Sherman's Food Adventures: Tableau Bar Bistro

Tableau Bar Bistro

So this isn't the first time that I have dined at Tableau Bar Bistro.  In fact, Viv has been here for brunch on many occasions (too bad she doesn't take pictures and blog about it...).  This time around, it was for my mom's birthday as she enjoys French food.  Good thing too as I've been meaning to do another post since the last time was over 10 years ago.  I've always liked Tableau because their food is solid and best of all, reasonably-priced.  So this particular blog post is actually an amalgamation of 2 separate visits done within a month of each other.  I think we tried almost everything on the menu!

So one of their most grandiose items on the menu is the Eiffel Tower consisting of 2 tiers including the Seafood Tower.  This featured Westcoast oysters, mussels escabeche, prawns, scallops, tuna rillette and snow crab legs.  We found the oysters to be shucked properly without any shell fragments.  There was a considerable amount of sweet liquor in the oysters.  Mussels were tender and briny with good acidity from the escabeche.  Large with a meaty snap, the prawns were also sweet while the snow crab legs were okay (I'm personally not a fan of snow crab legs).  Wasn't in love with the tuna rillette as it was far too salty, even when we picked out the capers.

The other tier featured a host of their other appies including the pâté, steak tartare, foie gras terrine and truffle frites.  For $20.00 more, I find this setup a fantastic value as most of the items were the same size at the a la carte order.   Really enjoyed this platter as the pâté was meaty and full of great texture.  There was a variety of natural meat flavours complimented by the aromatics of the seasoning.  We thought the tartare was excellent where the texture was buttery and tender.  Seasoning was just right where a slight background acidity kept things bright while the quail's egg added a certain silkiness.  The small piece of foie gras terrine was sinful being buttery with a big hit of sweet wine.

Now you might be wondering why I didn't make a comment about the Scallop Crudo in the seafood tower...  Well, it is because on a previous visit, I had ordered it separately.   Seemingly simple with diced apple & jalapeño, lemon and olive oil, this was so subtle and delicious.  Now if you got more of the jalapeño, it was not as mild, but for me, I kept that to a minimum to allow the sweet buttery scallops to shine.  The lemon apple added the necessary acidity to compliment the sweetness.

Something more rich was the Mushrooms on Toast featuring roasted mushrooms, Madeira jus and La Sauvagine on toasted sourdough.  Although the bread was quite stiff, it was necessary as the moisture soaked into it.  There was so much umaminess in this from the mushrooms, buttery cheese (which was earthy as well) and truffle on top.  Now the whole thing was pretty rich though and best to be shared.

To compliment the Eiffel Tower, we added the Demi Baguette with whipped onion butter.  Yes, we understood that a whole baguette might've been overkill given that we all had our mains still, but it was necessary so we could finish up the tartare, foie gras terrine and pâté.  Having some bread with these items made it more enjoyable than scooping a chunk of terrine into our mouths.  Restaurants never include enough vessels (whether it be chips, crostinis, blinis or bread) for these items.  This was a good baguette where it was crusty on the outside and soft on the inside.

So for my main, I decided to try the Corned Beef Shortrib with house sauerkraut, pickle, 1000 island dressing and a side of salad.  Essentially, this ate like a drier form of corned beef.  Not that it wasn't tender though as there were buttery elements too.  In the end, I had to use the dressing to add moisture.  Loved the sauerkraut on the side as it was crunchy and only tangy enough that it wasn't too sour.

Viv decided to go for her ol' standby being the Moules Frites featuring Totten Inlet mussels, white wine, saffron and dijon.  These medium-sized mussels yielded plump morsels inside that were buttery and full of umami brininess.  There was a fair amount of them where not one was closed.  The broth was a little on the saltier side, but was still delicious and aromatic.  Perfect for dipping the crispy frites into.

Surprisingly, my son did not go for the burger or a steak.  Rather, he had the Ragoût de Boeuf with braised beef & pork ragu, garganelli pasta, herbs and grana padano.  Although this wasn't the largest portion, it was rich and creamy.  The meat sauce was tender with plenty of body and deep meat flavours.  There was just enough of it to caress each piece of al dente pasta.  He happily ate this up, really solid.

