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Restaurant Review: Old Port’s “L’Orignal”

L’Orignal is nestled in the heart of Old Port on the quaint and cobblestoned St. Alexis Street. You enter via a discrete wooden door and head down to the basement level and instantly, it’s as if you’re in a log cabin tucked in the woods of rural Quebec. The cozy atmosphere touted a Canadiana feel as I glanced at the  canoe hanging on the wall.

The cocktail list featured many unique mixes, but I ordered what they’re known for: the Bloody Caesar. They have three different styles of the iconic Canadian cocktail, and I opted for the simplest one knowing that a full meal was ahead. I wish I had taken a photo, but it was by no means "simple". It was a work of art. Next time I will definitely try the Caesar garnished with an oyster. I don’t think a Canuck creation has ever been so classy. The Caesar is garnished with house-marinated green beans had that perfect zap of peppery heat.

The entrees looked mouthwatering, but the table ordered appetizers to share because, believe it or not, they looked even better. The menu boasted everything from clam and smoked trout chowder to a sixteen-ounce deer chop (for one hungry man or two to share).  All the dishes had a polished yet homey feel, served on antique dinnerware right out of your grandmother’s china cabinet.

South Lake P.E.I. Oysters.

The briny taste of the South Lake P.E.I. oysters (which are known to be saltier than their West Coast brothers) paired well with red onions doused in wine vinegar and finely shredded horseradish. The venison tartare was the perfect twist on what you’d find in a Parisian bistro. The plate included the traditional fixings – capers, onions, mustard, and pickles—yet there was a Japanese influence: tangy spicy mayo. I loved how you could pick and choose which toppings you wanted and try different combinations. The meat was very soft and did not have an overpowering gamey taste. And fear not collegiettes. I ate raw meat and lived to tell the tale. I'm no expert, but I can assure you that it is of much higher quality and much better for you than any of the meat at Burger King (albeit, quite a bit more expensive). The next showtopper was a cheese soufflé that pretty much ruined poutine for me. I will never eat cheese curds in any other way ever again. The soufflé was covered in breadcrumbs, topped with basil, and surrounded by a mouthwatering mix of butternut and acorn squash with shavings of Padano cheese. The cheeses paired nicely with the al dente squashes (you never want squash too mushy) and together they created a creamy and rich dish.

 

Venison tartare and cheese soufflé.

I am really not a pasta lover (gasp!), but I opted for the fettuccine because the dish included Brussels sprouts and bacon – and not just any bacon – bacon lardons, the fattiest, juiciest, most savory cuts. The pasta was topped with a fried egg, which I’m finding is the latest trend in fine dining. Yes, now you can top anything with a fried egg and it becomes closer to a Jamie Oliver creation. Last but not least was the addition of mimollette, a cheese from France that tastes like Edam with a hint of Parmesan.

Fettuccine with bacon lardons and Brussels sprouts.

Sitting in the dim candlelight and surrounded by stone walls, I didn’t ever want to leave. I just wanted to cuddle up in the corner with a good book and continue noshing on the five-star dishes. The chef is always experimenting with different foods, changing up the menu daily, yet you can always expect good quality food and a cozy Canadiana ambiance.

Images are the author's own.

Katrina served as the Campus Correspondent of Her Campus McGill from 2013-2015.  With a love of writing, fashion, and fitness, she spent a lot of her time exploring Montréal to find great things around campus and in the city to share with the Her Campus readers. Twitter @KatrinaKairys.Awarded 1st place for "On Campus Publicity" for My Campus Chapter Awards 2014Awarded Her Campus "Gold Chapter Level" 2013Awarded Her Campus "Platinum Chapter Level" 2014
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