I had an inkling Brasserie L'école would be good when I ran into a friend I hadn't seen in a while outside a bar at 2 am this past summer and all he would
slur talk about was this restaurant.
I knew it would be good when we showed up at five thirty on a Tuesday night to find a line of people outside waiting for its doors to open. (They've been open and serving Victorians for ten years, but they recently stopped taking reservations.)
It was my handsome brother's 20th birthday and we were ready for some good food!
Brasserie L'école has a cozy, authentic-Parisian-bistro vibe going on with a soft French music playing in the background, an old-school bar and a warm candlelit glow. It was the perfect place for a meal that felt slightly-more-special than usual without being stuffy or pretentious.
By the time the appies arrived, I was ready to devour the entire dish. It didn't help that the chicken liver mousse was out of this world.
Airy, creamy and light, it truly had the consistency of a fantastic mousse. Savoury and delicious without a super liver-y taste, topped with fresh parsely and served with fresh, soft baguette, grain mustard and cornichons, it made the perfect bite.
We literally scraped our bowl clean. There was not a smudge of mousse left on that ramekin. And I wasn't the slightest bit ashamed.
Dungeness crab cakes with frisée and remoulade were our second appetizer, and equally as drool-worthy. With a distinct fresh-not-frozen crab flavour and perfect outer crisp, my only gripe was that I had to split my cake with my mom! We should have ordered two.
I again, mopped up all the delicious tartar-esque remoulade with what frisée was left at the end of the dish. One might call me a pig, but I'd choose to say that Brasserie L'école has some mighty good sauces in rotation.
Then came the burgers.
I'd been told by my dad - a Brasserie L'école fan of epic proportions - that I was not to leave without having the burger. He likened it to one of my favourite burgers in the world, the Black Label burger from Minetta Tavern in New York (so famous that it has its own Facebook page).
Of course, I protested violently, but was finally forced to try the Brasserie Burger. My father is very persuasive and equally as passionate about his food.
My burger arrived with a tower of "fancy frites" with parmesan, garlic, parsley and truffle oil leaning haphazardly against it. It was piping hot and I could smell the fresh sirloin before I even took my first bite.
Brasserie L'école uses the same Certified Angus Sirloin they get their steaks from to make their burgers, which they grind in-house daily. My first flavourful bite gave me a flashback to my burger from Burger's Priest. Obviously very different burgers, but that fresh, high-quality meat taste was undeniably there, and stealing the spotlight.
Soft, juicy and melt-in-your-mouth tender, the patties were accompanied with a handful of greens, bacon and grain mustard aioli and topped with Mamirolle, which we later learned is a cow's cheese from Eastern France that recently started being authentically produced in Quebec. Salty, pungent and rich it upped the decadent factor significantly. Toss a couple of the fancy frites into the mix and I felt like I was eating my Last Meal Ever.
Head to Brasserie L'école for your next date night, special-occasion meal, or just for some really, really good French food. Next time I go, I'll be diving head first into a bowl of moules-frites with parsley and pernod without coming up for air. Wish me luck.
1715 Government Street