Le Chien Noir
As much as my evening was all figured out for d'anniversaire de Mon Cheri I decided to try this place - rated as one of the best in Kingston - by myself for a late lunch. I figured I can't possibly pass by a french restaurant without checking its possibly of being decent..
From the street, the light-brown wordmark, with shaking white outline seems dull, clumsy and careless - in contrast with the interior behind.
strong and unwelcoming; hint of tobacco
Upon entering, the owner/manager (I believe) gave a look of what are you doing here. I felt out of place. He was sitting at the bar writing or calculating something and then decided to get a bit friendlier and asked if I wanted to be sat down. I said yes, and realized rather than sitting at a table by myself, I would much rather sit at the bar, if I can eat there. And so he gestured that I sit myself down.
heady, a bit spicy
Inside, the place seemed warm and a bit luxurious. As I sat down, I realized that feeling of warmth was not only due to the change of temperature next to the -15 outside but also because to the windows, incandescent lights, brick walls, a few plants and the smiling bartender. The luxurious part was from the few glass chandelier, the metal trendy bar area with high chairs and glasses with roses in them.
high in tannin, nutty, complex
I looked through the menu. I ordered a glass of Paul Zinck pinot blanc. Quite a few interesting dishes to try. I asked about today's specials. They were on a chalkboard, and then that same manager decided to help me out, giving me the specials to look at on a page. And so I took an aperitif that sounded great - organic salmon, handcut duckfat fried chips, bacon, caramelized brussels sprouts with maple balsamic glaze. Before my glass of wine arrived, the bartender lay down a white cloth in a diamond shape with the cutlery on the side and a glass of water. Then asked if I would mind some bread. As I waited, it hit me that I didn't make the best meal-wine combo, but it was too late. My aperitif arrived and it tasted as good at it sounded. The salmon was coked with its skin, which actually was nice not to remove. The bartender checked on me a few times. We talked about the food. I realized my wine choice wasn't as bad as I thought, as the salmon was fresh and light.
Near the end I was curious to check if, like any decent French place, they have cheeses for dessert. And the answer was yes, the only problem was that I was running out of time and the combinations went from 3 to 7. They had a Tomme, which I was assured is actually from Alsace. The other 5 cheese were all from Quebec. They also had a few charcuterie choices. I figured I can perhaps come in and try them later on that evening. I was wished to have a good day a few times. My first impression of this place was slowly fixed.
overall.. an an interesting Malbec