A Little Last Minute French : La Maquette

By on February 23, 2011

It seems every year Winterlicious comes and passes without my noticing. This year I caught it’s tail end as it slipped past almost unnoticed and hurriedly reserved an end of Winterlicious dinner at La Maquette. This restaurant, located at 111 King st. East, boasts a primarily French (and organic) menu and the most romantic atmosphere. So at a days notice we dropped our preferred chopsticks and donned forks and knives for a $35 prix fix experience.

Fashionably late and ushered in by French doors, our host greeted us to a backdrop of fine chandeliers and (my favourite touch) a pianist’s skillful stroke on a grand piano. We were seated upstairs in the Solarium which offered a very private dining experience albeit a very full restaurant. An indoor patio with candle lit tables and shimmering trees I am told is even more beautiful daytime when a view of the gardens and waterfall can be caught. A comfortable conversation tone was set by all customers with the soft undertones of piano music lulling you into precisely that romantic atmosphere La Maquette is praised for.

To first focus on the most important part of our experience – food, we very highly recommend (based on our limited taste from the Winterlicious menu) their Wild Boar Terrine appetizer: a delicious pate joined with a currant jelly sauce on a crispy home made cracker. For those who prefer a vegetarian meal, their Arugula salad in lemon-orange Dijon vinaigrette is also a pleasure to the taste buds, but overall flavour points we gave to the Terrine. For main courses we loved the value of the slow baked lobster tail and grilled shrimps which received a French treatment via cognac and lemon grass cream sauce. But our hearts, once again, went to their grilled veal medallions which were cooked to perfection and brought back that childlike memory of a home cooked European meal. On a side note, for those who enjoy a nice prime rib (we find the meat too fatty) the mashed potatoes this dish is paired with are divine, sporting garlic and goat cheese. At last, sweet desert – strawberry shortcake or chocolate truffle cake? Although the strawberry shortcake was the most unique, light but far from ordinary, the decadent chocolate truffle cake won the last bit of spotlight on our dinner plates. Unlike most chocolate deserts it was light enough to enjoy a good portion of, utilized a rich dark chocolate making it perfectly sweet, and was paired with a berry compote and a very rich cream. Who doesn’t love chocolate, berries, and whipped cream?

We did experiment with their cocktails, and in going with the French theme we chose two champagne based cocktails. Both flavors were tasty treats but ultimately nowhere near the league of the food. Our two other faux pas – a rather cranky looking chef sat lazily at the front upon our arrival, and we were not particular fans of the red kilts the seating hostesses wore.
Time flew as smoothly as the pianists strokes and before we knew it we were a little bit full, a little bit intoxicated, and very much satisfied. A reasonable bill and about two hours later we left our French experience with almost perfect feedback. Why almost perfect? We are perfectionists after all …


La Maquette on Urbanspoon

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