Saturday, July 28, 2007

Montreal - Senegalese Super Shrimp at Ferreira

The last time we went to Montreal, we counted on our wandering instincts to find some of the great food we kept hearing about. We weren't very successful. Turns out that to eat well in Montreal, you need to do your homework and make reservations well in advance for the choice dinner spots. La Ferreira was no exception.

After some email volleying a couple of weeks before our arrival, we snagged a prime 8pm slot at one of the hottest chow spots in the city. La Ferreira focuses on Portuguese-inspired fusion cuisine with an emphasis on unique preparations for seafood.

The scene screamed "hot spot" with several tables of power dining in-filled with couples dressed for ultra-luxe action. The center of the scene is an open kitchen where you can see the white-clad staff churning out the fresh cuisine.

I opened my meal with a spicy gazpacho topped with a mixture of chilled poached Mexican seafood & avocado. Although the portion was overly generous, the flavors were fresh, bright and well-balanced such that the freshness of the tomatoes and herbs took center stage.

The appetizer course was the highlight of the evening - grilled giant shrimp from Senegal. Each shrimp was about 10 inches long and had been halved lengthwise and grilled to perfection. they were served with an amazing combination of sweet/spicy sauces at the base of the dish. If the sizes of the shrimp was not eye-popping enough, the intense and near-orgasmic flavors were enough to throw us over the edge.

My entree of black pepper crusted seared tuna over wasabi mashed potatoes would have seemed pedestrian (though good) had they not taken the extra step of broiling thin slices of foie gras on top of the tuna to add a rich buttery dimension to the dish. While I could have quarreled over the selected tuna cut (it was very chewy in places) the preparation was exquisite. I am not an expert on Portuguese cuisine, but I would have to agree with the critics that La Ferreira is a must-visit point on any culinary tour of Montreal.

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