Let’s Go: La Darlington

So my dad was in town and I was super hyped to take him out again to MTL à Table. My favorite last year was Decca77 but I was keen on going to a new place this year. This year there were three price sets: 21, 31 and 41.

After going through all the restaurants (Note: when I say ALL I mean ALL) at our chosen price set, I settled for La Darlington, a fancy restaurant at Hotel Marriott Courtyard on René-Levesque. The things that appealed me were the menu, the decor and the good reviews overall.

I was extremely excited. I had done some decent homework and thought this was the perfect place to take my dad. It was all going to be a really nice evening with really good food.

When we got there, we were seated quite quickly because of my earlier reservation and they put us at a nice two seater place near the middle of the restaurant.

La Darlington’s menu comprised of three services: appetizers, entrées and desserts. To be fair, La Darlington was advertised as a steakhouse so I was already expecting something different compared to my normally French-Asian cuisine biased palate.

Menu

Premier service
Cannelloni de cerf rouge du Québec, sauce venaison aux bleuets et tuile au parmesan

Étagé de homard de Gaspésie et légumes grillés, crémeux à l’ail noir

Deuxième service
Contre-filet de veau du Québec, croustillant de lasagne à la morille, jus corsé à l’épinette

Mahi mahi, crumble d’agrumes et pince de crabe des neiges sur risotto au foie gras

Troisième service
Gâteau au fromage inversé, perles de chocolat et kumquat confit

Moelleux au chocolat coeur de marrons glacés, caramel de Bailey’s et tuile croquante de caramel

There were two items for each service so we each decided to get different dishes. The menu sounds nice doesn’t it?

Here are some pictures:

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Cannelloni appetizer

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Lobster appetizer

So far so good right? The cannelloni was nice and warm. It was quite filling and as we were quite hungry, I dug in enthusiastically (we waited for a long time for the food to come so we went through two baskets of baguette slices). The lobster dish was colder, sort of like a stacked up salad but the taste was alright.

Let’s continue with pictures of the entrées:

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Veal dish

They didn’t ask me how I wanted my meat cooked so I thought that was odd. Maybe veal was only supposed to be prepared a certain way. Maybe it was my ignorance. But let me tell you; it wasn’t all that appealing. The meat was tough to chew and lukewarm. Even the pasta underneath the veal pictured here was kind of dry. I was starting to get a little disheartened but as long as my dad was enjoying it, I didn’t mind mine being a little bit of a disappointment.

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Mahi-mahi plat principal

If they were going for a minimalistic concept for the mahi-mahi my dad got, then they certainly nailed it. Minimal portion, I can understand but minimal quality, minimal temperature and extremist taste ranges were not what I was expecting. If I was asked what the highlight of this dish was, it was the small corn stalks (yes those things that look like pieces of grass). They were actually an interesting surprise compared to the foie gras risotto. The risotto was an odd taste, sort of fishy and salty. But mahi-mahi is a saltwater fish so maybe they were going for an extremely salty concept. Or, let’s suppose that it just didn’t suit our taste buds. Maybe we didn’t know how to eat it. But when my dad casually suggested that it wasn’t to his taste to the head waiter, the latter said that he could live with it. #suchrude

I was kinda pissed off at this point. This was not how I had imagined our night out. Not only were both of our dishes barely acceptable but we got some backlash from the waiter. This was the same guy who snatched away two wrongly given dishes to us without any apology and only with a shove and a nononononono. I had no idea whether it was his coworkers who were the inefficient ones or he was the rudest managing waiter of the dining floor ever. At least another waiter smiled and tried to make the best of our evening. But this man….

Finally, desserts:

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Upside down cheesecake

This felt like a decomposed cheesecake. Technically only the graham cracker base was outside of the glass (note, really really really sweet) and the cheesecake got boring quick. The kumquat ‘confit’ was not a confit at all but a chunk of fruit. It wasn’t even pseudo-candied in any way like covering it in honey (def. fruit confit: candied fruit).That’s kinda lazy considering the price range of this menu. This feels like something I could make at home and still do better in improvising. The cheesecake in the glass tasted more like smushed cream cheese and those little chocolate balls you get at Cacao70 or when you decorate cakes. Come on.

The last dessert is really the only other thing worth mentioning besides the cannelloni. It was the chocolate coeur:

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What can I say. It was delicious and simple, and hard to mess up if you know what you’re doing (assuming an actual chef cooked our meal that night) and had a warm melting center.

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Simply awesome. And that’s pretty generous considering our night there.

Our plates were quickly whisked away and the managing waiter gave us our bill (the only time he came quickly) to which he left us machine less even though we had specifically said we would pay by card. The sum that came up was pretty hefty and didn’t match at all what we had experienced that night.

I left that place with a heavy heart, disappointed that this time, my restaurant skills seemed to have failed me in homing this failure.

rant up ahead.

Okay, now that I’ve been sort of objective on my review of La Darlington, I really need to get this out of my system.

FIRST.

Extremely pissed off with the staff at La Darlington. YOU ARE A HOTEL RESTAURANT FOR GOODNESS’ SAKE. But OMG to the head of the waiters, you are such condescending, rude, immature and ill-mannered fool. NOBODY speaks to my dad like that. I wonder how you got this job. Were you having a bad day? Do you hate your job? Relationship gone wrong? I do understand the waiting life but DOOD you are working in a hotel restaurant that serves supposedly great food (4 stars reviews? Those things must have been staged by actual staff). How to describe the evening? I would have almost imagined myself being chained to the table and played around with, being fed experimental food and tested for how long people can go without anybody paying attention to them/starved. Was the restaurant undergoing some sort of difficulty that night? Did some complications occur? This review is the aftermath of one night trying to calm down and trying to not sound emotional and super pissed off but honestly if I was to put it bluntly, I feel that Hotel Marriott has failed to set any standards of any sort besides hiring a really good menu writer and restaurant decor designer. I feel that I shouldn’t have put too much expectations on Hotel Marriott Courtyard especially when it’s one of its lower class branches but this is really unnerving on what kind of people they hired to perform a service. I was pretty angry to the point where I wanted to blame the hotel for the kind of people and food service they hired. At this point I am trying to understand that there could be potential external circumstances that led to this disappointing and unhappy evening but at the same time I want to express so much negativity about my experience.Honestly from now on, I will beware of any other hotel restaurants and just Hotel Marriott in general. I hope they read this because they were extremely disappointing. It felt like they were treating us like uncultured peasants.

To say it frankly, HOTEL MARRIOTT COURTYARD’S LA DARLINGTON SUCKS. DON’T GO.

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