L’Express is Montréal’s best French bistro minus the sidewalk gallery for people watching. I always remember my first visit. My host, an habitué, asked me to join him there for lunch. He warned that I might have a little trouble finding my destination as there is no overhead sign, just the black-and-white checkerboard on the sidewalk. This checkerboard motif continues on to the inside. The space is comfortable and warmly lit. The atmosphere is alive.
There is no overhead sign, just the black-and-white checkerboard on the sidewalk. This checkerboard motif continues on to the inside.
My first meal was memorable. To start, I had the “mousse à la volaille” with pistachios. It was unlike any chicken liver paté that I had ever eaten. It was thicker than but as smooth as clotted Cornish or Devon cream. I love pistachios and they were the perfect compliment. The main was French style ravioli in a rich veal stock or “fond de veau”. To finish, I had to order their famous “île flottante” or floating island. Soft meringue in a rich custard all encased in a generous cage of crunchy caramel.
I have been back many times. Other dishes enjoyed include the celery remoulade, beet salad, calf liver with tarragon, salmon, and chicken roasted with lemon and sage. I have sworn off bad french fries as they should be a worthwhile indulgence. At L’Express, the fries are worth the calories. The lemon and chocolate tarts are fantastic as is the “baba au rhum”. The baba is so boozy that it is almost an after-dinner drink.
The wine list features old world wines with a smattering of new world selections. This suits me fine as I prefer the more subtle nature of French and Italian vintages that pair well with food. Prices vary from a $24 bottle to $325 for a Hermitage 1998 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave.
Let yourself be transported to Paris! Dinner for two with a good bottle of wine will cost approximately $160 for two, pre-tax and pre-tip. The île flottante is big enough for two so a little money can be saved on dessert, However, you should splurge and do like the French! Start with a “coupe de champagne”.
L’Expressoffers a take-out service that is available Wednesday to Saturday. Click on the link to get details. Scroll down to the grocery items and ask about available wines.
3927 rue St-Denis, Montréal, QC 514-845-0673
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