delectable lobster cream cappuccino with truffle shaving mise-en-bouche I mentioned in a previous post.
2. A lightly seared smoked king salmon, with celeriac and Alaska king crab with granny smith apple caviar. Sweet and refreshing.
3. A melon palate-cleanser.
4. As a main dish, I chose the roasted U10 scallops in a Blanche de Chambly beer and beurre blanc emulsion, served with barley risotto and rice lettuce espuma.
5. Just as I was catching my breath, a parade of desserts followed. It started with a pre-dessert of mignardises, followed by a chic version of an O’Henry chocolate bar and a huge cup of cotton candy. I even left with a small box of fresh-out-of-the-oven Madeleine cookies!
If you’re interested in the special table and kitchen tours, have a look at this write-up about it on Blork Blog.
1227 De la Montagne Street, Montreal,QC, H3G 1Z2
6 pm to 10 pm daily
Reservations strongly recommended
Average bill (before tax, tip and alcohol): $55 for five-course tasting menu