Friday, March 12, 2010

REVIEW: Thea (Laval, Quebec)

Restaurant's Name: Thea
Location: Ste-Dorothée, Quebec, Canada
Type of Restaurant: Fine Cuisine
Genre: Mediterranean
Kid-Friendly: Yes and No

Once you set food in the restaurant, you are surrounded by soothing and comforting lights, it's a good place to go when it's dark out. The dining room is also well let and you can see through the windows of the bar the vast choices of imported wines there is. You have the choice to sit either at the bar or at a table. Their bar is very cosy and you don't feel like you are in a pub while at the tables you feel comfortable and well seated. The decor is really well executed and the lighting at every table makes you weel warm and comfortable, which starts a nice evening well if you go eat with your girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband. I also must say my plus, there is an open kitchen and I love open kitchens.

If there is something I hate about restaurants are the noise, specially when I go there for dinner even if there is a lot of people. I've been twice at Thea, once it was pretty much empty, probably because I didn't go at the peak hours too, but on my second time (which was on my birthday), there was quite some people there and it didn't feel overnoisy and overwhelming. Since tables are well distanced you don't feel killed by everyone else's noises.

The Executive Chef, which who I talked with, knows what he's doing. The menu get changed periodically and everything is well balanced. If you wish to travel every regions of the mediterranean in your plate, the Chef always make sure to deliver you a menu full of variety even though their specialty rests on their seafood dishes. The price is fair, but don't expect small prices like in fast food chains either. The first time I went, I could only eat the appetizer because it was very filling but with a fair price of 15$. So, dishes there ranges between 15-35$ which is fair.

You feel welcome by the dining room staff or the bar staff as soon as you get in the restaurant. They are not at your table constantly interrupting you to know if everything is ok, but they are not far either that you always look for service. Only down side is when we ordered our bottle of wine, the server ommitted to show us the bottle and have us taste the wine before serving it. It might just be a mistake from his part, but it didn't matter in the fact that the server still knew what he was doing and could explain easily a dish and describe it in a way that makes you want to eat it.

Love seafood because that IS the place to eat them. From shrimp to scampi passing by calimari and all cooked perfectly and not drenched in oil is just perfect. The portions are fair, what I mean by fair is that they are not overwhelming your plate allowing you to be able to start with an appetizer and finish with a dessert without the need of leaving some food in your plate because you want to keep some space for the next course. The first time I went there, I ordered their seafood carbonara which was a mix of seafood in a tomato sauce. It was melting in my mouth and, already that day I didn't have much of an apetite, I must admit, I couldn't stop myself eating. The second time I went there was just... special... and I mean... they are the FIRST restaurant that actually had me eat dessert and love it. I'm not a dessert person and you'll see in lots of my review that I will base myself on my wife who is a dessert lover, but in this case it was my birthday and my wife had me ordered a tiramisu cake. I swear that I actually melted to the perfect execution of the dish. I couldn't stop eating it, and it was really good.

This is the downside part. Portions are made for full-grown adults but there is no kid-friendly menu. They do have facilities for kids, but no actual menu for them which I thought was a little side. While they are still fine cuisine and in fine cuisine you'll rarely see a menu for children, they could maybe reduces some of the portions to be more fit to a child aged between 1 and 3 years old.

This is a good restaurant you want to go to. The romantic yet modern look and the excellent service makes you feel welcome. The food is just amazing and the constantly changing menu makes you taste something different everytime you're going. There is a very good selection of imported wines that you will want to taste and that are excellent, but just don't bring your 1 year old there because you will be wasting money of an adult-size portion for a kid.

RATING: 4 stars out of 5

2250 Desserte Autoroute 13 O
Laval, QC, H7X4G8
Phone: (450) 969-5555

Who am I ?

Hi !

My name's Jean-François and I'm a Chef in Quebec, Canada. I'm 27 years old and happily married to my wife Jennifer with who I have a wonderful daughter, Windia, and waiting for our second one.

During my life, I've done a lot of career change, I guess I just didn't know exactly what I wanted from this. I've been a game designer, but sitting behind a desk all day wasn't so appealing to me, I needed some change. That's why I started to do web designing, which, even though I was behind a desk, was more appealing because I had more stuff to do here and there. As web designing went, I decided to do my own company called Magitech Enterprises, a web hosting and wen designing company. Unfortunatly it didn't work and in 2005 I closed the company and went over a bankruptcy.

It's in 2007 that I started working again after years of questionning. Because my wife and I were looking for both an appartment and job, we ended up working in a funeral home (they offered both). I started to love the funeral business at the point I started studying it. In the meanwhile, I started to get my way around the kitchen, watching the food network, imitating their ways and tasting a lot of things. Since I had always a week a free time, my wife and I would go just to any kind of restaurant from fastfood, to breakfast and brunches, to high gastronomy restaurants which developped my pallet even more. It was too soon that my funeral career ended but emotionally it was very difficult for me to pursue that line mainly because of the kids. Having kids of your own, you don't want to picture them deceased, so I took a class in Culinary Art school which I couldn't complete due to financial problems.

It's in January 2010 that I finally got my prayers answered after filling up so many forms and papers that I'm sure I could fill my whole bathroom with them, that I acquired financial aid, allowing my family to live fully and for me it meant I could go back to school, so I registered again for Culinary Art school, which I should have some news during March. In the meanwhile I acquired Chef experience by many chefs around my little place of the world, knowing to know the kitchen, the tastes, the balances, and so on.

In this blog, I won't only talk about food, but also restaurants I've been too and get them my own little critics because they are good restaurant to eat to or maybe just really bad that you don't want to set foot in there. I'm not only considering the food chains, but every kind of restaurants. Of course, I will be reviewing some popular chains (no... not McDonalds, sorry) that are smaller and those will be reviewed only by area since that you'd eat at let's say a Scores in Montreal, well it will taste different than the one in St-Eustache because the Chef is not the same, the crew is not the same, and so on, but I won't be hitting my head too much with those chains unless they really impressed me.

I will also be reviewing a lot of kids-friendly restaurants since I go more to them lately since I have a kid and how kids menu are treated there.

Finally, I will also be posting my personal receipes (mostly kid friendly as well) that have a wide range of style with pictures and very clear explanations, so you can make them at home too. Many of them ranges from easy to do to very hard to do but in the end, we're all here to learn, aren't we ?

So, thank you for reading my blog and I beg you all good eating !