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City, Food, Restaurants

La Société Bistro: Taking us Back to Jazz-Age Parisian Opulence

Posted by Carolyn H. / November 21, 2013

Last week, the Parisian-style bistro in the Loews Hotel Vogue on de la Montagne threw quite a soirée that invited Montrealers to take a trip back to the twenties. Girls in fishnets and pillbox hats and jewels sat fanning themselves in a decorated window display to set the tone of this throwback cocktail party.

La Société has been getting some buzz. A restaurant that is already established in Toronto making its way here in the Loews hotel, boasting a Parisian feel with some contemporary spins on its menu. I had heard of its reputation as a must-try new downtown spot and was excited to see what "bistro style" would look like this time.

The night began with cocktails (always a good start). We all gathered in this small but sumptuously designed bar area, while handsome and decked-out waiters passed around sneak peaks of La Société's menu items. Chicken wings, mini-sliders with house ketchup, shucked oysters and ratatouille bites were being passed around, along with nicely crafted, though not very exciting Belvedere cocktails.







Just as the crowd started getting cozy, we were invited into the restaurant's dining room, where the marble island in the center of the room, right under the domed glass ceiling, was cleared so that a fabulous sequined-clad woman could start SHAKIN IT. She shimmied across the room, unzipped her dress to reveal tassels and garters and put on an incredible performance that gave us the feeling of being in the middle of Moulin Rouge - in a good way. She had that effervescent quality of the '20s and it was just plain fun to watch, especially since La Société has the décor to match. I have to say I was really happy to get cocktails, electro-swing, and a show right in the heart of downtown.



Onto dinner, where there dishes shined through all the sequins. Oeuf cocotte was a real winner. There were two mini ramekins each home to a perfectly baked egg, mushrooms, fresh herbs, truffle oil - what I liked was that this appetizer was a nice delicate size, since it housed a lot of rich and strong flavors. A really nice starter.

The French onion soup was nice, I have to say average - it tasted the way an onion soup is supposed to, but I would have like to have deeper, richer flavors, something to set it apart since its such a classic, like a good aged cheese to kick it up a notch. The mains were incredible. The short ribs were falling off the bone, mouth-watering, topped with gremolata, and served with a small side of root vegetables. Very simple, very French, very well-executed.

What really impressed me was the vegetarian option - sweet potato gnocchi with hazelnut butter, sage, kale and home made ricotta that I had heard a buzz about. Not easy to find in a French restaurant, where, if you're lucky, there's a boring tasteless pasta dish usually thrown in to quiet the vegetarian's down. Here I was really impressed and in my opinion this was a star dish. Rich flavours, interesting combinations and so savoury and satisfying it felt illegal.

The music continued all throughout the meal, with a beautiful tall singer making her way through the tables, and we were treated to one more spectacular dance right before dessert. But the dessert took over all our attention.

Although the gateau opéra was nice, it was completely outshined by the coffee ice cream that it was paired with. The assorted macaroons, truffles and pastries were also real winners here, and it was fun to be able to nibble on a bunch of little desserts after rich French food.

Worth mentioning: 1$ Oyster Wednesdays which is a nice mid-week 5-7 if you're downtown and looking for a smart after-work cocktail. Also brunch is a must-try according to just about everyone I spoke to.

All in all, La Société Bistro has a throwback décor that makes it a real lavish treat to go to - if that's your thing. Don't expect a stuffy French restaurant atmosphere. Here, the jazz age is back in spirit and the food will delight you as much as the vibe.

Photos: Paul Doumit Photography + Writer's Own

La Société Bistro

1415, rue de la Montagne
Montreal (QC)
H3G 1Z3
(inside the Loews Hotel Vogue)

Reservations Recommended: (514)507-9223

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