Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Bistro St-Jacques - And I'm Back
As I was transfixed on the warm memories of the past four hours, the drive back from Hull to Westboro tonight was reasonably uneventful. Stopped at an intersection, I eventually received a love-tap honk from the car behind. I was just sitting there waiting for the light to change, so what was all the fuss? Thankfully their noisy nudge woke me from my dreamy state, reminding me that I was actually at a 4-way stop! The inattention was a bit worrisome, I suppose. But I was being held hostage by reminiscence of my night out with the book club gals - the good food, great conversation and the regaling of lively stories of loves, dated wedding plans and party scandals. We have a way of knitting ourselves together in emotional solidarity.
The setting this evening that catalyzed and abetted my mind-fog was none other than Bistro St-Jacques at 51 rue St-Jacques in Hull.
Tonight was my third visit to BSJ in the past 6 months. When I first read about this 'gem' of a place in Ottawa Magazine's Top Ten List for 2010 - Where To Eat Right Now, I knew I had to try it. I was intrigued by Shawna Wagman's 'new secret crush'. How had I not heard of it? Having won me over on the first visit, I like to come back with others when I want a place guaranteed to please an array of palates and also able to suit an occasion of celebration. I happily pick this place knowing that the service here is highly attentive, efficient and most of all, unintrusive. With 9 distracted ladies moving and bobbing tonight, that was no easy feat.
As I re-read Shawna's article, I realized I do agree with her on one major compliment for BSJ. "..its calm, relaxed attitude and generous French classic fare that, in expert hands, will always feel special."
To speak to the power of the group dynamic and the escapism of the place, I felt no temptation to check in with the outside world. It wasn't until we hit the streets to go home that I was reminded of potentially historic events unfolding with our 41st federal election. Perhaps when Shawna says "it’s like being in France without the cost of the flight", I should give credence to her claim.
It is just that kind of place.
[My sins of the evening.]
Amuse bouche. [As well, the warm bread was flowing.]
Market inspired soup - Cauliflower and fennel veloute. [Appetizer special for the evening.]
Warm salad with goat cheese and duck confit. [Appetizer special for the evening.]
Scallops, rock crab and corn salsa, garlic confit, sweet pea and cilantro mousse. [From appetizer menu.]
2009 Alsace, Domaine Marcel Deiss, France [Shared!!]
Amaretto and chocolate marble cheescake with roasted nut crust.
[I stole a taste of my neighbour's dessert.] Star anise crème brûlée with pear, currant coulis, and fresh fruits.
51, rue St-Jacques
Mon to Fri: 11:30 am - 2:30 pm
Mon to Sat: 5 pm - 10 pm