Had a wonderful meal last night at Liverpool House in St-Hénri. I've already been at Joe Beef two times and thought it would be interesting to try their other restaurant. We're staying in St-Henri, a neighborhood I love, and these two restaurants are strangely convenient.
David McMillan was an incredibly gracious host and the meal was delicious. I haven't had succulent steamers (from Prince Edward Island) in so many years and drinking a Gras Mouton 2008 from Marc Ollivier with the steamers was a great treat.
This was a sentimental match for me. I have been friends with Marc Ollivier for twenty years and seeing his wines in Montréal is very gratifying. My father Sam, who died 3 1/2 years ago, used to love eating Steamers and we would often go to Paddy's Clam House on 34th Street in the Garment Center to eat. Another lost New York institution.
I haven't thought about eating steamers at Paddys with my father in over 20 years. But isn't that what great food and wine is all about? Being transported elsewhere, bringing back memories and feeling blessed and spoiled. That's when I know food and wine are working, when they make me dream, hope and feel lost in time.
I'm trying to be reasonable so I had John Doré as my main course in a beurre blanc, with the asparagus (in high season) and with delicious morrels swimming in the sauce.
Liverpool House, along with Joe Beef next door, have great wine lists and I thought I should ignore all the French wines I love and drink Canada. We drank a Norman Hardie County Pinot Noir 2008 from Prince Edward County (home of my good friend Jeff Connell). The wine was very pretty to my taste, at 11.5% Alcohol (!!!) and went great with the John Dory.
I had some smoked cheddar at the end of the meal. Joe Beef and Liverpool House have their own smoker and smoke their meats and other dishes. Lovely cheese.
David gave us a tour of the herb and vegetable gardens he has around Joe Beef and the Liverpool House. This is really taking local farming to the next extreme -- growing your own in an urban setting and serving from your own garden.
I only wish there were more places like this in New York! It is just so expensive to run a restaurant in that town and difficult to do everything with a chef's vision. Too often you need a PR Firm's vision to make it work and pay the bills. Things are changing in Brooklyn and slowly in Manhattan -- it doesn't take much -- great fish, meat, vegetables and natural wines!
Thanks again to David for a great evening.
David grew up in St-Henri and talked to us about how it was astonishing for him to return to where he was a kid and open three restaurants along with his partner Frédéric Morin. He remembers running around the alleys behind the restaurants as a 7-year-old making trouble for all his neighbors. St-Henri was always a tough neighborhood and still keeps some of its edge. Everyone always talks about gentrification here, but it is going very, very slowly. The neighborhood keeps its character.
Tonight, we're off to Les Trois Petits Bouchons with Québecs great wine importer Jean-Phillippe Lefebvre and the mysterious Genevieve Boucher.
I'm supposed to do a wine tasting in 40 minutes at the Georges Vanier Metro stop but may cancel it until tomorrow. I'm still not dressed.