Have you ever wanted to check out a restaurant to only see it close before you had the chance? One of these such places was the Purple Crab. Yah, I know, I know... The place wasn't exactly highly rated, but for some reason or another, I liked the name. I guess the fact it is now out-of-business pretty much says it all. Maybe it was for the best that I did not go. Now, in its place resides the French Table which is a bit of old and new at the same time. The restaurant is new, from its cozy, tastefully decorated dining room to the custom made tables bearing its name. However, the old is the proprietor - former Master Executive Chef Herve Martin of Hermitage.
Originally, we were planning to visit the place after taking my son for a haircut (since it is nearby). However, he didn't feel like French food (when does he ever?) and we ended up doing Dim Sum instead. The very next day, I made an executive decision and we all went including the Grandparents. Their lunch menu is relatively simple with only a few appies. The one that stood out in my mind was the Toulouse Sausage served with warm potato salad. We went for the large order (which I presume to have 2 sausages opposed to one) to share. These meaty links were pan fried perfectly with good colour and caramelization. However, the star of the plate had to be the warm potato salad. The slices of potato were perfect - soft while still intact. When hitting all the flavouring agents (shallot, capers and olive oil), the salad had a nice tang.
For myself, I had the Croque Monsieur (which is a sandwich of ham & Gruyere topped with bechamel). Unlike some past versions I've had, this one had only a light bechamel on top. Hence, it wasn't smothered in sauce. I actually liked this since it accentuated the crisp bread. There was just enough creamy bechamel for moisture without creating a soggy mess. Again, the star of the plate had to be the green salad. What? Yes, you heard me, the green salad had this tasty
dressing which gave hints of acidity (which I thought was lemon?) and was creamy too. The accompanying frites were pretty good as well. Fresh-cut and double-fried, these were crispy and starchy at the same time. Just the right amount of salt made these addictive. Viv went for another classic in the Beef Bourguignon topped with lardons. The braising liquid naturally had a red wine slant to the taste, yet it was quite subtle and not overpowering. For some, this could be seen as being bland or too mild. We were okay with it, especially with the lardons providing another layer of flavour. The best part of the dish had to be the chunks of moist beef. Normally, whenever beef is stewed, it could result in dry, stringy meat. Not here, it was very good.
My mom loves steak, so it was only a given she would choose the Marinated Grilled Flat Iron Steak with shallot butter and frites. The first thing we noticed was the irregular shape of the steak itself. As such, the medium-rare steak was a bit uneven in parts. From the picture, it is quite obvious that some of the thinner portions were more cooked than the thicker parts. With that being said, the nice char on the outside was actually quite nice texturally and flavourwise. As a whole, the steak was essentially medium-rare and tender. We loved the shallot butter, it added a nice sweetness in a onion kind-of-way while not being as sharp. For the kiddies, they shared the Omelette with Swiss cheese & mushrooms. Okay, we loved the mushrooms and the subtle flavours of the eggs itself. However, the omelette was overcooked and not fluffy at all. The kids didn't mind, but we were a bit disappointed.
Lastly, my dad had the Pan-Seared Steelhead Salmon Sandwich. This piece of salmon couldn't have been prepared any better. Nicely crisp on the bottom and completely moist and flaky throughout, my dad enjoyed this very much. In general, we liked our meal. I wouldn't go as far as to rave about it though since there are so many other better French bistros in town. However, the French Table is a decent option along Main Street.
- Lovely, warm decor
- Friendly service
- Well-executed proteins
- Food was not bad, but there is better (ie. Les Faux Bourgeois, Pied-a-Terre, Mistral, Bistrot Bistro etc...)
- Pricing is touch high for the neighbourhood