Montreal’s La Coupole Restaurant: No menu required

Posted on August 8th, 2009 by .

Located in downtown Montreal at the Hotel Crystal, La Coupole is a French brasserie with sophisticated food and…clairvoyant servers. I kid you not.

“Yes, we have a menu, but it’s almost just for show,” jokes Gino Mourin, food and beverage director of La Coupole. Ok, that’s unusual. I’m intrigued.

Mourin goes on to explain that their goal is to take our guests on a journey of discovery. The staff chat with customers, then based on these conversations – and perhaps a little hocus-pocus – surprise customers with fancy dishes that actually suit their personal tastes. Very mysterious. I’m skeptical, but game to try it out. (Note: All this is risk-free from a financial standpoint, as the meal comes at a set price.)

Much to my amazement, Mourin read our table perfectly. When the appetizers arrived, my friend Aaron was blown away by the shitake crusted beef Carpaccio served with tasty almond pesto and 12-year-old Armenian balsamic vinegar. Meanwhile, I was handed one of my all-time favourites: a goat cheese torta with fig jam. How he read my mind, I’ll never know.

All the main dishes went over smashingly as well. I was served halibut with scallop vinaigrette and fresh vegetables – just perfect for a warm summer evening. Aaron got lamb, and Erika got veal with savoury mashed potatoes (her weakness).

As for dessert, we were each served a dish, but we quickly decided to share all three. With apricot tarte tatin, chocolate semifreddo with citrus and pistachios, and a strawberry mascarpone verrine with chocolate cake and strawberry sorbet, none of us could resist. Now, I’ll admit that this is where Mourin’s mind-reading skills were less sharp, since I think I could have easily devoured all of the desserts on my own.

Wine lovers will be happy to know that the wine list includes 35 different wines and champagnes available by the glass. And if that’s not enough, you can request the second wine list on which you’ll find their more prestigious products. But. if you’re like us and find all that selection overwhelming, rest assured that your server will be happy to make wine suggestions, too.

And finally, note that La Coupole has an outdoor lounge with sofas – perfect for cocktails and cigars. There’s also live blues music on Wednesday nights during the summer.

La Coupole
1325 René-Lévesque St. West
Montreal, H3G 0A4
(514) 373-2300

Business Hours
6:30 am to 11:30 pm
Reservations recommended
Dress code: chic

Average bill (before tax and tip): $40 per person for the set menu

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