A Dazzling Display at Europea, but Where's the Food?
Dinner at Restaurant Europea in Montreal included a clothesline with dried beef hanging from it (center), a cone of popcorn, plus fromage lollipops and much more.
When the waiter brought a miniature clothesline to our table with two pieces of dried beef hanging from it, attached by tiny clothespins, we knew the evening at Restaurant Europea in Montreal would be like no other.
Then came the lobster cappuccino that we drank like an espresso. And then the cone of popcorn with truffle oil and the fromage lollipops.
Our neighboring diners tried to sip two pink martinis, but struggled with the giant balls of cotton candy on top. We were asked to select a cigar from a cigar box—and they were made of cheese.
The waiter poured water into a porcelain spoon, and voila! a napkin bloomed up like a rose. I opened the handwritten note from famed chef Jérôme Ferrer, who hoped I would have a wonderful time.
And then, the waiter brought us two thick, wooden books and asked us to turn the first page. Poof! Aromatic steam hit our faces, from a tiny salmon appetizer on toast, and that’s when we got the giggles.
And the entrée at Europea? It was a whimsical take on the classic Canadian junk food, poutine: strips of steak and potato and a shortrib “sundae” on the side, with layers of beef and beurre blanc meant to drizzle over the dish.
Reviewers call Europea creative, whimsical and fun, and it’s hard to argue with those adjectives. I’ll definitely give Chef Ferrer props for putting on a good show.
It’s interesting though, that a few days have passed since our weekend trip to Montreal and I keep thinking about the straightforward and absolutely delicious meal we had at Bonaparte in Old Montreal the evening before.
There were no gimmicks, just perfectly prepared and flavorful French cooking that was ultimately so much more satisfying. It’s the kind of place I’d return to again and again, rather than for only a one-time wonder—and there must be a lesson for restaurant owners in there somewhere.
Meanwhile, pass the clothesline. I want some of that dried beef.