A bistro for everyone, even those with allergies

I first heard about Chez Chose after the Quebec Chapter of the Canadian Celiac Association held a Sunday brunch there on September 30.

“The chef and his staff are highly qualified and delight in making everything from scratch themselves, including gluten-free brioches and English GF muffins,” wrote Margaret Duthie in our quarterly newsletter. “They even smoke their own Arctic Char.”

Homemade smoked arctic char? That was enough to encourage my family to try the small bistro on St. Denis.

I can’t eat gluten and my son can’t eat seafood, so small bistros can be a chore for us, but this place was really different. “Oh that’s no problem at all,” said the woman who answered the phone when we called to see if we could arrive within the hour. “Just come right along.”

After we arrived and hung up our coats, Robert brought over a chalk menu and set it up on a chair. He then spent about 10 minutes explaining our choices, describing each entrée’s ingredients with so much enthusiasm that our mouths were watering by the time he left to let us decide. Our main meal could be preceded by soup, salad or one of five appetisers, including the Arctic char. We also had a choice of eight main courses, from vegetable lentil stew to a rack of piglet, all of which were home-made. I haven’t had this much choice in a restaurant for ages.

Once we selected our main meals—vegetarian lentil stew, rabbit, Guinea Fowl and mackerel—homemade bread came for everyone. I even had my own basket and a separate butter slab to avoid contamination. Not many restaurants take so much care.

The food arrived at the table hot and savoury, but it didn’t last long. The rabbit and Guinea Fowl got the best all-round comments, but everyone enjoyed their own order best. Afterwards, the kids had dessert while we had a latte and cappuccino. The total bill came to more than $200 with drinks and tip for the four of us, but for such a delicious worry-free gourmet experience, I thought it was well worth the price.

If you go, Chez Chose is open for dinner from 6 p.m. until the last customer leaves from Wednesday until Saturday and for brunch from 10 until 2 on Sundays. It’s located at 4621, rue Saint-Denis, Montréal (Québec), H2J 2L4. For reservations, call (514) 843-2152 or email chezchose.resto@gmail.com. Their menu is posted at www.chezchose.net.

Note: This article appeared on page 7 of The Suburban on January 2.

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