5091 de Lanaudière. Laurier métro. BYOB
RESERVATIONS: 528-4953. HOURS: 6 p.m.10 p.m. Closed Sun.Tues. NO-SMOKING SECTION: No. WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: No. PRICES TABLE D'HÔTE: $14.50 $21. CREDIT CARDS: Mastercard.
If you're like us, whether you're prowling the back streets of Paris, New York, London, Toronto, or Montreal... rooting out small, chef-owned French gems can be just as much fun as the actual meal... and Les Héritiers is the type of restaurant a hungry tourist would just love to discover.
Still, no matter how good your nose is for unearthing these exquisite truffles, who would think of looking on de Lanaudière, a little side street between Laurier and Saint-Joseph, for one of the best cuisine française restaurants in Montreal?
Inside the humble bistro exterior (similar yet somehow different from its fraternal twin L'Entrepont, which trades off chefs with Les Héritiers), the decor is quiet luxury: the feel is spacious, not cramped like L'Entrepont, the walls are a dreamy shade of light terra cotta and grey, and the carved wood bar and white tablecloths underscore the tastefulness of the atmosphere. If the reproductions and posters were tastefully framed, rather than laminated, it would be more in keeping with the surroundings, but this is truly just a minor quibble for such a new resto.
The entrées are all strong here: whether you opt for the coussinet de chèvre chaud, the assiette de poisson fume, the constantly changing pates fraîches au gout du chef, or the deep woodsy savouriness of the feuilleté d'escargots au brie et aux pleurotes (ah!), you will be more than satisfied with the quality of the produce and the presentation of the dishes.
The plats principaux that follow are equally steady: the confit de canard servi sur son nid de laitue is substantial, very tender, if not quite as complex as that from Le Pégase or Le P'tit Plateau; the carré d'agneau avec sauce aux fines herbes is good; but the filet mignon a' la fourme d'Ambert (a French blue cheese) is as rich as they come, complex without being excessively heavy.
The desserts? Elegant cheesecake with an excellent coulis aux framboises (especially when in season); a marquise au chocolat that will have chocolate lovers closing their eyes in rapture; and a crème brûlée that is as rich and subtle as any we've had, even in France.
We could go on all day, but the only real advice you need is to GO NOW, while Les Héritiers is still a secret, before they adopt L'Entrepont's "two seatings" habit, and before you have to reserve a week ahead!