I could not believe how long the line was outside Jardin Nelson on Rue Saint-Jacques when I got there at 5 p.m. “This is a good sign,” I said to myself, “I’ve come to the right place for my repas (French for meal).”There was a large area for open-air seating at the back of the restaurant in addition to the front porch. The back offered a garden-like ambience, but I chose to sit in the front porch to enjoy the energy and bustling of the artistic sector of Old Montreal.
Service was prompt and friendly, and after finding out that I was from out-of-town, the waiter was very helpful in recommending to me local specialties, from drinks to food. I orded a Boreale Blonde which was a light beer and my husband picked the Blanche de Chambly, a beer that tasted like wine, with a fruity taste.
My meal was a savory crepe with saddle of rabbit (Rable de lapin). The filling was creamy and tasty. The rabbit was lean and tender, and the sauce had a delicate hint of wine and mustard. My husband also enjoyed his mushroom crepe (Forestiere), which had a creamy sauce with different mushroom and cheeses. Both of us, however, would prefer to have the crepe to be thinner. The diakon salad that came with our crepes was refreshing–shredded daikon was combined with dried cranberries with morsels of red cabbage, plus a light dressing which seemed to be was rice-wine based. I liked the tartness of the daikon, for it was a contrast to the cream sauce. Both our crepes were plated in the same way. Perhaps the chef could use different garnishes to give more variation in the presentation.
The highlight was dessert. The waiter recommended Pouding Chumeur. It was pound cake soaked in maple syrup and served warm in a cast iron container. It had a thin layer of crusty syrup the top. Together with the vanilla ice cream which came in the shooter glass, the taste of the warm and the cold in the same mouthful was simply divine. I rate this as one of the must-try local specialty in Montreal.
Jardin Nelson, 407 Rue Jacques Cartier, Montreal, Quebec.