f you want to meet a slightly aged Montreal version of Frank, the friendly party organizer in the Father of The Bride, then you must go to Rosalie, the new French bistro on Mountain Street. He is the diminutive maitre d', an entertainer to the diners, and a dictator to the waitresses.
Diners both with and without belly rings flock to Rosalie for vertical pleasures: their top halves are there for seeing and being seen, with Porsches and Ferraris filling the street in front of the large patio. The bottom halves are attracted by the generous portions of French food.
Unlike other critics in this culinary city, RestoSpy is not sponsored, so he was very happy to receive a $100 gift certificate for Rosalie from a friend. On a muggy June evening, he reserved a table for two for a true tête-à-tête and put on his jazziest jacket. That was a mistake there is no private corner in this 160-seat place, because Rosalie is about loud music, a busy staff, and people watching. The handsome waiters are flirt-ready, while the thin waitresses are wearing short black skirts with thigh-high fishnet stockings.
Between the salmon and the duck, one has plenty of time to check between the slits in the backs of the skirts just how high on the thigh the stockings slide. Sigh. With their white shirts unbuttoned to Frank's satisfaction, the boob watch season is in full gear, and the adrenaline is flowing.
We started with a raw salmon with cucumber appetizer ($12), which was fresh but unsalted. Other appetizers ($10-26) include foie gras ($18) and a salad of endives.
From about ten main dishes ($18-45), we selected a tuna with red wine sauce ($36) and a half crispy duck with honey, pears and almonds (28$), leaving the slowly cooked rabbit with egg pasta ($29) and the thick sirloin steak with black pepper ($45). The duck was perfectly prepared in the "confit" style, and must have been quite a specimen while alive on the farm. I always wondered how one recognizes a female duck from a male duck on the plate, let alone on a lake. In a sexually charged place like Rosalie, this may be an important question.
We ordered a white wine. I had detected a 1999 Macon Bussieres ($55), but the waiter brought a 2000 Macon Bussieres instead. I have no idea which one of the two would have been preferable, but I have only two principles the first one is never to drink a bottle with a wrong date. I will tell you about my second principle in a future report.
So, I sent the bottle back.
The fashion-model-turned-waiter whispered something into Frank's ear, and Frank brought us the wine menu again. With great pleasure, I noticed another 1999 Macon Bussieres, this time at $60. Off he went, the maitre d' himself, to the dungeon of Mountain Street, only to return five minutes later with yet another 2000 Macon Bussieres.
Apologies and explanations involving several stores and one ministry followed. Again, I refused the bottle (principle #1), and asked to see the menu again.
We finally settled on a Saumur Vieilles Vignes, Langlois-Chateau 2000, an excellent wine to carry one through two courses. Frank was relieved, because the large tattooed guy who was checking the show started getting antsy. I remember from my days as a spy in Havana to recognize large tattooed guys quickly.
This fellow was either the owner (keeping an eye on Frank or on me), or the chef David McMillan himself (but then, why was David not in the kitchen?), or an unnamed Sicilian (Rosalie is named after the late Sicilian mother of a partner of the cook).
The prettiest back-slitted waitress brought us our desserts, a crème brulée à la vanille ($8) and a mousse au chocolat mi amer ($8). These are two of the benchmark desserts by which one can judge a chef. Yellow and brown. The creme brulee was big and almost as good as the best creme brulee in Montreal, which one can buy for $3.50 at Premiere Moisson. The mousse au chocolat should have been a bit more airy, but overall, the dinner was excellent with honest, classical French food, generous portions, and friendly service.
Dinner for two, without tip, was 188$. Reviewed by RestoSpy