My daughter went for the Canard featuring 2 thick slices of breast, beets, poached rhubarb and foie gras jus.  She really enjoyed the duck as it was cooked beautifully and was generally tender with natural duck flavour.  The skin could've been rendered more as it was rather flabby.  Rich and mild, the jus complimented the duck well.  The juices from the beets and rhubarb made its way into the jus adding some sweetness.

Interestingly, it was my dad who ordered Le Burger sporting a 6oz freshly made-to-order beef patty, La Sauvagine, bacon, caramelized onions, dijon and frites.  Thick and juicy, the patty was cooked to medium.  It was a bit salty, but there was no doubt of the natural meat flavours.  With a perfectly toasted brioche bun, the burger ate very well, especially with the thick cut bacon which was quite meaty.  Frites on the side were plentiful and crispy.

Predictably, my mom had the 10oz Striploin with mushroom & peppercorn jus, arugula salad and frites.  We felt the steak was more rare than the requested medium-rare, but it was still tender and plenty moist.  Maybe it could've used a more aggressive sear on the outside though.  It was lightly seasoned where the woodsy peppery jus did all the heavy lifting.  Nice addition of the arugula as it provided a peppery brightness.

On a previous visit, I had tried the Hanger Steak with arugula salad and red wine jus.  Now this was perfectly medium-rare and salted.  In my mind, this was as tender as the striploin with more natural meat flavour.  Loved the silky and glossy red wine jus where the reduced flavours were intense and full of umaminess.  Once again, the side of arugula salad added brightness and tang.  This also included a side of frites.

Probably my favourite main dish at Tableau has to be the Halibut in a lemon & caper butter beurre blanc with a spring onion tarte tartin on the side.  The fairly large piece of halibut was perfectly prepared being delicate and flaky.  This speaks to the freshness of the fish.  The beurre blanc was mildly rich with a creaminess that was balanced in terms of acidity and saltiness.  Lots of fresh parsley and dill (as well as croutons) completed the dish.

In addition to the side of frites (white truffle and parm in this case) and the spring onion tart tartin, I had also ordered the Roasted Brussels Sprouts as well.  These were still firm and dressed with sherry and bacon lardons.  I thought this was merely acceptable as the flavours were a bit flat and the sprouts could've used more charring from the roasting.  Lardons were meaty and delicious though.  As the for the tart tartin, it was creamy and naturally sweet.

Onto dessert, the best one on the menu has to be the Butterscotch Pot de Crème with Tonka bean caramel and maldon salt.  Okay, normally I'm not into butterscotch due to it being generally quite sweet.  However, this dessert was purposefully sweet while not going overboard.  This was super rich and creamy with the unmistakable deep sweetness of brown sugar.  The maldon salt only served to heighten the already strong flavours.

I wasn't really into the Banana Bread Pudding though.  Too bad really as most of the components were excellent including the brûléed sliced bananas on top.  They were just ripe enough and featured a smoky and sweet crunchy top.  The macerated raisins provided pops of sweetness, yet the actual bread pudding was dry and overly stiff.  If it had been more moist and pudding-like, this would've been a winner.

The other dessert was the largest in the Profiteroles with brown butter ice cream, pecans and bourbon maple syrup.  Now if you thought this was sweet, you are completely right.  Creamy and rich, the ice cream was nutty and aromatic.  The syrup only added more sugar to an already sweet ice cream.  Choux pastry was on point being crispy on the outside and airy on the inside.  So as you can see, we have nearly tried everything on the menu.  From this sample size, I'm confident to reiterate how solid the food here is at Tableau.  Add in good service and reasonable pricing, this is a place you can visit often.

The Good:
- Solid eats
- Reasonable pricing
- Decent portions

The Bad:
- Parking in the area can be a challenge
- It can be loud in there, but I personally love the lively atmosphere


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