Marie-Claude Lortie takes a different tack this week in La Presse and dines in Laval. At Le Boating Club, specifically, with a group of adolescents for brunch. Lured by star designer Zébulon Perron's nautical refurb of the restaurant on Curé-Labelle, Lortie gets comfortable on the deck, er, terrasse, and probes the menu.
First up, orange juice. "Non seulement sort-il évidemment d'un carton, mais il a aussi été trop dilué." Ruh-roh. Lortie and company keep their chins up, however, and are summarily rewarded with a triumphant bowl of yogurt, granola, fresh strawberries, and honey. The critic would have preferred maple syrup, maybe, but it's nonetheless delicious. On to heartier fare, like Le Boating Club's poutine benedict; a ponderous portion of poached eggs, roasted Ratte potatoes, sausage, Île-aux-Grues cheddar, leeks, and hollandaise. "Ouf. C'est très bon, conclut-il, mais c'est vraiment très bourratif."
Greek feta on sourdough toast with avocado, poached egg, and oven-roasted tomatoes is uncomplicated and an assembly job, essentially, but the elements are tasty. A Swiss-like frittata with gobs of melted Gruyère, cooked in a skillet with white wine, lardons, onions, and spinach, is "costaude." Another success, a ham, egg, and cheese croissant situtation, "réussissent malgré tout à apporter un peu de fraîcheur." Lortie takes pains to stress just how immense the portions are at Le Boating Club. Even the kids' pancake plate, with bananas, caramel, and crème fraîche, "est vraiment très généreux." No need to order extra bacon and ham, as the critic did, in other words. The coffee is bad, quite frankly, but there's a surprisingly decent cocktail and wine list. Would Lortie return to Le Boating Club? "Si on est à Laval, bien sûr."