First full day: We had scheduled lunch at Europea at the recommendation of a family friend. The cuisine was delicate; the experience was nothing less of spectacle.
Upon arrival, we were led upstairs, past the abstract paintings and tall fluted crimson floor lamps. Food began arriving immediately. First came charcuterie—hung on a miniature clothesline—accompanied by truffled popcorn and a sort of lollipop made of what tasted like parmesan crisps enveloping a pesto-chèvre filling.
Next came the lobster cappuccino with truffle cream, which teased our hungry bellies with creamy glimpses of the sea. We had our choice of rolls served with three delectable flavored butters (nasturtium flowers, nori seaweed, and hazelnut).
Our appetizers were served with bravado. I ordered the calamari, which came finely shredded like miniature tagliatelles. The ensemble was tossed with flying fish roe, green onion, squid ink croutons, a flake of parmesan, and topped with a poached quail egg. M. Cheesemonger’s foie gras came out in, admittedly puzzling, stages. First, the dish arrived, in which was nestled a black river stone. We thought to ourselves, “Could that be the foie gras? This goose might have had cirrhosis.” Luckily, before he tried to cut it, the waiter brought out a second tray with a teapot filled with maple/ice wine glaze, and the pan seared foie gras. He placed the precious foie onto the stone slab, poured the glaze over top, and covered everything with a glass bell to allow the meat to braise.
Our main dishes followed—I ordered a beautiful mix of sautéed mushrooms, including my favorite black trumpets, gnocchi, sage butter, and a dollop of milk foam. M. Cheesemonger enjoyed some sea bass with black trumpet mushrooms, a bed of shallot marmelade, and a red wine sauce. Contentment.
Despite the fullness, we had a meal to finish! There were two dessert courses! We had our choice from the dessert tray—I chose the silky smooth and light panna cotta with fruits rouges, while M. Cheesemonger forgot that he didn’t like coffee-flavored things to take the rich tiramisu with candied almonds. We closed the meal with a pillow of pink cotton candy served on a stone plate, another stone plate of meringues, and a Chinese takeout box filled with delicate orange blossom flavored madeleines.
If you’re looking for just solid, no-frills cuisine, Europea might not be the place for you. But, if you’re looking for a dainty cuisine served with a little bit of fanfare, give it a visit!
Europea, 1227 Rue de la Montagne, Montréal, QC H3G 1Z2, Canada. I’d recommend reserving in advance.