To celebrate Yule, Michael and I went out to dinner at the Brasserie Montmarte in downtown Portland. It recently re-opened after being closed for awhile. It’s a French-American gastro-pub and I believe it got a new chef when it reopened. I’m fairly new to French food but what I’ve had, I loved. How could you not? Most dishes are made with a stick of butter. 🙂
For over a week I looked at their menu and drooled. I didn’t know what I’d order. It all sounded so amazing and I wanted to order something I’ve never had before. French Onion soup is a favorite, but it’s pretty easy to make at home. I wanted to branch out.
What sounded the most intriguing: Winter Vegetable Risotto with Butternut Squash, Local Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts or the Duck Confit–Crispy Skin Duck Confit, Brown Butter Cassoulet with Garlic and Fresh Thyme. Both sounded interesting and unusual.
I wore a new dress I got that I love. It’s long, hanging past my knees with long sleeves and a beautiful flow. I wish I had gotten a better picture of this dress because I love it so much. I’ll wear it again soon.
The place was completely packed to the rafters. We had an early reservation because we had plans after dinner too and I think we might have arrived during the happy hour. Or this place is just super popular. There was a jazz band playing in the corner. I absolutely loved the decorations in the place. It was decorated with interesting art and gorgeous chandeliers.
There were exposed brick walls and high ceilings. The place is loud, so if you’re looking for intimate conversation it will be difficult. The waiter was nice and really helpful. He also recommended that I try the duck. I had never tried it before and I was really on the fence. He asked me what kind of meat I liked. I said I preferred the dark meat in a turkey and that we usually ate chicken thighs instead of breasts. He said in that case I would love the duck. So that’s what I ordered!
I ordered a glass of the Château Tourteran, Haut-Médoc wine. It was a deep, earthly French wine, a Red Bordeaux Blend and I loved it. It had many different layers to it and it felt like each sip was a little different. The waiter brought us some warm sourdough rolls wrapped in a warm cloth to snack on while we waited.
The restaurant itself was humongous. There were booths and intimate tables everywhere, plus a massive bar section and even a downstairs area.
Michael ordered a Total Domination IPA beer to go with his dinner. He ordered the steak with mashed potatoes and onion rings on top. I had a bite of the onion rings and they were amazing (red onions too!). He asked for the steak to be medium and he said it was a little overdone but still good. The mashed potatoes though–these were epic. I loved the mashed potatoes and wished that my dish had come with them! I am pretty sure the potatoes were made with massive quantities of butter and probably duck fat. 🙂
Don’t tell me that meal doesn’t look epic! The meal was a little more expensive than we’d normally pick but we also had a Groupon deal for the restaurant. Even better!
Now for my entree. I ordered the special. It was a braised duck leg in bacon jus with roasted brussel sprouts, sunchokes and pomegranate seeds.
I have to admit, I was a little nervous about the duck. But when it arrived I was so excited to try it. The bacon jus was salty and delicious. The duck skin was crunchy and the meat inside was dark and mild in flavor. Too many times I’ve heard the words “gamey” with meat like duck, rabbit and venison and that has always discouraged me from trying those meats. However, there was nothing “Gamey” about this. It tasted like a cross between dark turkey meat and chicken. I loved the combination of the pomegranate seeds. I took a bite with duck, brussel sprouts and pomegranate on my fork and all the flavors mingled nicely together.
After dinner we went out to the movies–the new Sherlock Holmes movie!
I LOVED the movie! It was such a great movie, maybe even better than the first one. It was a fantastic date night and a great start to a long weekend.
QUESTION: What’s the most exotic food you have ever eaten?