These days, it’s rather rare for me to go to the south shore. However, my cousin recently suggested we go to a restaurant in Saint-Lambert called Primi Piatti. I don’t generally splurge on expensive Italian restaurants, often finding that they don’t offer as refined or creative an experience as French restaurants, for example. Nevertheless, anxious to spend time with my cousin, and trusting her judgement, I decided to try it.
The restaurant is located on quiet Green street near Victoria street. There was lots of parking nearby, though we missed the restaurant at first, it’s storefront being so discreet. Indeed, the restaurant doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the inside is very modern and elegant. Also, it’s important to note that the restaurant has two seatings, one at 6:00pm, and the other at 8:30pm, and there’s also a terasse available in the summer, though we were seated inside.
My cousin and her boyfriend decided to order from the table d’hôte, whereas my boyfriend and I chose from the à la carte menu. I started with the astice con mango e avocado, that is, half a lobster, mango, avocado, greens, saffran aïoli and coriander oil. The meaty texture of the lobster was well complemented by the creaminess of the avocado and the sweetness of the mango. On this warm summer night, this was a very refreshing appetizer, both delicious and generous.
My boyfriend ordered the polipo alla griglia, that is, the grilled octopus, served with dried cherry tomatoes, aragula, marjoram oil and fregola sarda, a type of Sardinian pasta. The octopus was grilled, yet still very tender, so that it melted in your mouth. The fregola sarda was a type of pasta I had never had before, and it provided a nice contrast to the texture of the octopus. I had never had octopus this tender, I had heard this was a house speciatly, and I would definitely suggest this to anyone going to this restaurant!
My cousin and her boyfriend both ordered the beef tataki from the table d’hôte. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the piece of meat was minuscule, and incredibly thin. This ressembled a carpaccio much more than a tataki. It was served with a creamy celeriac salad. The mix of textures was definitely pleasing, the smoothness of the steak, the crunchiness of the salad combined with its creamy vinaigrette were excellent, however, this appetizer was way too small.
As a main, my boyfriend had the Guance di vitello brasato, or braised veal cheek served with asparagus and corn polenta, with a sauce made of cooking juice and some truffle oil. The veal cheek was incredibly tender and cooked to perfection. The richness of the meat and the sauce was well complemented by the creaminess of the polenta and the crunchiness of the fresh asparagus. Antoher great plate, recommended!
My cousin’s boyfriend ordered the lobster and tomato penne off the table d’hôte menu. He felt like they were a little stingy on the lobster, and wasn’t blown away by the plate. I tasted it too and admit that it felt rather ordinary, just tomato penne with half a lobster thrown in. Good, but nothing special or worth ordering at the restaurant.
My cousin ordered the veal escalopes with blueberries with a cream sauce, also off the table d’hôte. Again, it was a good plate, but nothing different or particularly original about it. Yes, the blueberries were a surprising combination, but they weren’t really incorporated into the dish that well. My cousin and I both thought this dish was a miss.
Finally, I had ordered the medaglioni di foie gras e manzo brasato, that is, home-made pasta stuffed with foie gras and braised beef, served with portobello mushrooms, slivers of asiago cheese and a demi-glace and truffle butter sauce. This dish was amazing, not because it was particularly varied in textured, but because it was decandently rich. The meatiness of the braised beef, which was nevertheless so tender that it melted in your mouth, the saltiness of the asiago cheese, the creaminess of the foie gras, the richness of the buttery truffle demi-glace sauce and finally the chewiness of the portobello mushrooms all made this an amazing meal, that I will not soon forget!
Finally, for dessert, I ordered the crème brulée trilogy, there was a pineapple one, a lemongrass flavoured one, and I forget the flavour of the third one, but it didn’t stand out in my mind. The dessert wasn’t a strong point for me, the pineapple chunks and lemongrass flavour were interesting, but in my mind didn’t improve the overall taste of the crême brulée.
My cousin took the chocolate mousse with mascarpone cheese. I didn’t get to taste this dessert, but my cousin seemed to enjoy it.
Finally, my cousin’s boyfriend had the pain perdu with strawberries in balsamic vinegar. This definitely seemed to be the best of the three desserts, with the strawberries creating a nice contrast to the pain perdu and ice cream.
So, in conclusion, I really enjoyed my experience at this restaurant, my appetizer and main were delicious. My cousin and her boyfriend, who had been before, concluded that the table d’hôte wasn’t a good idea, and that their choices off the à la carte menu had larger portions and were more creative and perfected. Moreover, the table d’hôte was not that great a value as compared to the à la carte meal. What I most enjoyed about this restaurant was that it definitely contradicted my prejudice when it comes to italian food. This was not simple, and while it was “comfort food”, it was still creative and elaborate. Highly recommended!
Bon apétit, enjoy!
47 rue Green, Saint-Lambert, J4P 1S2