Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Local and Organic (mostly) in Lasalle

The other night, I had the pleasure of dining at a new family-run restaurant in Lasalle. Not feeling like cooking, I quickly browsed the Internet to see if I could find somewhere new instead of one of my usual haunts. The description of Byla Byla in Lasalle caught my eye:

"Our meals are made as much as possible from fresh local, seasonal, organic and preservative-free ingredients. Most of what we make is fabricated in-house. We do this because we can’t imagine doing anything else [...]".

Okay... local... organic... and in Lasalle? How can I resist that? My partner and I packed into the car and headed west. We were not disappointed. The food was amazing. It easily rivaled the offerings commonly found at the more upscale downtown or St-Denis street bistros, and at half the price!

The opening carrot soup was rich and creamy with a hint of coriander without being overwhelming. The chef's salad was equally impressive: a mouth-watering mix of fresh greens, including water cress, artfully presented and served with a balsamic vinaigrette.

For the main courses, my partner's steak was cooked exactly as ordered and he declared that it was quite possibly one of the best three he's ever had in his life. It was served with a rapini ratatouille on a hot cast iron plate fitting into a cork server which kept the steak warm throughout the meal. Our only disappointment was that the steak was was not local, it came from Alberta; but there was certainly no criticising the quality of the meat or its preparation.

My own choice was the Cornish hen. We were told that it would take about half an hour to prepare, and it was well worth the wait. The meat was rich and moist, almost falling of the bone. The outside was subtly crispy. It was served with the same rapini ratatouille as the steak.

After this feast, we were so stuffed we didn't sample the deserts, although they all sounded wonderful. We also declined on the coffee, which we were told is direct-trade from a farm in South America.

It's not cheap, but it's not unreasonable either. They only offer a table d'hote and it's about $20/per person in the evening; less a lunchtime. Servings are plentiful; neither of us finished our meals. Wine prices are close to SAQ prices, with bottles starting at 16$. Service was excellent.

We visited on a Saturday night, and sadly were only one of three couples in the restaurant. Given the quality and price of the food, it really deserves to be busier than they were. So if you're looking for good food in the west end, consider paying them a visit.

Byla Byla is at 1395 Dollard Street in Lasalle, in a strip mall at the end of the shopping area of the street, just before LaVerendrye.

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