Saturday, February 20, 2010

Le Papillion on the Park (guest blog by Amy)

Saturday night: my husband and I met our friends at Le Papillion on the Park, a French & Quebecois restaurant on Eastern Avenue in Toronto. From the outside, the building doesn’t look any different than a regular old brick house, but inside it has been transformed into a fabulous space with dark wood, an exposed brick wall, high ceilings, funky art, and a wood-burning fireplace.

The restaurant is spacious enough that it holds over 100 people. While being taken to our seats, we noticed that the dining area was packed with people of all ages; even so, tables were far enough apart that you didn’t feel like you were eating with your neighbour. Soon after the bubbly hostess sat us, we were welcomed by a lovely waitress who brought us over a basket of fresh bread and rolls. The four of us started off sharing a delightful bottle of Syrah and each ordered an appetizer— escargot in garlic butter, french onion soup smothered with Swiss cheese, jumbo scallops in a light cream and brandy lobster sauce, and broiled tiger shrimps in garlic herb butter. YUM is all I can say! We all raved about our appys. The menu also has 3 different sizes of poutine, which I may have to try the next time I’m there.

There is a wide variety of mains on the menu, including almost 20 different crepes. I decided to go with the Crepe Francois, filled with bacon, diced tomatoes, garlic mushrooms and cheddar cheese. It was quite large, but oh so good—not wet or greasy like some other crepes I’ve tried.

The vegetarian at our table asked for no chicken in the fettuccine asparagus pasta special, which wasn’t an issue with the kitchen staff. She did, however, feel that the fettuccini was a little undercooked. The others ordered lamb shank and Steak au Poivre—the latter coated with a brandy, Dijon, and black peppercorn sauce. Both dishes received glowing reviews…especially the steak.

My hubby and friend each ordered a dessert, but we all had a little taste of the Meringue Glacee (meringue, ice cream, chocolate sauce and whipped cream) and the Crepe Banane Royale (bananas, almonds, ice cream, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream). The Crepe was delicious, but my husband felt there was too much meringue in the meringue dish. Nonetheless, he devoured it.

This place was divine and very reasonably priced. Le Papillion has been around for 35 years. Recently the restaurant’s founding partners went their separate ways and opened their own restaurants—Le Papillion on the Park and Le Papillion on Front. I hear the one on Front is equally amazing.

I’m a small town girl who now resides in Toronto and can’t get enough of it…especially the restaurants! What can I say? I love to eat! Sometimes I wonder if I’m addicted to food. As one of Menu Maniac's roomies from university, I watched her whip up a roast leg of lamb while others ate Kraft Dinner. Her adventurous cooking has inspired me to attempt to cook, and although I try, living in Toronto is so hard when there are many tempting places to eat out. I’m an east-ender hoping to bring you some good options next time you visit Toronto.